My manuscript is complete! Now what do I do to get it published?
There are numerous steps that take you from the completed first draft of your manuscript to the final, printed book. We’ve tried to break them down in a way that will be easy to understand, providing details on each task you will need to complete—and tips on how you can make it through this process with your sanity and budget still (mostly) intact. The basic steps that will lead you to a quality published book include the following:
Step 1. Developmental Review and Copyediting
Because you are so close to the work, it is easy to miss crucial errors. One reason for this is because the human brain tends to supply us with the information we expect to see. A copyeditor can catch many of the things you may have been unable to catch, as well as help you to increase the overall readability of your work. This can include correcting sentence structure, increasing clarity, re-writing awkward sentences, adjusting dialogue, and enhancing flow.
Step 2. Author Tasks (while book is out for editing)
- Create Book Blurb
- Write Author Bio / Choose or Take Author Photo
- Create Publishing Imprint / Set up Bank account
- Choose Publisher/Printer / Fill out Publisher/Printer contracts and account setup
- Choose Trim Size (Book size) and Binding Type
- ISBN / LCCN / Barcode
Step 3 Book Design / Cover Design
- Submit necessary images/text/registration information to designers
Step 4. Submit to Publisher/Printer
- Send files and necessary information
Step 5. Order and Review Proof Copy
- Make changes, if needed, and resubmit
Step 6. Marketing / Sell Your Book!
- Consider hiring a publicity team
- Create Marketing Materials
- Develop Web Presence (author website, social networking)
- Promote / Book Signings
This may seem like a lot to do, but the process can be organized in ways that will help keep you on track and within budget. We’ve provided detailed information and tips for each of the six steps and primary author tasks. We’ve also included answers to some of our author’s most frequently asked questions. Use the menu at the top of the page to navigate through each step.
Let’s get started!
Step 1. Developmental Review and Copyediting
Possible Timeframe: 4 – 8 weeks
You have completed the beginning drafts of your manuscript but question whether the story or information is presented in the clearest or most concise manner. Have you maintained point of view and tense throughout? Are the characters strong enough? Does the story seem interesting? If the work is non-fiction, have you presented the facts in a way that is clear and concise? Is the material well-organized and easy to understand? This is where a manuscript evaluation would be useful. An evaluation (developmental review) can point out areas of weakness or confusion, suggest content reorganization, or help you remove redundant or extraneous content. Occasionally, major reorganization needs are discovered during the copyediting process, which can be far less cost-effective. This is because once major changes are made to the copy, a new copyedit should be completed. If you feel your manuscript might need substantive revision, an initial evaluation is almost always a good first step.
Author’s Final Draft: Copyediting
Your developmental evaluation and subsequent revisions are complete (if you chose to go through this process). You have gone through it countless times and are finally ready to begin pursuing production. Wait! This would be a good time to have your work copyedited. Because you are so close to the work, it is easy to miss crucial errors. One reason for this is because the human brain tends to supply us with the information we expect to see. A copyeditor can catch many of the things you may have been unable to catch, as well as help you to increase the overall readability of your work. This can include correcting sentence structure, increasing clarity, re-writing awkward sentences, adjusting dialogue, and enhancing flow.
You have gone through the editorial corrections, made the suggested changes to your copy, and completed reviewing author queries and subsequent adjustments. Whew! At this stage, you may consider sending your work straight to the book designer, or you may consider having your work proofread. Proofreading is almost always a worthwhile process simply because there is almost always something new to catch. This does not necessarily mean that the editor did a poor job in editing your manuscript or that you did a poor job in making the suggested changes. The fact of the matter is, it is rare when a traditionally published book sees less than three different editors. (A developmental editor, a copyeditor, and a proofreader.) Once the book goes to the design and production phase, it can become costly to make editorial revisions. It’s best to catch them now.
FAQ: I’ve gone through my book many times already, so can I skip copyediting?
It’s not recommended to skip this step if you plan to publish and promote your book. Some authors go straight to the book design phase but while the layout is important, it won’t matter when it comes to reader reviews if the book is full of errors. Readers can be brutal! Just read a few negative Amazon reviews if you’re not sure of this. (The lower your scores, the fewer sales you will garner.) A professional copyeditor can catch things you would not catch on your own. Remember, a good editor is in the business to make your work the best it can be. Every bestselling author has an editor working hard behind the scenes.
If, however, you are only publishing for yourself or family and friends, you may be able to get away with skipping this step. (It’s still not recommended!)
