This episode is a dive into the top five self-publishing tips I think you need to know if you’re going to successfully self publish a book. I have compiled these tips based on really my experience from working with my clients and students in the blogger to author course. I’ve seen a lot of the same problems come up where people get stuck in the same places. I also see the successful people doing the same things as well. So, I just wanted to pass along these five things that I think you should make sure you do to make your book a success.
(This is a direct transcript of the episode. Please excuse any typos.)
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So number one success tip is to promote early, promote often and I spent years living in Chicago where you talk about vote early, vote often, which is of course a bit of a statement about Chicago politics, but in this case for self publishers, I want you to think again, promote early, promote often, and that is because let’s face it, social media is super noisy these days.
Everybody is promoting something. There’s a lot going on with the algorithms really with every social media platform, but especially facebook, instagram, not everybody sees your stuff. In addition, your email list, if you’re emailing them about your book, your email or your email, open rate is not going to be 100 percent. Most people have an open rate somewhere between 20 to 30 percent and so that’s just a fraction of your audience who is seeing these posts and so you really need to make sure you talk about your book and talk about it consistently and this is even when you are working to even write your books, still be talking about it all the time. Even if your months and months away from releasing it, you do want people to know it’s coming and they’ll get excited. I have clients who have been working on books for a while and they, their audience members are still contacting them and saying, Hey, I’m actually really excited about this book.
Is it still coming out? Which of course it is and you know if that happens, if you experienced delays, don’t worry about it. Just focus on the fact that people are still excited about it and just let them know, yes, you’re working on it. You finished whatever task this week and there’ll be excited to see the progress. It’ll motivate you to make at least a little bit of progress every week so that you can share with them and even if you’re not sharing your progress, talk about what the book is going to entail and just talk about it as much as you can so that people are seeing it and remembering it. Because remember most of your audiences, not seeing every single one of your posts, even if they do see it, they’re probably not committing it to memory. So you do need to kind of talk about things ad nauseum for them to stick.
Okay? Number two, self publishing tip, right? An edit with your reader in mind, and I know when you don’t have necessarily a team of editors or people working with you to create the structure and the content of your book, I can get a little overwhelming and that’s okay, but I think that this tip is really gonna help you stay focused with your writing, which is going to help you write a pet or manuscript. So questions that I think you should ask yourself as you’re writing. First and foremost, what is your goal for your reader after they finish your book? So what do you want them to be able to do? What do you want them to have learned? Is there something that they should have learned how to do that they can apply to their lives? For example. So with my book blogger to author, I want my readers to be able to write markets and self publish their own book.
And so what I do is I write that goal down on a sticky note or somewhere else, and as I’m writing are especially putting together my outline and making little bullet points like, hey, I need to make sure I talk about this and I need to make sure I talk about that. I make sure that those points get covered because those are the points that are going to help them get them to that place where at the end of the book, for example, in my book blogger to author that I want my readers to be able to go and self published their book. So if you need to, again read it on a sticky note or keep it somewhere prominent where you can keep looking at it as you’re writing and especially as you’re editing and that can help you frame your mind in the right place to know, okay, is this extra information that they don’t need to have or do I need to add more examples?
Or do I need to add more stories to really bring their attention in and help them better understand what’s going on? Ask yourself those questions as you are creating your manuscript. Try not to edit too much while you’re writing. Try to separate those two, uh, editing as you write will slow you down, but as you are, again, either writing the first draft or polishing, just keep your reader in mind and think about what they need to be able to accomplish your goal for them at the end of the book.
So tip number three is to hire the best editor you can afford. And if you can’t afford an editor, this also applies to you, but then that means that you should go out and find a friend, for example, who was an English major or maybe you have your, maybe your best friend’s mom was an English teacher or you have somebody who’s a friend who is just really good with grammar.
