Self Publishing Tips

Self Publishing Tips

In my opinion, this Self Publishing Tips page may well be the most important writing article on the whole of this website. ‘Why?’ you ask. 

As a writer and writing coach I’m regularly approached by writers who have self published a book or novel, each of them has the same question. (Different words perhaps, but same question.) ‘My books aren’t selling, can you tell me how to sell them?’  

Sadly, in most cases I can only give promotional advice, because in all honesty the time they should have sought advice was before they went to the printer. 
Before you go to the printer: 

• seriously consider how and what you're planning to self publish so that you know what you need. 
• decide who the perfect reader (the target market) of your book is so that you, as the writer, can create a product that your target market will be queuing to buy. 
• get your work professionally edited, so that there aren't spelling mistakes on the back cover blurb and on every other page of the book. 
• decide if your drawing/design skills are good enough to create an eye-catching professional cover. 
• consider how and where you're going to sell the book. 
• understand fully the financial risks. 
• explore all available ways of self publishing (traditional printing, e-books, print-on-demand, etc) and decide which style best suits your needs and your target market's preferences.

For many writers the end product is a book; being able to hold their printed book in their own hand is the goal they are aiming at. Yet if you’re self publishing and planning to sell your book, the book is really only the start of the whole process. 
Having said all that you might think that this page should be called Why Not To Self Publish as opposed to Self Publishing Tips. But truth be known I’m a great believer in self publishing, I’m just not a great believer in self published looking books, people losing thousands of dollars because they didn’t do their homework, and self publishing agencies that help writers create books yet don’t insist they consider quality standards and target markets. 
So here are my self publishing tips 

• Do your homework on self publishing and marketing. 
• Know, without a doubt, who your target market is. 
• Get a professional familiar with your style of writing to do your editing, it might cost more, but believe me your readers will see the typos and inconsistencies you miss. 
• Do your homework on book cover designs. 
• If you’re not familiar with graphic design, pay somebody to create the cover or bribe a college student. 
• Copy how the professionals do it. Big companies spend millions researching what colour cover readers like, how they like the words on the page, what size books they prefer. Just by looking at the book shelves you can see what they think sells, so use this knowledge to your advantage. 
• Get quotes from a variety of printers and remember the cheapest isn’t always the best. 
• Know how you’re going to sell your book before you decide to go ahead with self publishing. 
• Approach things with a ‘business mind’ not somebody eager to see their book in print. 
• Don’t do a huge print run because the individual unit price is cheaper. Unless you have endless pre-orders 250 is an excellent starting run. 


Of course, I can’t guarantee that these self publishing tips will cause your book to be an instant best seller, but I can guarantee they will dramatically decrease the chance of it all being a heart-breaking and financially crippling experience. 

As you may have noticed, most of these tips target writers looking at taking their manuscript to a printer and traditionally publishing their book, but please don't think that makes these tips irrelevant to writers planning other kinds of publishing. In most cases all the above advice is relevant to all styles of publishing, paper or electronic.
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