Self-publishing is tricky business and can easily become a full-time job. The author takes on the role of a business owner almost overnight and juggles a hundred different responsibilities.
So stay cool, collected, and stress-free with the five Es of self-publishing.
Employ someone to create your book cover. Unless you’re a graphic designer, please don’t design your own cover. That’s blunt, but it needs to be said. I once saw a book cover of an alien-unicorn hybrid with a rainbow of pinks, purples, and greens vomited onto the cover with a dozen different unnecessary phrases in a dozen other fonts. It hurt my eyes to look at it.
I could be a millionaire if I published a coffee table book full of ugly book covers. Think of how eccentric that would be. But seriously: get your book cover professionally designed. (And don’t be in my coffee table book!)
Entrust your book to a professional editor. (Yawn, here she goes again.) Okay, okay! I'll keep it short: your book is your pride and joy; if you throw it out there with errors, people will riot. Riot, I say! Those negative Amazon and Goodreads review will not go away. Your reputation as an author should be important to you; don't throw all of that away because you had your mom edit your book.
All right, let's move on.
Embrace social media. It is your best friend. Here’s the deal: you don’t have to be a genius at all platforms—I don't care what anyone says. It’s okay to be really good at one platform. Use Instagram to your advantage. Do you prefer Twitter to Facebook? Are you a Pinterest maniac? Find your social strength and make it stronger. There are thousands of book lovers wandering around Facebook, Instagram, etc. just waiting to read your book. All you have to do is find them.
Look at your platform: where can you connect with your audience the most? If social media confuses you, let's talk.
Engage with your audience. Ask them what they liked about your book. Answer their questions or responses on Facebook (and tag them). Retweet a follower. Build your platform by engaging with your loyal followers.
These people have liked your Facebook page because they want to hear what you have to say.
When you engage on social media, you'll see your stats go up. You'll also love getting to chat with your readers and hear what they think about your book. Basically, don't ignore your social media followers—aka, book ambassadors.
Expand your market. Are sales low? Are you reaching the right audience? Does your personal brand shine through like the moon on a summer night? If not, try marketing your book in other areas.
Do you need to rebrand? Talk to Mike Loomis. Do you need to recycle your blog topics into videos? Then look at your book genre. Is your novel historical fiction? Talk about that era and their typical recipes or attire or gadgets. Is your novel futuristic? Write about advanced technology and how it's changing our world. Did you write a self-help book that could use a workbook to go with it?
You don't have to just write posts about your book—write about other things that center on it.
Bonus: enjoy the publishing process.
An expert editor, seasoned writer, and author-centric marketer, Shayla Eaton works one-on-one with self-published authors, having edited three hundred books. She is the president of Curiouser Editing, where she offers top-notch publishing guidance for authors and their books.
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