Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Self-Publishing Help -re-post from my personal blog-

Making the decision to self publish should be a well thought out plan of action.  If you think it's going to be a walk in the park, then let me just clue you in to a little reality check.  Sure you can just take the manuscript you've been writing and stick it on one of the many self-publishing sites out there and hope that someone might see your work.  Chances are outside of your family and friends no one will even know you've written a book.  At this point I'm sure you're thinking "thanks for the doom and gloom", but that's the unfortunate reality for most people who don't come up with a plan to self-publish their beloved book.  Let's take a look at how we can give your book a chance in a competitive market and see if we can alter your chances of getting your book seen.

Before you even begin trying to actually publish your book I recommend getting a twitter and facebook account and finding some people who have had success with their own book marketing.  These people are going to be your lifeline for information and further promotion techniques.  I have yet to meet any self-published author who doesn't have a long list of people to thank when the book finally hits a shelf. Becoming a GoodReads and freado member will definitely help you out when you get ready for that big day of releasing your baby.  After your book has been published you'll definitely want to get an Author Page on Facebook and your own website.  Many people will tell you to do it before you publish your first book, I personally think it makes no sense until you have a product to promote.

We're going to assume that you've already got your manuscript ready for print at this point.  If not check back here again when you do.  I'm going to give you advice that I wish I had been given prior to attempting my first book.  Formatting is key here!  Book templates will give a professional look to your manuscript and if you're a first time author you should really utilize this.  Another important addition to your book is a copyright page, it makes your book look more professional.

So you've got a great manuscript and it's formatted perfectly.  Next you need to find a cover that's going to make it stand out.  Finding great photo's for your cover will definitely take some time and effort on your part.  One of the first places to start the search for your cover picture, unless you're a great artist, is using stock photos.  My favorite place so far to find "free" stock photos that won't infringe on copyrights is Morgue File.  Please make sure to check the license for any picture that you use for cover art!

Now comes the question on what service am I going to use to self-publish my book.  There's dozens of companies out there, I chose CreateSpace.  I can't vouch for other companies because I haven't had any experience with them.  Create Space allowed me to get my book on Amazon, which was my original intent.  I purchased the Pro Plan for $39.99 which meant that my books could be bought by bookstores.  I'm sure other authors have had good experiences with other self-publishing companies, but this company served my needs.

I deeply recommend having an editor go over your book before you publish.  These services can be purchased online and they will save you headaches in the future.  No matter how many times you read through your manuscript there are bound to be errors that get overlooked.  As the Queen of Typo's this lesson is one that cost me serious time and profit.

After you publish your book the real fun begins.  Remember we talked earlier about setting up a Facebook author page?  Visit Create a Page on Facebook and take the time to fill out your information as accurately as possible.  Also we discussed freado, they have a great widget that you can use for your author page that gives a glimpse into your book, I strongly recommend this free app.

On the day of release you want to get as much PR as possible for your book.  I recommend starting with your local newspapers. Contact them and tell them you're releasing a book and it's a great inspirational story for your town.  There are also online press releases you can utilize.  You want your name and the title of your book going out to as many places as possible.  Include your website on the signatures of your email.  Make your twitter profile link to your site.  Aggressive promotion is absolutely mandatory for a new author.  How can I buy a book that I have never heard of?

One of things I noticed is the trend of e books and how many of my readers were purchasing my book in that format.  Nook, Kindle, and ibooks are great ways to generate new sale and having your book available in this manner is becoming a must.

I use Twitter and Facebook to promote my work at least 2 hours a day and usually it's much more.  These are some basic ideas that worked for me and I hope they will be helpful for you.  Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have and if I don't know the answer I'll try my best to find someone that does.  I wish you much luck in your journey of self-publishing!

Michelle Hughes - Paranormal author of the vampire series A Night at Tears of Crimson
Twitter:  @MichelleHughes_
Facebook:  Author Michelle Hughes

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