FAQ: What if I can’t afford it?
Copyediting can be expensive—especially if your work has a high word count. There are a few things you can do to try to offset the cost.
a.) Have friends and family review the work and THEN submit to a professional. The cleaner your manuscript, the easier it will be for a professional to correct. Easier equates to less expensive and less time-consuming.
b.) Forgo the developmental review and final proofread, but shoot for at least a Basic Edit of your work. Some editing is better than none.
c.) Many editors will allow you to break the payment up into parts. Ask what your payment options are. Don’t be afraid to request a payment schedule that works for you.
FAQ: How do I go about choosing an editor?
These are the things you should look for:
a.) Make sure you receive a free sample of your work! This should be at least a few pages of your work so that you can see precisely what the editor will do for you and your book.
b.) While you’re reviewing the sample, check for ease of use (editors should be using “track changes” functionality on their word processor so that you can see their edits overlaid against your original).
c.) Make sure that they have maintained the tone of your story (or helped you to define it). A good editor ENHANCES your work; they do not supplant their own voice and style.
d.) Make sure their rates are comparable to other companies in their bracket. (A professional editor cannot compete with the grad student willing to review your work for $100 and free pizza! But keep in mind that if you choose to go this direction, you may be getting what you pay for.) Most companies charge between $0.01 per word and $0.02 for a basic edit, and between $0.02 and $0.06 for more extensive edits.
e.) Make sure their timeframe fits within your schedule, but please be realistic. Editing is the largest task of the pre-production process. Works of 100,000 words or more could take more than a month if the edit is extensive.
f.) Most importantly, make sure that you feel comfortable with the editor. Ideally, you should be able to talk them, either by email or phone. You should feel comfortable asking questions—and know that they are not going to abandon you the second the edit is complete should you have questions as you go through the manuscript. If you feel good about the changes they make in your sample edit, then this is a good sign!
Step 2. Author Tasks (Complete Before the Design Phase!)
While your book is being copyedited, there is still plenty to do to keep you busy. Here are some of the things you may need to create or acquire:
Author Task #1. Book Description/Blurb
Now is a good time to begin writing your book description. This is also called a back cover blurb and refers to the text that should go on the back of your book. It may also go on the website where your work will be sold (including an Amazon.com book description). Writing this can be challenging! The book blurb is critical—while the cover may be what initially draws readers, the next thing they are going to do is read your book blurb. Here is where you make the sale. Is it interesting? Does it sound like a good read? If the work is non-fiction, does it sound like what they’ve been looking for on that particular subject?
Because this is such a critical element, if you don’t feel confident in your ability to write an effective blurb, you might consider hiring someone to do so. At the least, you might also ask your editor to look it over for you. Once they have read the book, they’ll have a good idea of whether your blurb effectively conveys your message or summarizes the plot/theme well enough to intrigue readers.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Most blurbs are two to three paragraphs long. Under no circumstances should you describe your entire story. You want to entice the reader without giving too much away. You can start by perusing your manuscript for interesting phrases, key points, or buzz words. Pull these out and save them. These can be a good place to begin.
- It’s okay to start out by writing a lot and then paring down to the two or three necessary paragraphs.
- Keep the language simple.
- Leave the reader wanting more. Sometimes, this can be done by posing a question.
- Keep in mind your audience. What would your readers want to know? Look at other books in your genre and read their blurbs. Consider what drew you to their books and convinced you to buy.
Author Task #2. Write an About the Author/Bio
Here’s a chance to say great things about yourself! What you should focus on in the About the Author will vary depending on whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction. In Fiction works, the About the Author section tends to be short, maybe even only a few lines long. This may briefly note the author’s interests, their general location, whether they have a family, and other works they may have written, as well as relevant awards. You may wish to limit the specifics in order to protect your privacy. For non-fiction, it may be more important to point out your qualifications in the field in which you are writing, along with your experience in your chosen subject matter. Here are a few tips:
- Write in the third person
- Mention other publications/awards/qualifications
- List your education, if relevant
Author Task #3. Author Photo (optional)
If you decide that you’d like to have your photo on the book, then now is a good time to dig up a picture. Better yet, have one taken professionally. This may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it can add to the professional appearance of your book. A professional photographer can control the backdrop and lighting—and their job is to make you look good. Make sure the photo you decide to use is at least 300DPI. If you hire a professional, ask them to supply you with a high resolution digital copy.
