Last time on She Self-Publishes we talked about paying a company to get your book in print. This time, we're talking about taking a more independent approach. In this kind of scenario you might do a lot of the legwork yourself while contracting professional designers and editors to handle anything you don't have the skills or equipment to accomplish.
Here are some of the basic steps of the self-publishing process:
The only way out of this step is to hire a ghostwriter, and—call it a hunch—but I think this defeats the purpose for most of us who consider ourselves writers. Even though most of the burden here is yours, there are people and resources available to help you through, whether you're a first-timer or you just need some help getting unstuck.
Your book must be edited by a professional editor. Preferably one who specializes in fiction if you're writing a novel, or non-fiction, if you're writing a self-help or how-to book. In an ideal world, you'll spend most of your money here. Editing and proofing are needed at a couple of different stages. This isn't a once-and-done endeavor. You might need to go through either or both types of editing more than once to ensure that your book is truly ready for publication.
It may be wrong to judge a book by its cover, but it doesn't change that attractive, marketable covers sell books. In addition to hiring a cover designer, you should work with someone who knows a thing or two about interior layout. Orphaned sentences and odd page breaks can reflect poorly on you, making you look sloppy and careless.
You have lots of details to work out when self-publishing your book. It's impossible to cover all of these in great depth for this post, so do some research on the following list. I hope to cover each of these things in more depth down the road.
Marketing & Publicity
If you haven't already heard authors tossing around the term "author platform," you'll hear about it soon. Your platform is really a combination of things that make you noticeable. Jane Friedman breaks it down into four categories: visibility, authority, reach, and target audience. Things that can help you establish and build your platform over the longterm include:
Direct promotions are also necessary for spreading the word about your book. You can handle all the marketing and publicity yourself if you've got the gumption, but it's generally not a good idea to farm out all of the responsibility to a third party. Be genuine and be involved as much as possible in the following activities:
I'd love to get some feed back from all of you self-publishers on your personal experience with the process. Did you run into snags along the way? How did you work around them? Which of these steps did you find to be the most challenging?