So, you have finished writing your manuscript and are busting to become a published author and see your story hit the bookstore shelves or dominate the digital world.
After so much work and such a labour of love, it is easy to rush things but before you get ahead of yourself, it is essential to make sure you have your house in order before you hit the publish button.
As a self-publisher, you are not facing the traditional industry gatekeepers, but this is no excuse to skip doing your due diligence and ensure that your foray into the self-publishing world is as successful as possible.
Here is our six-point checklist to help you on your self-publishing journey.
#1 Perfect the manuscript
Close enough is never good enough, so no matter how keen you are to get the ball rolling and get your book published, take your time and make sure that your manuscript is absolutely perfect before going ahead with it. If your budget allows, employ the services of a professional proofreader or book editor. If this is not a viable financial option then you have other less expensive options. There are many online tools such as Grammarly and Prowritingaid that can help you check and refine your writing. It is also a really good idea to ask some trusted and talented family or friends to read your manuscript and look for mistakes, corrections and feedback. It is amazing what a set of fresh eyes can find.
#2 Let the experts design your cover
No matter how creative you might think you are when it comes to designing the cover of your book, employ the services of an expert. No matter how brilliant your book is, a badly designed cover will be a massive handicap to its success. Your book cover is its first and best marketing tool, so it is worth spending time and money on getting it right.
#3 Get digital before you publish
The online world is the way of the future, so make sure that you have an online and social media presence BEFORE you publish. It is vital that your website is up to date and responsive and ready for your book launch. The same rule applies to your blog. Use your website and blog as promotional tools to create interest in your book and as a platform for pre sales.
Equally important is your online presence, so make sure that your social media accounts reflect the image that you and your book want to portray. You may need to set up new accounts or update old ones – either way, social media plays a huge role in any modern day promotion, so make sure that yours is game ready.
#4 Get launch ready
It is all very well and good to have your manuscript ready to go, but you also need to have your action plan ready. You need to construct a detailed strategy as to how you are going to launch your book, promote it in both the short and long term and spread the word. Think of the image that you want to convey and reflect this in both the way that you launch the book as well as the way that you promote it. Reach out to family and friends and any contacts that you may have and ask them to interact with your social media and online presence. Support in this area is vital to success.
#5 Get descriptive
Writing a good description for your book is no easy feat. It can be very difficult to condense into about 600 words the whole essence and meaning of your story. Your book description is second only to your book cover as far as being a tool for attracting readers, so it is really important that you get it right. Be careful not to fall into the trap of simply writing a summary of the book and take the time to ensure that your description reflects the mood, tone and essence of your book.
#6 Become discoverable
One of the least known things about publishing is that when you publish on any publishing services (eBook or print versions) you will need to select at least two categories (genres) and a minimum of seven key words.
Getting your category and keyword selection right can play a massive role in making your book discoverable and hence readable. A huge majority of book sales result from book buyers searching sites such as Amazon and Apple, so make sure you increase your chances of book discovery by using well-researched categories and keywords.
Many new authors get things wrong by rushing things. This is the greatest rookie error, so make sure you avoid this common mistake by slowing things down, doing your due diligence, seeking advice and ensuring that you have done all the things on this checklist to set your first self-published book up for success!