Make Self-Publishing Mighty – Setting Goals
Steps to publishing have many different routes, including (yay!) self-publishing. These free the writer from the constraints of the traditional route. I point to the length of time one may wait for agents/traditional houses to accept a novel. Not all (many) make it through slush pile(s). Indie is self-publishing peppered with a light to traditional publishing taste, except… different.
The cavalry has arrived. No, really. The cavalry is here and self -publishing, after several years, is gaining popularity. Again, yay! That cavalry is you. So this is a sexist image, but… okay, I think he’s hot.
How does one enter the foray of fast growing market? As you read, don’t lose heart. It seems overwhelming for first time self-publishers. Self-publishing is a funny animal. It has ups. Then… downs. The market waxes and wanes.
These are the goals you must have to follow through. You are starting a business, and floundering around ends in ‘dead fish’ fodder.
While tempted to throw your first draft to a self-publishing outfit, don’t, have a cup of coffee. Do not pay an agent or publishing house unless you are wealthy (or a politician). Do you want to spend your hard-earned money for ‘I’m published’ gleam in your eye? The real sparkle is in their eyes: the scratch in your pocket. Oh, get your mind out of that gutter. Money.
Here it is:
You’ve completed the manuscript. That is an endeavor. And a half.
Determine your budget for every step of this endeavor listed. I cannot stress this enough. Encourage an elephant to sit on you before you write checks. Have a look around for self-publishing groups.
What do you want to sell, e-books only? Consider Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/about/tos Or both e-books and paperback? I recommend both, but in the end, this is up to you. E-books are far less expensive but bring fewer royalties (though I have heard some great success stories). Smashwords gives you about 70-85% of royalties… though you pay 35 cents per book sold. This royalty number is awesome. You keep copyright, and can participate in other parts of the program. Well worth the look. Your biggest obstacle with ebooks is the dearth of readers who are aghast at any work requiring more than 99 cents.
Set a time goal. Six months before your novel is ready for printing, start your online advertising. Tell your friends. Get the word out. You are Wonder Woman. Or Superman. Pick one.
Plan a marketing program. Let’s talk cost. Squish your toes in social media. Make it sexy. If you don’t have a website, fer cryin’ out loud, get one. WordPress blogs are free. Their websites cha-ching your pocket from one hundred to five thousand dollars. A domain name will cost from ten dollars to one hundred. Go Daddy and others will offer for a fee, SEO (search engine optimization) to improve visibility.
Some custom websites charge ten times that amount.
Facebook fan page. Love this. If you want advertising on your Facebook fan page advertising costs, but nominal. Twitter is free. With WordPress blog free, you can post to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter… you get the idea. You can find free or pay for website services. I went cheap. As in, starving-artist-free: http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan a DIY site.
ISBN number. You must have one for your novel. That’s the little barcode on the back so you get paid. CreateSpace offers one free, however it remains with them … forever. You can also purchase one for one hundred dollars or more.
Get your murder hat on. Why do I mention this here in your goals? You want your book to sell I suspect. So, slash those scenes like Dexter in a bad mood, those that don’t push the plot along. Some self-publishing businesses will not pass three-hundred-eighty pages. Paying for editors is not cheap. Pretend for a second your novel is five hundred pages. You want to pay said editor a zillion buckaroos for pages to be removed, and edited… again? How do you spell redrum? Editors often charge thirty to forty dollars per hour. Your team of readers/critique buds can help with murder. One with the vase. One with the rug. One with the shovel.
The cover. I know you already have a cover in mind. Now find an artist/photographer to design, or look at stock photos, you can pay a lot or minimal. On my website, I have stock images I want on my new works. Some folks have luck with fivver, a less-expensive method. Fivver is a conglomeration of people who will work in five-dollar increments. Ask your Facebook fans which cover mock-up they like best.
CreateSpace offers free front/back and spine flaps with limited covers, though you can upload your own. When they create a cover for you, now you are looking at over three hundred dollars. I changed one book’s title and cover three times… that’s a buncha clams if you switch from one picture or another through custom artists. Keep that in mind. This was my second free cover (which I liked), another DIY on CreateSpace. The Big However… upon beginning the first chapter as a reader, I realized my fiction (and title) didn’t fit the cover—the formatting was fine. Don’t bother looking for it, the cover never moved passed the proofing stage. Sigh. Looks lovely, though. Keeping it for my next book.
CreateSpace is an easy platform that offers eBooks and paperback. They do the hard work such as bookbinding. They will gently place your work on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and it’s ready. Amazon Publishing is not currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts, but this is their site: https://amazonpublishing.amazon.com/work-with-us .
Preview your work online. Order five book drafts if in paperback. Most self-publishing requires a minimum. CreateSpace requires five. When you receive the box, shout with glee, review it, and bust out the champagne (or beverage of choice). I have declined some first copies and reformatted. No they don’t give you your money back. Rats. Each print-on-demand book through CreateSpace costs three dollars and ten cents. Minus shipping and handling.
Social media blitz and marketing. Put pictures of the books, a box of books in fact, onto every social media site you have. Plug to your friends, and now, family (they don’t count early on). Take the box you’ve ordered to local bookstores. Go to signings wherever you can find them. Authors Innovative Marketing on Facebook is chockfull of ideas for authors. Post your novel on Goodreads. Don’t forget! Put a PayPal button click on your website, and your Facebook fan page-
Before you think the endeavor is beyond you, it’s not. Royalties may be great: but read the contract with a jaundiced eye. Not … really jaundiced, but … Consider the amount you will pay for twenty-five books, print-on-demand. Three-dollars per book. Consider shipping/handling and your profit and loss.
So check around. Self-publishing sites that are true self-publishing sites are tough to find. Vanity and boutique presses, shrouded vaguely, tell you the cost for purchasing a package and then sink their teeth in your pocketbook like Monty Python’s savage attack bunny… “Run away, run away!”
If you are interested in Indie publishing, the larger Indies (for independent, not East Indian) pay well. And do not make fun. I thought that’s what Indie meant… hey, it was a long time ago, yeesh.
This is Diggypod. I don’t consider these folks self-publish but you may get some ideas: https://www.diggypod.com/self-publishing/companies/
Here is CreateSpace, and I do recommend taking a look: https://www.createspace.com/
Post your books on https://www.goodreads.com/
And … a list of the top Indie publishers: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/73281-fast-growing-independent-publishers-2017.html
Here you have it. Goals for your journey to self-publishing.