Today has been a day of firsts in my self-publishing journey. I’ve learnt that what I’ve completed today should probably have been sorted out way before I released my first book, but hey, there’s nothing I can do about that now, I can go only move forwards. Onwards and upwards and all that!
With this in mind, here’s my advise for what its worth…
If your considering self-publishing your own book then I would advise that you concentrate on garnering a following BEFORE you press the publish button. If I had known the following information before releasing The Soul Guide then it would certainly have made my life easier, not to mention freed up precious time for writing (which is sparse as it is being a mother and someone who works part-time).
ACTION TO TAKE:
- Set up an Instafreebie account. It’s free. You can use it to get your book out to people who can BETA read, review it before it’s released (this is SOOOOO key – I wish I had done this) you can generate interest and excitement by doing a giveaway (and get people to sign up to your newsletter as well – also key) amongst other exciting things all of which I wished I’d known beforehand. NOTE: you will need to convert your word doc on your computer to EPUB format for Instafreebie – now I went around the houses with this one. It got to the hair-pulling and crying stage (don’t ask) but in the end another, kind, self-publishing author took pity on me and gave me a tip which I shall pass onto you now. TIP: USE the ONLINE E-PUB CONVERTER found here. It does it all for you without you having to lift a finger (thank goodness because I was about to hit the bottle).
- Set up a BLOG or WEBSITE – Get a blog or website up and running way before release. Get people reading and sharing your blogs way before your book is on sale. Having a ready readership waiting with bated breath (sorry its the writer in me) is worth its weight in gold. I WISH I had done this myself. Now, I find myself playing catch up which is not the best move. Still, welcome new readers! I am so glad your here!
- Set up a Newsletter– Once you’ve set up your Blog / Webpage then you need to get people to sign up to a newsletter. The easiest and simplest way I’ve found is to get a MailChimp account, click here to find out more. It’s free (for the first 2000 sign ups) then you have to pay, or you can pay now and get all sorts of extras. I won’t give you a blow-by-blow account of how to set one up (Mailchimp has lots of support pages) but if you want engaged readers I believe a Newsletter is a must and the easiest way to set one up is with MailChimp. I hope they appreciate the free advertising I’m giving them!
- Facebook – As above, get yourself set up with a Facebook author page. It’s pretty simple to do, then you can advertise your books, webpage and gain new readers. I did this after releasing The Soul Guide, so its been a slow process building up followers here. Still, obstinate is my middle name and I think I’m getting there. Also, you can produce adverts and ‘boost’ posts all through your Facebook account. I think, done right, it could be a very worthwhile promotional tool. I’m still testing this out so will get back to you on this.
- Social network – goes without saying, if you want to garner readers, then you need to get a social network presence. So,yes, sign up to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads and so forth. Then when it comes to releasing your first novel (hopefully) you’ve built up an already interested following. I TOTALLY underestimated the need for this. JUST DO IT after all your book isn’t going to get readers by just sitting with 5 million other books on Amazon is it?!
- Sign up to KBoards – Writers Cafe an online forum for writers. The information you’ll glean here is brilliant. I’ve met some AMAZING fellow authors here full of great advice. Not only that they are incredibly supportive too!
- Swallow your pride. It’s hard to ‘self-promote’. I get it, you don’t want to sound like someone with their head stuck up their bottom, but if you’re not going to promote yourself then who else will? I totally understand the ‘I’m a creator, not a promoter’ thing. I get that you want to write. I do too. But I also know as someone self-publishing that marketing, promoting etc is part of it too. You don’t have the luxury of an agent or publishing house behind you and even then I’m pretty certain a lot of authors still have to self-promote. The point I’m trying to make is that no-one else is going to do it for you, and no-one is more invested in your books successes or failures as you are. Get out there, promote, big up your book, and most of all believe in your book and your own success and eventually with a lot of hard work, dedication and perseverance I believe it can happen for you. I’m sure as hell hoping it will happen for me!
I hope that this has been informative and a teensy bit entertaining. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have. Just pop a comment in the box below and I’ll get back to you. For now, GOOD LUCK with your project. It’s daunting self-publishing, completely terrifying and overwhelming, but worth all the tears in the end.