Author Task #4. Publishing Imprint/Logo (optional)
If you plan to publish under your own imprint (basically, a company you’re creating to be listed as the publisher of your book), then now is a good time to prepare what’s needed. Consider creating a logo, which may be placed on the copyright page, spine, and/or back cover of your book. Keep in mind that self-publishing can also be a business. You may want to set up a special business account to handle transactions, such as a DBA account (Doing Business As), and register a Fictitious Business Name Statement (if you plan to accept payment under the name of your business, your bank will need this). Keep track of what you spend during the publishing process. This will get you ready to start calculating expenses that can be written off!
Author Task #5. Choose Your Publisher/Printer
This part of the process is practically worthy of a guide of its own. But if you haven’t chosen a publisher already, and you are planning to self-publish, now is the time to explore your options. There are suddenly hundreds (if not more) of self-publishing companies and websites springing up all over the Internet. That doesn’t mean they are reputable; however, there are several companies that have been around long enough for us to consider them noteworthy, and we’ll list them here:
IngramSpark – www.ingramspark.com
Lightning Source (POD printer) – www.lightningsource.com
CreateSpace – www.createspace.com
Outskirts Press – www.outskirtspress.com
Lulu.com – www.lulu.com
iUniverse – www.iuniverse.com
Xlibris – www.xlibris.com
AuthorHouse – www.authorhouse.com
Note: The last three companies are all owned by one parent company (AuthorSolutions)—many of their packages appear to be the same or similar.
We have had dealings with all of the companies listed here, so we’d be happy to advise you further and help you narrow down your choices. Each company has its strong points—and weaknesses. The key items to consider when making your decision should include
- quality of finished product
- services offered
- control/publishing rights/contract terms
- customer service, and
- distribution options
Some of these companies offer full publishing packages that include book design, copyediting, and distribution. While it can seem convenient to get everything you need in one place, you don’t always get the best quality or price this way. Many of the ones that offer full-fledged services inflate prices and use templates and may farm your work out to companies that are outside of the United States. In addition, you may not be able to speak with the person actually working on your book. There’s a good chance that being willing to have your book edited or designed somewhere else and then printed/published with a POD publisher will save you money (possibly time) and yield a better product. It may also keep your blood pressure down! (We get a lot of feedback from authors on the companies above. They are generally very relieved to talk with us and finally get answers to their questions!)
If you’d like to investigate a publisher or printer with whom you’re interested in working, try Preditors & Editors. They offer a valuable resource for authors looking to find out whether their choice is the best choice.
You might ask yourself if we have a top recommendation. We do. If you’re willing to be a little bit more hands on in order to get a great result, good price, and good customer service, it is almost always IngramSpark (www.ingramspark.com) or Lightning Source. (www.lightningsource.com)
Author Task #6. Choose a Trim Size
The trim size is the final print size of your book. Most of the companies listed above offer the same range of sizes, but you will need to make a decision before your book goes into the design phase.
Here are the most common trim sizes:
- 6×9 – good size for trade paperbacks and non-fiction
- 5.5×8.5 – good size for fiction novels
- 5×8 – good size for shorter fiction novels
- 8.5×11 – may be good for workbooks or educational material (Choose this size with caution! It’s the size of a regular sheet of paper . . . not generally good for curling up with.)
There are a number of other sizes offered, which would also be good for children’s books, cookbooks, comic books, and photo-dominant books, including square sizes. If you’re not sure what size you’d like, grab some books off the shelf and measure them.
Keep in mind that if your book has a high word count, you might want to go with a larger trim size to keep the printing costs (page count) down. If your book has a smaller word count, you may want a smaller trim size to increase the page count.
Now is also a good time to determine whether you plan to print in
- Color or black and white (color is not cost effective. Printers charge you per page, not per color image)
- Hardcover (case laminate), hardcover (cloth), hardcover jacket, paperback (perfect bound), or spiral bound
Once you’ve determined the above, you’re ready to move on the next important task . . . . Copyright Registration and ISBN/LCCN acquisition.
Author Task #7. Copyright Registration
“Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.
“Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device” (from www.copyright.gov).
You do not HAVE to register your work. According to the copyright office, “In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.”
**We highly recommend registering your work if you plan to publish.**
To register, you must submit a completed application form, a filing fee ($35-$50), and a non-returnable copy of the work to be registered. You can file online (www.copyright.gov) or via postal mail. It is cheaper to file online.
