Updated: Nov 7, 2022
So you’ve written your first book and now plan to publish it? Well, I was in that situation just a while ago; and let me tell you, however much you think you’ve mentally prepared yourself, you will simply never be prepared enough! Now, if you too have decided to self-publish, then there might be some valuable insight you want to hear about before you start your mission.
And today, I’d like to share some of my "experiential wisdom" with you and give you a heads up about what to expect on this road.
Without wasting any time, let’s dive into it.
1) No amount of research is ever enough.
When you start on this journey, much like me, you too will feel like you are finally understanding the supreme importance of research. And much like me, you too, will be awakening to a partial enlightenment. For no amount of research is actually ever enough. Right from the first stage to even the point after your book is live on the market, research actually never ceases to be a part of your daily regimen. And this is not just because of the fact that the 21st century market is evolving at a scary pace and has new things to learn every day. No matter how much you think you’ve learned, there is always something that has somehow escaped your notice and might just prove crucial to your specific needs. So remember, never stop your research! Not even after your book is live on the market!
2) Publishing wide… Is it a must?
One of the first decisions every self-publishing author has to make is the choice between going wide or sticking to one platform. Now, at the face of it, this might seem stupid. Why should someone even consider sticking to only one platform, right? Well, business models in the 21st century are incredibly intuitive and user-oriented. For example, Amazon’s KDP Select program offers free promotions, increased royalties, and possibly increased visibility for your book in exchange for exclusive publishing rights of your Ebook for 90 days. In light of such benefits, the choice between publishing wide and exclusive publishing on a single platform is a very important one to make.
Now, this does not mean that choosing Amazon's KDP select program will necessarily get you increased visibility. But it is a possibility. And most importantly, every book has numerous factors that will determine which is the right choice for it. You will have to evaluate each and every factor and decide which best suits your book's needs and will yield maximum benefit. This something that every author can make for themselves only after thorough research and deep analysis of one’s own needs and expectations. For now, I will advise you to be precise about your expectations and get informed as deeply as possible about the benefits offered on each platform.
3) Invest in an editor and a cover designer!
This is something that a surprising number of authors overlook. But a competent editor and a solid cover designer can literally make or break your book. Think about it - Let’s say you’ve written the greatest Crime Fiction book in all of history (a little far-fetched, I know, but work with me); but who will buy it if the cover is clearly designed by an amateur designer? Would you be willing to trust an author that did not care enough to even get a professional to create the book cover? Or what if you picked up an amazing Fantasy story, but you simply cannot enjoy it because the painful editing errors on every other page keep pushing you out of the story? Trust this stranger on the internet, that is NOT something you want. Be wise, hire professionals!
4) There truly is wisdom in counsel.
Never underestimate the power of peer review! It might be quite daunting and intimidating to share your debut work with your friends and family. But, do not shy away from getting your peers to read and review your work. Every other person will be able to see one thing that everyone else misses out on. And every other person will be able to add value in a way that only they can. The contributory value that the unique outlooks of every individual brings is truly invaluable! So remember to get input from as many peers as you can!
5) Shell out the big bucks on marketing!
As a self-publishing author, it is going to be crucial to make sure you are making the right decisions with your money. And as I already mentioned, editing and cover designing are two things you want to invest your money in. But apart from that, the place where you need to employ maximum capital is probably marketing. And it's quite obvious, isn’t it? You could have written the greatest story ever (again, I know it’s far-fetched, but work with me people), but how will anyone buy it if no one even know that such a book exists? And proper marketing is what will make sure that the correct audience (target audience) will learn of your book’s existence. In today’s world, we have endless platforms that will enable an author to perform these marketing activities on their own (for a charge). Even so, remember that the value of professionals should never be underestimated. So be sure to find out whether your book needs the touch of a marketing professional before you decide to do it yourself.
And that’s all for today! I hope that this information proves helpful to you on your debut mission. Happy self-publishing, folks!