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Self-Publishing A Book: 16 Things Authors Need To Know

Turgay Birand

October 5, 2016

self-publishing A lot has changed in the past 20 years in terms of publishing a book. The barriers to entry have disappeared, digital publishing is on the rise and more authors are turning to self-publishing. If you are a self-published author or are think about going the self-publishing route, there are a few things you should know. In this post we will discuss 16 things authors need to know about self-publishing. If you keep these 16 things in mind you will be well on your way to a successful career as a self-published author.

1. It Is Easier Than Ever

Thanks to the rise of affordable publishing technology, self-publishing is now easier than ever. Self-publishing a print book is easy. Self-publishing an eBook is even easier. I won’t dive into the exact logistics of how to do each, but know that you can do it and it won’t cost you a fortune.

2. Find and Build Your Audience Before You Launch

When you self-publish a book you quickly realize how hard it is to find people interested in buying it. One of the biggest mistakes self-published authors make is waiting to find an audience of interested readers until after their book is published. If you want to be successful, it is crucial that you build your audience long before your book is complete. You can do this through a blog, social media channels, in person events and much more.  When it does come launch day, you want to already have people lining up to buy your book.

3. eBooks Are Your Best Bet

The entire world is going digital and publishing is no exception. Less than 1% of books make it into a bookstore and the numbers are even lower for self-published books. With this in mind all self-publisher should be thinking digital first. The costs associated with selling an eBook are much less than selling a print copy book. It is also easier to market and sell an eBook since people can buy it and start reading it immediately. Think digital first and print second. In many cases offering only an eBook to begin with is the best option.

4. There Are Riches in Niches

Self-published books that have a well-defined topic tend to do very well. Don’t try to write a book that will appeal to the masses. Unless you are James Patterson or Stephen King, it will be very hard to write a book that is loved by all. Instead focus on writing about niche topics that you can dominate. Religious books are one of the examples of self-published books that do very well. We spoke about finding an audience long before you launch your book. Building this audience should help to shape your book topic.

5. Finding The Right Book Price Is Hard

Is there a perfect price for a book? The simple answer is no. When you self-publish a book, figuring out how much to charge for it can be very difficult. It isn’t an exact science. Change your price regularly until you find a price the resonates well with your audience. Related Post: Self-Published Authors: How To Find The Perfect Price For Your Book

6. The Competition Is Fierce

self-publishing Earlier we discussed how self-publishing was easier than ever. This is true. Unfortunately, that also means competition is at an all time high. Since the barrier to entry is lower than ever, you will have to compete with 100,000s of other books that are released within a month of your. If you want to be successful as a self-published author you must find a way to rise above the competition.

7. Make Your Book Evergreen

An evergreen book refers to books that are not time sensitive. The Lord of the Rings for example will still be popular fifty years from now thanks to the fact it is not time sensitive. The main reason you will want to make your book evergreen is so you can sell it forever. You are going to put a lot of hard work into writing and publishing your book. Do not kill your chances of success by writing a book that will be irrelevant 18 months from now.

8. The Odds Are Against You

The average indie book sells under 200 print copies. This might come as a shock to new self-published authors considering the fact most people have more Facebook friends than that. Do not expect all of your friends to buy your book. Do not expect it to be easy to sell your book. You can overcome the odds if you accept just how challenging it will be. You will have to learn how to market your book almost as well as you wrote it. More on that in a little bit.

9. Hiring Professional Help Is A Must

Just because you can do it yourself doesn’t mean you should. You may be able to proofread and edit your book, but you should hire a professional to help. You may be able to design a book cover, but you must hire someone to help. Self-publishing is hard enough with a little help from professionals. It is nearly impossible on your own. Doing it on your own may save you money in the short run, but it will cost you money in the long run. Related Post: Professional Services for Indie Authors: Are They Worth It?

10. Your Ability To Negotiate Is Crucial

Ok, so we have established that you need professional help. Now let’s establish that professional help doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I will say it again: professional help does not have to cost a fortune. Make sure to do your research and try to become a master negotiator. A well-funded author may be able to spend $25,000 on professional help. You need to make a budget and then negotiate to make sure you get the help you need with that budget.

11. You Must Have Clear Goals To Succeed

How long will you take to write your book? How many books do you hope to sell? In what time period will you sell these books? Before you start writing your book, you need to set clear goals. Self-publishing is hard because you do not have people holding you to exact deadlines, helping with promotion and much more. Without goals you are much more likely to fail. With goals you will be driven to succeed. Success as an independent author is different for everyone. Your goals must define what success means to you.

12. Selling Direct Is A Great Idea

self-publishing When you sell through Amazon and other online marketplaces, you are forced to give up a large percentage of your profit. This percentage can be anywhere between 30%-70%. For self-published authors this can simply be too much. Even if you still want to sell on Amazon, we highly recommend selling directly from your website. With a tool like EditionGuard you securely sell eBooks for as low as $24 per month. With no additional fees per purchase, you can start earning the money you deserve.

13. Actually Selling Your Book Is Hard

Writing a book is hard. Selling a book can be even harder. New authors tend to underestimate just how hard it is to get random people to open their wallet and pay for a book. With so many options, why would they pick your book?  Related Post: Why No One Will Read Your Next Book

14. You Will Have To Learn Marketing Basics

Here is a simple fact: well written books don’t always sell. Well marketed book usually do. When you self-publish a book you will be in charge of marketing it to the world. If you are not familiar with the basics of marketing, including: content marketing and social media marketing, you should find a few trusted blogs to begin learning from. You do not need to be a marketing expert, but it is crucial that you understand how to attract a targeted audience that will be interested in your book. You may be able to rely on your closest family and friends to buy a copy of your book. Outside of that small circle you will have to do some serious convincing. Related Post: 20 Ways Authors Can Market Their Books

15. Don’t Skimp On Your Book Cover

It is true that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. It is also true that people do. Especially if you are selling your book digitally.  Let’s keep this simple: hire a professional to design multiple book covers for you. You should have specific book cover designs for both your physical and digital copies.

16. You Can Absolutely Find Success

Self-publishing is really hard, but you can absolutely succeed. When you do, it is the best feeling in the world. Whether you have already published many books or are thinking about publishing your first, know that you can do it. Know that it will be worth it. And know that there are plenty of people, including us at EditionGuard, that can’t wait to see you succeed.

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