Last month I touched on some questions you as a writer should ask yourself before making a decision on self-publishing. That post was a prelude to a scheduled appearance I’d had this month at the Arkansas Writer’s Conference where I was given the honor of speaking about my experience with self-publishing. It was early in the morning…Like before breakfast, early. I required much of the caffeinated stuff of the Starbucks kind. Didn’t help the nerves, but it did help keep me focused on the task at hand. Mmmmmmm……
Thankfully, I didn’t have to go at it alone. I shared an hour with a fellow Arkansan author on the topic–an hour is nowhere near enough to discuss the things authors need to take into consideration when making a decision like this. But we both crammed as much as we could during the time allotted. I drafted some notes for me to refer to and even printed these out to help those who attended. I had no idea that this seminar would be as popular as it was. I hadn’t printed enough cheat sheets and the Q&A session was jam-packed with questions…to the point that we’d gone over our time, and I still had people coming up to me asking questions. Below is a very high level overview of some key points writers need to take into consideration when taking the self-publishing plunge. Consider it your personal cheat sheet.
Should You Self-Publish?
1. Understand the difference between writing and publishing
2. Cost and Time vs. Convenience
3. Write for your target audience
4. Utilize your Backlist or Blog
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
1. Do your research!
2. Success stores: Bella Andre, H.P. Mallory, Bob Mayer, Liliana Hart, Gemma Halliday
3. Books: QUIT YOUR DAY JOB, THE EBOOK REVOLUTION, NINJA BOOK MARKETING STRATEGIES, THE SHELFLESS BOOK, etc.
4. Seek out help: Kindleboards, Absolute Write Water cooler, etc.
Go Brand Yourself
1. Sell your NAME not your BOOK
2. Same message across all platforms: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Shelfair, Pinterest,
1. Beta Reader/Editor/Proofreader – Use them!
2. Book Covers
3. Ebook formatting
4. Categories and Keywords
6. Series Sell!
1. Amazon (Author Central) – Kindle Direct Publishing (.mobi)
2. Barnes and Noble – PubIT (.epub)
3. Apple iBooks – iTunes Producer (.epub)
4. Genre Specific Retailers – i.e. All Romance Ebooks/OmniLit
4. Using Distributors – Smashwords, INscribe Digital, etc.
Marketing vs. Networking
1. Understanding the difference
2. Utilizing free resources: Wattpad, Pixel of Ink, Ebook Nation Daily
3. Know where to spend your money: Kindle Nation Daily, Bookbub, Ebook Nation Daily
1. Indie Review Tracker
2. Manic Readers
Annnnnd, I could go on and on and on, and write pages and pages on each key point. But at least now you have a solid starting point. And as always, you should utilize your local writing groups. They’re invaluable when it comes to bouncing off ideas and seeking advice—no matter where you are in your writing career.