The stigma associated with self-publishing is all but gone. Some of the most successful up-and-coming authors are self-published. But what separates those people from the countless failures out there has a lot to do with the process leading up to publishing their work.
Far too many authors rush to self-publish their books. They get so excited to finally get their own novel out on the market they skip some crucial steps that would ensure they might actually sell books. But don’t worry, we’re here to help make sure you don’t make these amateur mistakes. Here are the 5 Things You Should Do Before Publishing Your Novel.
1. Make Sure Your Manuscript Is Professional
Before you do anything you should make sure your manuscript is at its best. That means you edit, rewrite, lend it out to beta readers, and most importantly, hire a professional editor to go over it.
This won’t be cheap, but if you want to really put out a good product you must be willing to spend the money on professional help. Normally, a freelance editor will charge close to $500.00 for a single pass. You don’t necessarily need to hire a professional editor if you’re simply self-publishing a passion product, but if you want to make money and build an audience it should be a requirement.
2. Figure Out What Your Idea Of Success Is
Self-publishing isn’t anywhere near what it was considered when people first started doing it. It used to be people thought if something was self-published it was garbage that wasn’t good enough to get a deal with a publishing house. Now, though, self-published books can be very lucrative.
Many self-published authors rival big name authors in quality as well as sales. So, if you decide to go down this route, you must have an end goal in mind. Once your manuscript is ready for publishing, stop and decide how and what you want this novel to do. Is success to you putting out something that gets amazing feedback and builds a strong following? Is success just about making money or even making a career out of writing? Whatever success is to, you should figure it out before publishing your work.
3. Figure Out Who Your Target Audience Is
Another thing you should do before publishing your work is determine who your audience is. What type of people are going to read your work? Who is most likely to enjoy your work and share it with their friends and family?
There are a lot of things that go into figuring out who your target audience is: age, culture, living region, social standing, gender, sexual orientation, etc. The list really does go on and on. It’s not as simple as slapping a horror tag under your horror novel and being done with it. You must figure out the niche audience who will be reading your work and cater to those people.
4. Figure Out The Price And Size Of Your Novel
The best way to figure this out is by visiting your local bookstore. Go to whatever genre your book is in and check out what’s on the shelf. What’s the highest and lowest priced books there? Ideally, your novel should be priced somewhere in the middle.
Also, check out the trim sizes of the books on the shelves. Are most horror books typically giant doorstops or thin and petite? Are they generally hardback or paperback? When in doubt, ask the sales person what sells the best in your genre. Knowing the general size, binding style, and price for the most popular books will better help you determine how might want to model your self-published novel. Remember, putting out an expensive fancy looking book isn’t likely to sell very well. Keep things simple but don’t go too cheap, either.
5. Immerse Yourself In The Writing Scene
One of the best ways to make sure your novel succeeds is to build your author platform and immerse yourself in the writing scene beforehand. After all, who’s going to buy your novel if nobody knows who the hell you are? You must put yourself out there, connect with other writers and fans in the writing scene, and pimp yourself to the masses as much as possible.
Does the idea of pimping yourself out to get people to like you sound awful? Well, then you might want to lower your expectations for the success of your work. Don’t fret, though. You don’t need to harass people or live on social media to gain a following. The best way is to build your author profile organically. Create a blog where you share your work and ideas, submit to contests and other publications, talk to people online and make friends, and even do guest blog posts from time to time. There are plenty of ways to get your name out there without being a giant douche about it. And trust us, nobody likes that guy who sends automatic DMs on Twitter or spams people with their latest work. Just be yourself and share your love for writing with others. They’ll come around.
There you have it folks. The two hardest things about becoming successful in the the self-publishing game is the actual writing itself, and self-promotion. Once you master both, you’ll really be on your way to an awesome writing career. Just make sure to put out the best product possible, keep prices reasonable, build your audience organically, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to connect with your audience!
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