You can register under a pseudonym. Your registration will be public record.
Processing takes 6 – 22 months (online registration is closer to 6 months). This is when you will receive your certificate.
Tip: You do NOT need to wait for the certificate to publish your book! The effective date of registration is the day the Copyright office receives a complete submission in acceptable form.
FAQ: When do I submit for copyright?
You can submit once your manuscript is complete, before copyediting begins, if you’d like. However, if you feel that the copyediting process will result in a very different work from the one submitted, you may want to wait until after it’s done before submitting. The Copyright Office would consider it a derivative work only if substantive changes have been made, including the addition of new chapters of material.
It is not necessary to wait for your certificate before submitting for book design. The copyright notice can be added to your copyright page any time after your submission for copyright registration.
Author Task #8. Acquiring Your ISBN, PCN, and LCCN
ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a 13-digit (or 10-digit) number that uniquely identifies published books. This allows for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, and wholesale distributors. (It also makes it easier for bookstores to order your book.)
FAQ: Should I get an ISBN?
Absolutely!! If you plan to sell your book, you will want to get an ISBN.
FAQ: How do I get an ISBN?
Some publishers or printing houses will sell you an ISBN or include it as part of the package cost to print your book. The thing to be aware of is that, in some cases, if the publisher provides the ISBN, they may then be listed as the publisher of the book. If you have your own imprint, and want to maintain the rights to your ISBN, you will want to obtain it yourself. You can do so from various sources, but the best and most reliable is Bowker (www.bowker.com, or more directly, https://www.myidentifiers.com/index.php?ci_id=1479). Currently, the standard package starts at $125, but if you plan to publish more than one book, it makes sense to buy them in blocks of at least 10, which start at only $295. The ISBN assigned to your book will be supplied to your publisher. It will also be placed on your copyright page, so your designer will need it.
FAQ: What about a bar code?
A bar code is a graphical representation of your ISBN and price (although the price does not have to be listed in the bar code). It allows automated scanning. You can buy this as well from Bowker (the cost is around $25 each), but you might also want to check to see whether your cover designer will supply this for you at no charge. (For instance, the bar code is included as part of our cover design/layout package.)
FAQ: Should I include the book price in my barcode?
Lately, we’ve been recommending against placing prices in bar codes. Instead of a price in the EAN (the section of the bar code that displays price), the bar code will show 90000, which means that no price has been encoded. The reason we recommend this is because, when self-publishing, you will normally sell/market your work through a variety of distributors who might all require different pricing strategies. Having no price set means that you can maintain the same barcode throughout rather than going through the process of revising your barcode if you want to change the price of your book.
FAQ: Should I get a LCCN, and what is a PCN anyway?
LCCN stands for Library of Congress Control Number. You do not have to get one, but it can help if you want to make it easier to have your book available in libraries.
From the Library of Congress Website:
“A Library of Congress catalog control number is a unique identification number that the Library of Congress assigns to the catalog record created for each book in its cataloged collections. Librarians use it to locate a specific Library of Congress catalog record in the national databases and to order catalog cards from the Library of Congress or from commercial suppliers. The Library of Congress assigns this number while the book is being cataloged. Under certain circumstances, however, a control number can be assigned before the book is published through the Preassigned Control Number Program.”
As you might have guessed, PCN stands for Preassigned Control Number. Basically, the difference between the two is that the LCCN is assigned after a book has been published. A PCN would be assigned before a book is published and then morphs into a LCCN. To save confusion, you will want to register your book via the PCN program before you publish it.
Registration is a two-step process. You must first complete and submit an application. (Only U.S. Publishers are eligible.) Once this is approved, an account number and password will be sent via email. You then log on to the PCN system and complete a Preassigned Control Number Application Form for each title. Once this is reviewed, you will receive your Library of Congress Control Number. This process normally takes one to two weeks. There is no charge, but you must send a copy of the book to the Library of Congress once it is published. The address is listed on their site in the FAQs section.
You may apply via their website: http://pcn.loc.gov/
FAQ: How should these numbers appear in my book, and where do they go?
Normally, your book designer will take care of the proper placement and form, and may even supply general copyright pages/disclaimers for you, but in general, here is what you do with all of those numbers . . .
