5 Tips for Publishing Your Own Book
5 Tips for Publishing Your Own Book
Did you ever imagine ideas for a blockbuster novel? Did you plot out character sketches; divide the plot into three acts with five turning points each, and used pathos to create a mental image of your protagonist’s best friend or wardrobe or car that will later be revealed to be garish.
If you have gotten to that point then, you are no amateur writer. Most of us have done this before we set out on actually putting pen to paper (or finger to key).
The next logical step for these dedicated writers is to try and get their books published. This sounds pretty simple, but then, it isn’t.
You can send your manuscript to agents or publishing houses, but the chances of them accepting unsolicited manuscripts are very slim indeed—most probably won’t even reply at all. Successful self-publishing authors have helped lay down a few tried and tested tips for those thinking about going down that route though.
In this article, we explore five solid tips you may want to know about before attempting to publish your own book. We’ve also been keen to touch on the potential mistakes you should be aware of so you do not commit them. Let’s dive right in!
Master Your Craft
This may sound a bit extreme, but if you want your manuscript to be taken seriously, then you need to make sure all grammatical rules are followed. The plot should also flow from one chapter to another smoothly, and include a number of twists, turns, and revelations throughout its course, characters come to life through their dialogue and actions.
Ideally, you use vivid descriptions to help build each scene. It helps if the manuscript is written in your natural voice but not at the expense of future readers.
Find an Editor
You may know how to write your book well, but chances are someone else will be able to pick up faults where you can’t see them. This applies whether you want to go down the traditional publishing route or try self-publishing (the latter allowing for greater control over what you produce).
So, make sure you invest in getting your manuscript proofread and edited by someone else. You should never expect your first draft to be perfect; your first attempt will likely go through several drafts before the book gets finalized for publishing (and even then, there will still be changes made along the way).
Design Your Own Cover
Your cover needs to stand out from all others on the market because once picked up; it’s what will lead potential buyers into buying your book rather than somebody else’s—unless they’re loyal fans, that is. Much like writing your book, you need to stick to the publishing rulebook when it comes to designing this aspect of your book, so research other covers in your genre before even beginning.
You don’t want to get a rude shock once your book has gone live. As a general rule, part of your decision should be based on getting critics’ reviews before locking in the publishing date. Receiving constructive criticism from those who know their stuff will help you improve your book and make it a better read for everyone else.
Market Your Book
Once you’ve got everything ready—writing included—get out there and tell people about it! This may seem daunting, especially if you’re trying to popularize horror content.
There are plenty of free and low-cost ways to get your work out there, so use them. It’s a tough job, but it has to be done, nonetheless.
Is it worth publishing your Own Book?
One of the most common worries among beginner writers is what if I write a book and it’s just horrible? The answer: well, maybe you’ll learn something.
Writing and publishing a novel is a learning process. If you’re self-publishing, that can be freeing in some ways—since no one has the power to reject your work because everyone hopefully wants to see books published.
It would help to consider how much time and effort would go into the revision process before anything’s even printed. If you’re not a natural-born wordsmith, your manuscript might need at least a couple of rounds of edits anyway.
The question is: do you want to spend months or even years trying to get agents or editors interested in something that’s never going to be the best it could possibly be? In this case, self-publishing might be able to get your work out there fast.
Mistakes you Should Avoid
There are certain mistakes that should be avoided by all means, no matter which publishing option you choose to take. One of them is publishing a book that’s filled with typos or errors.
It’s just not something readers will go for, especially if your cover looks half-finished. From what we’ve read online, the most common spelling mistake is spelled as ‘through’ instead of ‘threw.’
Another important thing to consider is how books are sold. Make sure you know where you’re putting yours and how much it costs because you’ll have very little say in this once it goes to print without an agent.
You can’t expect people who paid for your work to spend even more money on buying copies from the shop if they find out it’s just another self-published book. Also, get ready for negative reviews.
People will say it’s not worth reading online because you’re new to the game, and it’s only natural that they will compare your work with other books in the same genre or by famous authors. This is why having thick skin is so important throughout this process – don’t let nasty comments get you down. Just brush them off and keep trucking along.
Finally, don’t go overboard with your promo efforts. It’s easy to be seduced by all the free and low-cost ways of advertising books out there, but if you spam readers too much, they’ll turn their backs on you, which means you’ll lose all the work and money you’ve put into making your book stand out. So, aim for quality over quantity when it comes to promoting your work.
Self-publishing isn’t perfect, but there are some serious advantages that can turn the tables in its favor. If you’re not afraid of hard work and want your book out there fast, or if you think agents won’t be interested in your subject matter no matter how good the manuscript is, self-publishing could well be for you.
The most important part of all this is, don’t give up on the dream of being a published author just because traditional publishing didn’t happen for you right away. Take control into your own hands instead and see where that takes you.
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Stuart Conover is a father, husband, published author, blogger, geek, entrepreneur, horror fanatic, and runs a few websites including Horror Tree!