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  • Writer's pictureAmy Guan

4 Self-Publishing Tips

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Self-Publishing is a lot of work, but these pointers will make your novel a success.

A man typing with mouse, watch, and phone on desk.
Photo Credit: Damian Zaleski | Unsplash

Self-publishing is the new rage these days for writers. Go to Amazon and check out the thousands of books on sale. Yes, many of these books have been published by a traditional publisher, but the majority of them are self-published. Why? Traditional publishers are picky about the books they accept: Does the book fit the publisher’s niche? Are you, the author, well-known? Can the book sell? Does the book need a lot of work before it is ready to be published? Publishers also receive A LOT of submissions. Your book might not even be seen for months or even years.


With self-publishing, anyone can write and publish their book. There are even websites dedicated to helping you design page layouts and market your book.


But before you go down the self-publishing route, here are four tips you need to know.


 

1. Edit, edit, edit.


One of the biggest hurdles writers face when looking to self-publish their book is the poor reputation of self-published books already out on the market. Many self-published books are seen as error-filled, rambly, and overall bad quality. Why? Because anyone can self-publish these days, and many have done so without taking the time to revise their work or get it edited. That means the storyline might not come full circle in the end or it might be full of grammar and punctuation errors. You want your work to be high-quality and to receive positive reviews. You don’t want it to be grouped with sloppy self-published books. So how can you make sure your work will be first-rate and successful? Edit. Hire an editor to help you clean up your storyline and get rid of any errors.

 

2. Know who your readers are.


Writing a book is hard, and publishing can feel even more daunting. How is your book going to stand out among the millions already out there? It likely won’t. But! Your book can stand out in the right crowd. Your fantasy novel may never be noticed by readers of horror, historical fiction, or western romance. If your novel is high fantasy, you may not appeal to readers of low fantasy or magical realism. And that’s okay! Focus your efforts on attracting the attention of the readers who are interested in your genre. Do your research. Build relationships with other fantasy writers. If fantasy readers share books with each other on Reddit, go there to share your book. If fantasy readers like epic, dramatic fight scenes on the covers of their books, do that. That leads me to . . .

 

3. Design your book cover to attract your readers.


Every day, thousands of advertisers are thinking of ways to attract consumers’ attention online. When designing your book cover, you must think along the same lines. Unfortunately, most books are judged by their cover, so it’s important to create a cover that will catch your reader’s attention. Look at some of the books in your genre whose covers make you pause, make you catch your breath, or pique your interest. What do they have in common? What elements can you use for your own cover? Even if you are planning on having someone else design your book cover for you, you need to know what you want. And remember, covers shouldn’t be cool for cool’s sake alone—they should be cool to your readers.

 

4. Market your book now—even if it’s not finished.


When getting published through a traditional publisher, the publisher often does a lot of the marketing for your book. When you self-publish, that job falls to you. It takes time to build awareness and an audience, so start promoting your book now. Write social media posts, share teasers or chapters, and send copies of your book to beta readers. Get prospective readers hyped for your book launch. But don’t just build up to your launch and disappear. Your book may be amazing, but if no one sees it, how will anyone know how great it is? A good way to market your book is to ask your readers to write reviews. Our online shopping world is ruled by the star system; the more 4 or 5 stars a product has, the more we want to give that product a try. The same rule applies to books. And the more reviews you have, the more visible your book will be. Send out free copies of your book in exchange for reviews. Ask friends and family to review your book. Make friends with other authors in your genre so you can review each other’s books.

 

Self-publishing isn’t easy, but it can be extremely fulfilling. Enjoy the process and learn as much as you can. And then, your next book will be just that much easier to publish.

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