Your Copyright notice usually looks something like this:
Copyright © 2010 by John Doe
The ISBN goes on your copyright page and is also used to generate your barcode. On the copyright page, it should always appear with dashes! Here is an example of how a 13-digit ISBN would appear on a copyright page:
It does matter where the dashes go. When you are assigned your ISBN, make certain you make note of the dash placement. ISBN converters will also place the dashes appropriately. If you aren’t sure, check with your designer.
If your book is going to list a 10-digit and 13-digit ISBN, then the proper form is as follows:
When placing the LCCN on the copyright page, it should appear as follows:
Library of Congress Control Number: 2007012345
(It must be spelled out.)
FAQ: Sometimes, I see books with numbers at the bottom of the copyright page that look like this:
First Printing: April 2004
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
What does this mean?
The numbers at the bottom depict whether it is a first print, second print, third, and so on. Since the numbers above go all the way down to “1,” this agrees with the statement listed above that it’s a first printing. If a book were on its fourth printing, the numbers would look like this:
10 9 8 7 6 5 4
Is it necessary to have these numbers? Not really. If you plan to reprint the book numerous times, perhaps.
Now that you’ve completed all of your author tasks, and your copyedit is complete, you are ready to move to Step 3. Usually, things begin to speed up quite a bit at this stage.
Step 3. Book Design / Cover Design
Possible Timeframe: 1 – 3 weeks (layout/design) or 3 – 6 weeks (if there is custom illustration work)
Some authors may try to tackle this part of the process themselves, feeling confident that they can successfully format their work for print; however, a professional layout may contain design elements or formatting standards that are unfamiliar or difficult to produce—especially if you’re using Microsoft Word or (worse) Microsoft Publisher!
Tip: Files created with Microsoft Publisher have the highest rejection rate when submitting to printers. It’s best to avoid this program altogether when creating your book.
Common printer and design errors include unembedded fonts; poor image quality; incorrect trim size; margin inconsistencies; missing or improperly set gutters; inconsistent styles, page setup, or line spacing; missing or manually set page numbers and running heads; text or images outside of the print margin; awkward gaps in text; widow/orphans; an unequal amount of text on facing pages; or an overall composition that does not match the quality of traditional publications.
Your layout really does matter! Readers may not always notice when a layout is well done, but they WILL notice when it’s not. The biggest mistake self-publishing authors make is to tackle this part of the process alone. The reason is simple: there are too many small items you might never think about that go into a professional layout—and they have a cumulative effect. These are the items noted above; however, a professional designer can also add embellishments and work with your text and images using professional design software to create a professional result. Ultimately, what you want is for your book to stand on its own against the “big guys”—the books produced by the traditional publishing industry. Not only will this give you a better shot at getting placement in book stores when it comes time to do book signings, but it can also greatly increase your chances of getting sales.
FAQ: How do I pick a designer?
Much like with copyediting, you should request a sample design. Many designers will simply show you their portfolio of work, and this is good—but it’s even better when they can offer you a custom sample so that you can see what they have in mind for your book. (This is what we do!) A design can be highly customized to suit your work, so don’t be afraid to share your ideas with your designer. Once you see the sample, there may be items you’d like to change, or some element of the design you’d like to see in a different way. This is really the best way to see what you’ll be getting.
You will also want to make certain, up front, that the final file they give you is compatible with what your printer will need. In most cases, this will be a printer-ready PDF sized to your trim size.
FAQ: What do I need to send to a designer?
Since we’re beginning to throw around design terms, let’s review the things you will need to have ready to submit to your designer:
a.) Your completed manuscript.
This may seem obvious, but you might be surprised by how many authors are still submitting pages of material to the designer after the layout begins. This is not recommended. It could increase your cost and design time, as the layout process needs to take into account all of the pages that will be included—preferably before the job starts!
It’s usually best to submit your manuscript in a single file. This will save time over the designer needing to merge files, unless the book is so lengthy they need to split it up. (They will tell you if this is the case.) Designers may have different requirements, so simply ask them their submission preference. And don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something they tell you.
b.) Any images to be included.
If your work contains images, they may request them as separate image files. These could be JPGs, PNGs, or PSDs. Most likely though, they will need them in at least 300DPI. DPI stands for Dots Per Inch, and it relates to the resolution of your image. Small resolutions mean the results in print might be grainy or poor quality. At least 300DPI is best. If you’re not sure, submit the image and ask them to check the resolution for you. They may also want them to be labeled in a specific way so that they can insert them in the proper place. Again, don’t be afraid to ask the best way to submit your work.
