For some authors, making the leap into self-publishing is an easy and natural extension of their past activities. For others the move can seem strange and overwhelming.
Since we know it’s hard to do right by your book if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it makes sense to try to set yourself up to succeed. If you’ve decided you want to self publish a book, there are a number of ways you can go about this. Here are six of the best ways to get your self-publishing career on the right track.
- Treat it like a business For most authors, writing is an avocation, something you fit into the rest of your life. It may be a private refuge of creativity, a space that’s outside the storms of day to day life. But book publishing is a business, and a self-publisher has a responsibility to run her business efficiently, and at a profit. You should expect the same.
For example, Christy Pinheiro’s The Step-by-Step Guide to Self-Publishing for Profit shows how she created a business out of publishing specialized education books year after year.
- Keep accurate records You are about to become a content provider, perhaps even an information entrepreneur. Your ability to make informed choices as your business matures is dependent on how good your information is. Keeping track of your business, understanding profit and loss and how to prepare rational budgets and projections about your publishing project are all necessities of business.
Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual has a section on the importance of recordkeeping and alternate methods of financing.
- Seek out your peers Networking with other self-publishers multiplies your own resources by the resources of your publishing community. Social media make people easier to approach, and local independent publishing groups are a wonderful supply of expertise, community and cooperative marketing opportunities. Join one!
- Have an opinion Most self-publishers are deeply connected to their subject matter. Otherwise they might not have written the book in the first place. Some of the most effective self-publishers are activists and opinion leaders with fierce loyalties and firm stands on lots of issues. Opinions help you define yourself for your target audience, clarifying for others exactly who you are.
- Discover the marketing mindset When you were only an author, you just worried about the development of your manuscript. Now that you’re the publisher, you begin to see the world differently. The local bookstore becomes a potential signing and community outreach. The subject of your book will influence how you see the opportunities the world presents you. Marketing your book becomes a new way to interpret the world.
Self-published author John Kremer specializes in innovative ways to market books and provides lots of free information online.
- Become a broadcaster You’re an author, one of your skills might well be an ease at communicating. With the emphasis on developing an author “platform” well before publication date, reach out to your audience through a blog or an email newsletter or whatever way feels appropriate to your readership. Begin a dialogue or at least create a space in the world where fans and media will be able to get information on your book, your marketing appearances, and your press materials.
Check out JA Konrath’s blog for a self-published author who’s been online building his audience since 2005.
And here’s a bonus way to jump-start your self-publishing career:
- Start working on your next book All the work you put into establishing your publishing company, learning how to produce and market your book, all the work you’ve put into your initial communication channels and peer networking can be used for your next book. Planning your next book—particularly if it’s related in subject to your first book—will establish your publishing company as different than most other self-publishers. You will put yourself in the position to combine two amazingly divergent careers, by being both an author and a publisher.