The named publishers are nowadays suffering because they tend to promote a few books by even fewer celebrity authors. This leads to serious financial problems, such as when they give a famous politician a major cash advance and that person’s book fails to sell. The issue is compounded by publishers aiming for the widest possible audience while the audience is seeking content that suits their exact tastes. This has led to a boom in small press and self-published works.
Here are five tips for self-publishing success.
Do Your Research
There are a variety of groups that promise to do all the editing, book illustrations, and printing for one lump sum. There are several problems with using vanity presses like this. First, because vanity presses are preying on those who just want to get their book printing done and see the end result, these book printers don’t offer the cheapest price per unit. Second, they often over-charge for other services, too.
The better choice is to do your research and rely on people you select as much as possible. Find a friend to illustrate your book or hire an illustrator for a low fee. Ask an English teacher to edit your book instead of paying the vanity’s press’s high rate for editing services.
Identify cheap book printing companies that provide books of the quality you want at a price you can afford. Research their quality instead of selecting the cheapest book printing service you can find since a book that looks like you printed it on your own printer before engaging in amateur bookbinding doesn’t go over well with fans.
Keep the Prices Practical
Even if you’re publishing books in a genre hungry for content, people will defer to familiar names, and bar that, experts. The only way they’ll take a risk on your content is if your price is so low they are comfortable taking a risk buying your work.
A shorter book is cheaper whether sold as an e-book or print book, but this is especially true when you print your own book. If it sells well, you can sell the second half of your long epic as “book 2” in the series and keep fans engaged.
Determine Your Distribution Method
Book printing refers to simply printing the books. Not all book printers will be distributors, as well. If you’re going to sell your books and the printer won’t fulfil orders online, you need to find another way to get books into the hands of readers. Selling them via your own website and shipping to customers is a potential solution.
You could work with an e-commerce site that will stock your books and ship them to customers in exchange for a percentage of the sales. If you’re only selling an e-book, you could set up an e-commerce module on your website and let customers download the book as soon as their payment clears.
Connect with Readers
Answer all “fan mail” you get, whether it is responding to questions on your social media profile and book club page or actual mail. Hold readings in libraries and bookstores. Visit book clubs reading your book. Yes, some of this can be done digitally via various apps, but if you can do it in person, you’ll leave a lasting impression. You can engage readers by offering them free content or incentives as a thank you for being connected; sending them the first chapter of your next book a short while before it goes on sale is a good way to generate positive buzz about the book at little cost.
A great way to connect with readers is to ask them what they’d like to read about. This could give you ideas for the next short story you send out to your fans or even your next book. Depending on intellectual property concerns and quality, you could also authorize fan fiction and share what you consider to be the best fan fiction with your fans. Don’t forget to ask who has a podcast or video channel and would like to interview you.
Create a Series
Writing a series of books is often a better choice than writing one large book and self-publishing it. Another tactic to keep readers engaged and build your fandom is to take those chapters you wrote that don’t quite fit into any book and make them available only to anyone signed up for your newsletter.
You can feed them short stories set in your same universe, too, whether prequels, sequels, or side adventures. This is an excellent way to build up your email list, too. And do start creating an email list for your fans so you can keep them up to date on book tours, book club visits and online interviews you do.
If you want success with self-publishing, make sure you keep these tips to heart. Remember to do your due diligence on any service you deal, keep prices reasonable. Determine how you’re going to distribute your books as well as how you’ll market it. And above all else, make sure you keep readers engaged, and connect with readers every way you can.