8 Tips for writers who want to self-publish

Guest post by indie author Ricky Baxter.

1. Finish your book

When I say this, I mean it in every sense of the word. Don’t look at what it could be, how many fans it could make, and how you’d like to self-publish. Think only about finishing the story, and adhering to the basic structures of writing your story. Enjoy writing your world, and the twists and turns within your creation, because once you finish, you’ll unfortunately need to take your head out of story land and focus on the real world.

2. Find an editor and illustrator

Once you’ve gone through many drafts of your story, you’ll need an editor – someone who’ll be able to adjust your writing to a way that makes sense to the reader, as well as ironing out any grammatical mistakes along the way. Don’t underestimate the dangers of a long book. I did a dozen drafts, before sending it to my editor, and still found one or two typos, within Gideon and the Crimson Samurai. Luckily for me, I had a friend who didn’t charge for his services, so I saved some funds in that area. Having useful friends is a blessing for self-published authors, as we don’t have the luxury of spending money for everything. If you know a friend (or friend of a friend) who can help, then don’t be shy. The same holds true for an illustrator too. However don’t have a friend that can draw, don’t fret. Instead go to Etsy.com It’s a great site, filled with hundreds of artists.

3. Create a Plan of Attack (POA) sheet… and use it.

You need a strategy, if you want others to read your book. It might be a good strategy or a bad one, but you need one nonetheless. Going out guns blazing is not the wisest option – however you could develop a strategy by doing so. For example, while my editor was working on my novel, I created an excel sheet and typed in anything that I could do, once my book goes for sale. Anything from: Flyers, Facebook, twitter, libraries, stores, you name it. I jotted any idea down, so that once my book went online, I would remember my ideas and take action! Some ideas were great, while some were not so great – however because of that, I now have a clearer plan of action to stick to.

4. Find a Self-Publishing Platform and study it

For me, Amazon direct publishing was my choice where to release Gideon and the Crimson Samurai – however you may desire to choose ibooks instead. Whatever your decision, you need to read the basics on there criteria, and how they work (Faq pages, prices etc…) Gauge what one works best for you, then when you’ve made your decision, stick to it and study it, even after you’ve released your book on your chosen platform. Even now I am discovering many things that can aid my book on Amazon, two months after it being released. I personally would go for Amazon, and ignore the ones that require you to pay for their services. Yes they do all the work, but for a fee of around £300 pounds, when you can do that on Amazon by following their tutorials. Don’t be lazy!

5. Tell people about it!

Colleagues, friends, family – tell everyone about the upcoming release of your book and use everything at your disposal to make it happen. For me Facebook, wordpress, and twitter were good enough; especially as it was the first time I released a book to everybody. It’s always hard being noticed when people don’t know who you are, and that’s fine btw. This stuff takes time, so don’t worry if after you told people about it and not many actually buy it, once it’s out. It’s not a race… it’s a marathon!

6. Get yourself reviewed

Ok, so you got your book out (by carefully following the steps of your chosen platform). You need reviews right? But how are you supposed to get reviews if nobody has discovered you yet? After all, there are thousands of books in the sea of self-published titles. The answer: Bloggers. There are thousands of bloggers that are dedicated to reviewing your book. A great resource I found was bookbloggerslist.com They provide free reviews for your story. However, patience is key, along with endurance. Many are so busy, they won’t respond after many weeks. Don’t lose hope, and believe in your story you worked so hard for.

7. Create a press release

This is your golden ticket. Seriously, forget about willy wonker’s invitation to a horrid factory, where people are slowly brought to despair by the very desires they love. The press release is everything a magazine, radio station, festival and media outlet needs to know about you. once I created and sent a press release to a few places, it was like I was finally taken seriously – soon receiving many replies and requests. If you’re unfamiliar with press releases, then simply google it. Once you have a shining press release, send it out to everybody – locally and globally. It doesn’t cost a thing to do, and will bring you some interesting results.

8. Be seen, and heard.

The truth of the matter is: nobody cares about your book. They want to know what’s behind the book, and see a message that speaks to them. This is something that will separate the men from the boys (and women from the ladies, of course). Remember that nobody knows who you are – so simply releasing a book is not good enough. You need to attend anything that will have you, and allow you to speak about yourself and how it relates to the book. Literary Festivals is a great start, and one that I can vouch for the most. However to do that, you’d need to contact the Festival and enquire. Call and email, as much as you can. You’d be surprised by the nice responses you’ll get. Being a Self-published author is an admirable thing, and is respected, perhaps more than those who are under a well known publisher. This is because we do all the work ourselves, and not via a large publishing house. Take pride in that fact, and go forth, head held high, as you enquire and demand to be noticed.

Read our interview with Ricky here – Interview with indie author Ricky Baxter

You can connect with Ricky on Facebook or visit his website rickybaxter.wordpress.com

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©Scott Mullins

About the Author

Scott Mullins is a freelance writer and digital content manager. When he’s not finding ways to distract himself from writing his novel he writes killer copy for companies all over the world. Connect with Scott on Twitter @ScottMullins86 or LinkedIn. He’s always looking to connect with other writers.

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