Most of us have a book within us, waiting to be written and put out there. The reasons for this are varied – it could be to share our expertise, ideas and thoughts with the world. To gain visibility within a target group or earn prestige and money.
Whatever the motivation, getting a book self-published has never been easier. Many authors, in fact, have discovered the unique virtues of self-publishing and turned down offers from traditional publishers. You control exactly when you want the published book in your hand. Enjoy participating in the creative process of converting your manuscript into a well-produced book. You earn higher royalties than you would normally from traditional publishers.
First-time authors who do not want to be at the mercy of the traditional publishers should consider self-publishing seriously. A few tips on writing and self-publishing a book and finding success as a self-published author:
1. Know why you want to write the book and get it published
The objectives of writing a book ranges from selling thousands of copies to enhancing your stature in your chosen field of specialization. Also to get consulting and speaking assignments, building a fan base useful for subsequent books. Being a published author is a powerful differentiator and opens a variety of doors and opportunities.
But what sets a successful book apart from others? It is the passion which the author exhibits for sharing his ideas and expertise with others. Just putting the book out there becomes as important as the number of copies that are sold. If your sole objective for writing a book is to make pots of money then perhaps this is not the best thing for you.
Therefore, before you begin to write, it is important to recognize your motivation for writing. Once your book is published, you will realize that many unforeseen benefits start accruing.
2. Decide the schedule and pace for publishing your book
To earn success as an self-published author one has to work out the pace at which he or she will write the book. They also need to plan the schedule which works best for him or Pace will depend on the family and career situation of the author and the various demands on his or her time while completing the book. After all, during the time spent writing, the author has had to say no to other activity competing for time. Once time is blocked, a degree of discipline is necessary to meet the deadlines set.
One may prefer to write in the early hours of the morning. Then there are fewer distractions or the kids are asleep. Another may want to start the daily writing schedule after more urgent tasks have been completed. Someone may decide to complete the bulk of the book at a stretch. Willing to spend 10-14 hours every day.
To boost speed, it may be a good idea to dictate the draft through an app (Rev is one good option) . This converts the audio recording into a transcript. If one faces roadblocks and writer’s block, talking it over with a friend or coach or partner helps.
3. Adopt a collaborative approach
Just because you’re self-publishing doesn’t mean you have to be an expert in all areas. It is best to look for a reputable self-publisher who can focus on the publishing process (editing, proofreading, graphic designing, formatting, printing and production, distribution and marketing). This leaves you to focus on promoting the book. The fool-proof way to decide who is reputable is to look for testimonials from those who have published before. With a good self-publisher, you can be sure of a book which rivals a book published by a traditional publisher in look and feel.
Once the book is ready, some authors actively seek feedback from volunteer reviewers at the edit stage to test the book. It is easy to do so – just post the word file on social media and request feedback. Or the manuscript is sent to trusted reviewers who not only point out obvious errors but also improve the content.
The process can also be repeated just prior to publishing at which stage PDFs are sent to volunteers. And before the book goes live on sale on Amazon, some of the volunteers who have read the book in the earlier stages are requested to write reviews on Amazon within minutes of the book going live. And if you are able to get 25-30 five star reviews from actual readers within the first 72 hours of the book going on sale on online platforms gives the book a huge momentum towards finding success as an author.
4. Engage potential readers by offering previews
Authors can generate feedback and excitement at early stages, before the book is ready to launch. Viewers can be sought on YouTube through videos, cover design options can be exposed on social media and potential readers can vote on their preferences. The idea is to engage potential readers in the process early on so that they feel they partly own the book!
5. Add stories to advice
Stories add a lot of value even in the non-fiction genre. Any advice passed on to readers becomes far more powerful if it backed by a human interest story. The reason why stories pack a punch is that stories evoke emotions and give rise to feelings. The brain may forget what it heard or read but it will definitely remember how it felt at that time. And storytellers have exploited this for millennia.
While incorporating stories, take care to use a style which makes the reader feel the author is having a conversation with him or her. Authenticity and a conversational, breezy tone of voice makes the reader relate to the author. In addition to making even self-help books fun to read through incorporation of stories, it helps to add elements of suspense so that the reader is motivated to keep reading it till the end.
6. “Promote as if your life depends on it”
Most new books sell in the first 3-4 weeks and then their sales taper off. It is therefore crucial to persevere in promoting the book with single-minded determination. After all, you wrote the book since you are convinced about what you have to say. No one can or will do more justice to promoting a book than the author. To succeed as an author social media marketing, interviews, book launches and digital marketing are key in creating a buzz around the book.