What is Self-Publishing and How to Get Started
While self-publishing has always been around, it is only in the recent decade that its practice has been normalised, and even accelerated. Gone are the days, when authors relied solely on publishing houses to bring their books to life. This wave brings along opportunities for writers to have complete autonomy over their work, and utilise their own resources to make a successful piece of art that people want to consume. Here, the writer has the liberty to print, format, design and market the book according to their preferences, isn’t that amazing?
How to go about writing and self-publishing your book?
Once the task of finishing your manuscript is completed, and the decision to self-publishing is made, it is important to strategize and factor in all the essential steps that are required to successfully send your book into the market, which is:
1. Proofreading the draft – Yes, reading your manuscript from start to finish, nit-picking on all the details is excruciating, but it is essential for the editing stage, as it helps you catch grammatical errors, plot holes, drawn-out paragraphs etc… Asking a close friend or family member to read your manuscript will also help you gain an objective understanding of the condition of your story.
2. Editing – The editing process comes after two or three proofreads and re-writes. It is the final brush-up of your product where you tie loose ends and sharpen the edges, after taking into consideration all the feedback and criticism.
3. Formatting and designing the manuscript – “Book formatting” is a design that converts and aligns your manuscript in the format of a book. It puts into perspective what the interior of the finished product will look like, including the appropriate fonts, spacing, page layout, headings etc…
Then comes the question: “How do I self-publish?”
For new writers that are looking to venture into the field, it can be hard to judge where to start. Fortunately, the internet has made self-publishing so much easier. This holds true for authors that are seeking to publish an e-book and/or a print book (physical copy). There are several platforms that aid in self-publishing worldwide and are very easy to use.
Some of them are-
1) Draft2Digital: This is a paid self-publishing platform that enables independent writers to publish their e-book/ print book and track their sales. The formatting and promotion are done by the platform and it is fairly easy to use.
2) Pencil: Pencil is the world’s first free publishing platform. It allows the author to self-publish, while also providing tools to create the book cover, editing and designing services, and engage with their readers and fellow writers. In addition to transparent sales and royalty reports, Pencil allows you to sell and distribute your book, both, in the form of e-book and paperback, worldwide- across 400+ retailers.
3) Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing: KDP is one of the most well-known paid self-publishing platforms. The publishing process takes very little time and your product will be visible in Kindle stores around the world shortly.
What comes next?
“I have published my book, but it isn’t selling well.”
The journey of self-publishing doesn’t simply end there. Marketing and promoting are the waves that the sales of your book surf on. Without your work reaching its target audience, all the effort taken is deemed futile. Since there is no middleman or publishing house promoting your book, it is easy to believe that your book won’t be successful. But that is far from the truth, as effective planning can help you jump this hurdle well!
1) Book launch- Holding a launch for your book is an old-school, but effective way to spread awareness about your book. It informs people about the product and enables them to interact with it.
2) Building a fan following- By taking it into your own hands, you can create buzz around the book for the people that seem to be interested in it. Social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr act as incredible mediums for the author to promote their book, and start a conversation surrounding it. The Pencil app enables the author to interact with their readers and even receive feedback within it. Using these tools to promote your work can be very efficient and beneficial.
3) Create a website for yourself- Having an author’s website, ties things together and makes you seem more professional. There are several resources out there to help you create a website for yourself, and your published content and discuss your upcoming projects. Writing blogs discussing the book can act as a synopsis for the book and intrigue people.
4) Social media campaigns- social media can be a huge blessing to authors. Building social media campaigns to advertise your book can be very effective- depending on your target audience.
Lastly, do not be afraid to ask for help when needed.
Publishing the book, you have spent aeons perfecting- is a huge deal, and you should celebrate yourself for that! Keeping in mind all the pointers mentioned above, your self-published book will be setting sail in no time! There are several websites that help you, as an author, publish your first book on your own, with all the amenities and help you would possibly require, as well as the guidelines to make use of them efficiently, so do not shy away from utilizing them.