Asked them if they would be willing to read over your manuscript for you. If you have blogger friends who are also working on their own books, ask if they would be willing to swap with you and ask them, you know, hey, this will improve both of our manuscripts. I think it would really help just to have another set of eyes on my manuscript and that’s absolutely right and this is my point here is that you get too close to your own work, so even though I work professionally as an editor, I spent plenty of time editing books. I’m too close to my own stuff to really be able to think objective, Lee, and so I always have somebody else read over my big work, like my books before I put it out into the world and so I would suggest you do the same. Again.
If you can hire a professional, that’s awesome. You’re going to get a lot of insight, especially if you can have somebody help you out with a little bit of developmental editing as well as the grammar and punctuation, but again, even if you don’t have a budget for that, get somebody the best person you can find for free to look over your book, to get some feedback so that you can have somebody who has fresh eyes look over your book.
Okay. Tip number four is to get familiar. Get to know Microsoft word. If you are formatting your own book, and this is true for anybody who has decided to publish through, for example, through CreateSpace, but anybody else is going to have to format their book to get it into print especially, and so for those of you who are getting your book into paperback form, which I strongly strongly suggest you do, make sure that if it’s a text heavy document and you are going to format it in Microsoft word using the create space templates that they have available.
Make sure that you are familiar with a bit of the technicalities of Microsoft word. And so what do I mean by that? I mean knowing the difference between a section break and a page break and the differences between those two and how to insert each so that if to keep the formatting correct, you need to insert a section break, but instead you insert a page break. That’s going to throw things off. And again, the things that I’m mentioning here are problems that I’ve seen my clients have that I’ve kind of helped them through. And so these are, I think the. The main places where people get confused, another thing you should look at is headers and footers and you should know how to format them and if you’re struggling to get, for example, your page numbers to sync up, right? You may need to look at the headers and footers and see, okay, is this footer, for example, if you have your page numbers in the footer, is this footer linked up to the previous footer so there’s a little section in the extra area that pops up when you’ve selected your footer where you can choose to have it continue with the previous section or you can choose to have it start over essentially and so be very cognizant of that and if for example the numbering or really anything with your header or footer isn’t showing up properly and if it’s the beginning of a new section, that’s probably your culprit.
So just be aware of the ins and outs of word so that you can format your book properly. Am that’s also a place where google can be your friend or you can hire some help as well with that, but just try to be aware of what’s going on in word, especially if you haven’t done a lot of real heavy formatting in word before. So that’s number four.
My fifth and final tip is to submit your manuscript or submit that file to create space. If you’re using createspace, which I think most authors do these days are most self published authors and submitted a couple of days before your launch day and this is just in case there’s an issue with the formatting of your book, for example, so that you have enough time to go back and fix things. So every time you submit a version of your manuscript.
I usually do this as a pdf, so every time that I upload that pdf and then send it to create space to have them review it, it takes some time for them to review it. It can take just a hours. It could take a full day or more. So you want to build in a buffer to make sure that if your manuscript isn’t accepted the first time that you have time to go back and fix it before launch date, and the same is true for your book cover as well, so just be really careful and make sure that you give yourself enough time to account for any redos you might need to make. If things go really smoothly and it goes through really quickly while you could say it’s two weeks out, if you have the time, you could order a physical proof of your book to look through.
If it’s a little closer than that, look through the digital proof carefully and then just don’t hit that. You accept the proof until maybe 24, 48, 70, two hours before your book is launching. If it’s available on Amazon a little early because you hit the button, say 72 hours early and they make it available within five hours, let’s say for example, that’s fine. You don’t have to tell anybody that it is available. Just go about your launch like normal and tell people that it’s available to say it’s a say it actually goes up on Amazon on Sunday. Just don’t tell people, keep telling people the big launches on Tuesday. You can get it on Tuesday. It’s fine if somebody orders it early, it’s not a big deal. Um, but just go about things as normal and just let it slide. That’s happened to me before that. The book has been available early and I know that happens to a lot of people. Uh, it’s incredibly common, so don’t worry about that. Just really, it’s better to be early than to have a bunch of people who are expecting to buy your book and not have it available on launch day. Right. Okay. So those are my five big self publishing tips. I hope that you have found them valuable.
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