When I published my first book Pieces of Me. I thought, “Man this is going to be easy!” Boy, was I wrong. Self-Publishing means exactly what it is, you are the publisher responsible for writing, editing and marketing your release. You are writing at your own expense. You are the backer verses a traditional publisher would handles everything in house. Yes, there are sites that assist you in the process. Like CreateSpace through Amazon KDP, this is a self-publishing site there to help you from concept to creation. I utilized this site for both of my books. However, my upcoming release and my first are completely different.
Self Made Cover:
I cut a few corners with my first book. It was the inexperience that I lacked eventually learning an easier way. For instance, I didn’t want to purchase an expensive cover. So, I used CreateSpace’s build your own cover tool. Now mind you that I am no cover artist, this could have turned into a complete disaster. Any writer should know that a good cover will turn a profit. Luckily, I chose a fairly easy theme and cover for that book. I knew I would never do that again. For my next book, More Than Words…I outsourced my cover from a very talented artist who turned out to be fairly reasonable with her pricing. I plan to use her again.
How many times have you wandered in Barnes and Noble spotting a book with a really neat cover? I have several times. One recent book was The Girl on The Train was a book I didn’t care for particularly; however the cover was subtle and striking. Here’s another confession (keep it between us!) I read Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga and EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy based on the cover art. Don’t judge me readers. I’m just saying even though the story plots were questionable, the cover work was stunning.
Another thing I failed at was the editing and formatting portion. Okay, yes I am an English major; however I can tell you it is very hard to edit your own work. Also, the formatting for your paperback and e-book template has to match. I spent the first night of my launch last year crying in my friend Sylvia’s inbox because my e-book format was off in the margins. Once I resolved that issue I knew this was another mistake I wouldn’t repeat again.
We are all subject to error in ours lives, we are human. If you want to publish work you are proud of it’s very easy to do and it won’t break your budget.
Here are a few tips that helped me out the second time around:
- Copyright your material-If you don’t want to pay the fee to copyright.gov take a copy of your manuscript, email to yourself with the title For Copyright Purposes Only. This is a considered “A Poor Mans Copyright” this is a cheaper way to establish ownership until you register.
- Set out a realistic budget for your cover art, editing and formatting fees.
- Work with your cover artist to design a cover to fit your genre.
- Don’t settle for the first publishing site you find. There are plenty of sites that offer different promotions to fit your budget and your needs.
- Set a realistic goal for writing and editing. This isn’t NaNoWriMo you don’t need to stress out over creating a novel in a month. My novel took a year to complete from the original conception.
- Check out some of the writing groups on Facebook. There’s a group of every genre. Amazon has a group dedicated to promoting your work.
- Use Beta readers to critique your work. I’ll explain how that works in a later blog.
- Network! Use social medium to drive your work. I have met some amazing writers, publishers and editors here in Orlando and across the country.
- Believe in your goals. Writing requires an idea along with a ton of dedication.
- Good luck and happy writing! Remember you have all the tools you need to be successful.
This simple tips helped me out a ton. I hope you can take some inspiration for me as I did my writing friends.
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(Cover photo’s courtesy of Author Elle Henry, A Girl & Her Books Publishings)