Tip: In addition, make certain you have the right to use the image in your book. If it is an image you got off the Internet (with the exception of fee-based stock photography or free open source sites), chances are good that it’s copyright protected and should not be used without permission.
c.) Your ISBN, Copyright notice, and/or LCCN
Your designer will definitely need your ISBN. If you’ve registered a LCCN, you will want to send that to them as well. For the copyright notice, it is only necessary to let them know the copyright year and the name or publishing house under which it is registered. They will not need your certificate (and you probably won’t have it by then anyway!).
d.) Cover design ideas
If you are having your cover done professionally (and why wouldn’t you, since this is literally the gateway to your book and the item that first catches the eye), then you will want to submit your design ideas or any images you have to your cover designer. They will also need your ISBN and barcode (unless they are supplying it for you), in addition to your Book Cover Text, including book title, subtitle, author name, back cover text, and spine and/or flap text.
Your cover designer will also ask you for your final page count. This number is critical because it is used to determine your spine width. They may also ask for paper type. The choices are typically white or crème. What’s the difference? Weight and color. Readers can sometimes prefer crème paper for novels, as it is supposedly easier on the eyes. However, non-fiction and books with images are better off choosing white paper. Images tend to print considerably better on white paper. (Crème paper tends to increase the thickness of your book, so if the book is very large, you might want white paper just to cut printing costs.)
Once you’ve gotten through this phase of the process, you are very nearly finished. Next are the final two stages.
Step 4. Submit to Publisher/Printer
Possible Timeframe: 1 – 2 days
You’re almost there! Your book has been edited, your interior is designed, your cover is done—and what you should have to show for it all at this point are two printer-ready files to submit to your publisher/printer. (One PDF for the interior, another for the cover.) You will also have all of the other information you’ve collected over this period, such as your ISBN, LCCN, book price, book description (blurb), publishing imprint, and author bio. Your publisher will require all of this information, but they will probably also be asking you for account information so they can set up your payments. They may have you sign a contract, choose your distribution package, and/or create a storefront for your work. Some publishers may ask you if you want to submit an ebook. It is a very good idea to have an ebook in addition to your print version. The popularity of ebooks has exploded, and while many readers still appreciate print, it’s best to reach both markets simultaneously.
The Amazon Kindle is currently one of the most popular eReaders—but it is also the one file type (.prc/.mobi) whose distribution is not supported by many publishers as part of their ebook offerings. The good news is that it is easy to get your book onto the Kindle and onto Amazon via their Digital Text Platform. (We’d be happy to help!)
Step 5. Order and Review Proof Copy
Possible Timeframe: 1 – 3 weeks (for initial processing, shipping, and the time it will take you to review the work)
At this point, all publishers (reputable publishers, we might add) will have you order a proof copy before you place a bulk order. This enables you to make certain that everything is the way you want it before you’ve committed to a large order. It makes sense! Even if you’re in a hurry, we encourage you to take advantage of this step. If you need to make changes, it’s better to do it now than after you have 100 copies of your book waiting for you on your doorstep. Once you approve the Proof, that’s it!
Step 6. Sell Your Book.
While the subject of marketing is worth a book all its own, for now, we have the following recommendations:
- Seriously consider hiring a publicity firm to market your book. At first, this was something we rarely recommended because it seemed as if so many “marketing packages” simply consisted of business cards and bookmarks. Chances are, you can do that yourself much cheaper (www.vistaprint.com). Publicity is an entirely different thing that can include a marketing team working on your behalf to get the word out about your book. Trying to market yourself is VERY hard work. It’s not enough anymore to just set up a Facebook page and Goodreads account and call it done. You need to network, get book reviews, figure out how to boost your Amazon sales rank, and far more. A good team can be worth the money.
- If you are doing it on your own, start local. Try to get press, connect with local events that are relevant, and get exposure! Set up book signing events. Network in your community.
- The Internet is now a critical part of marketing. In this day and age, you should have your own author domain name and website. In addition, although it’s not the ONLY thing you should be focused on, don’t forget Social Networking. You should have a presence on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.
- Consider blogging. If you’re willing to be consistent, and you have something beneficial to share with your readers on a regular basis, this can eventually bring you traffic—and sales!
If you’ve just finished reading this guide and you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry! There are wonderful resources available to self-publishing authors, which can help you every step of the way. We are one of them. We continue to offer free publishing consultations and would be happy to talk with you about the process and answer any questions you may have.
Write Your Own Success!