9 Ways for Self-Publishers to Get Unstuck

POSTED ON Jun 2, 2010

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

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Publishing a book can take quite a bit of time. Sometimes you finish a manuscript after months or years of work, and you feel like you’re ready to go.

But then you realize you need to hire an editor, and it’s back to “hurry up and wait” while another editorial process takes place.

Or your book might be done, but you’re not sure what to do next, so you spend all your time researching. You’ve got 120 blogs on your feed reader, you know the names of all the print on demand companies, but you have no book.

And then sometimes you’ve already finished the manuscript, printed your book, and now you realize you need a plan—or something—to know what to do next.

Never fear, there are always a few ways to get off the dime and back on track.

So no matter where you are in the process, here are some ideas to help out.

9 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Unstuck

  • If you haven’t finished your book
    1. Get some other opinions, circulate parts of the manuscript to friends or sympathetic readers. Whether you agree with their assessment or not, you’ll have a new perspective on your material.
    2. Think about hiring an editor to help put your manuscript in order. Editors can be incredibly skillful at helping authors shape their manuscripts. More experienced authors know this and use editors to help their process.
    3. Visit writer forums for referrals, advice, community of others in the same situation. Hey, you’re online anyway, join a couple of active writer’s forums and you’ll find a sympathetic community of other writers.

  • If your manuscript’s done, but you’re not sure what to do next
    1. Sit down and decide how to self-publish to meet your goals. Will it be private, just circulated to friends and family, or for a fundraiser? On sale? Or will you try to compete actively in the marketplace? Each path has its own requirements that will help orient you.
    2. Look into hiring a publishing consultant, a book shepherd or a book designer to help you establish schedules, budgets and priorities. Use their experience to move you to the next step.
    3. Go back and make sure you have the infrastructure in place to establish your publishing enterprise. Have you acquired your ISBNs? Filled out directory listings for your publishing company? These details can be overlooked in the beginning.

  • If your book’s been published, now what?
    1. If you haven’t done so, register the domain of your book’s name. Get a blog attached to the domain and start writing about the topic of your book. Don’t try to sell the book, just work on finding an audience with common interests.
    2. Go over and set up a Facebook Fan page for your book. It only takes a few minutes, and you can let all your friends and followers know about it right away.
    3. If you know other people with websites or blogs in your field, offer to write free articles for them. It will introduce you to groups of new readers every time.

There’s No Substitute for a Plan

All of these suggestions will get you moving again, and that’s a good thing. But what self-publishers really need in order to stay on track is a realistic and orderly plan. Your plan should include all three of these phases of publication, finishing your manuscript, planning for publication, and long-term marketing.

With a plan in hand, you know where you are, and you know where you have to go. Without a plan it’s just too easy to get bogged down in detail and lose sight of the larger picture.

Book publishing can require lots of decisions and lots of different actions over a period of months. Be a smart publisher: get your plan together first.

And did you notice what all these actions have in common?

Takeaway: When self-publishers plan their book, their publication and their marketing, they rarely get stuck. But when they do, here are some suggestions on how to get unstuck and back on track.


Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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