As you know I have lots of conversations with authors. Some who find self-publishing one of the best things they have ever done and then others who are frustrated because they did not accomplish what they had hoped for when they started the process. Here are six things to keep in mind as you begin your publishing journey that will help you make the most of your opportunity.
1. If you write for everyone, you may not appeal to anyone.
If you have read this blog, listened to one of my webinars, or read my book, 7 secrets of successful self-published authors, this will sound like a broken record. The best place to start your publishing journey is to identify the most likely group of people who will want to read your book. In other words, write with a particular person or audience in mind. Focus on characteristics such as gender, age and avocation. For example, do you think more females or males will want to read your book? What age? Do they have a particular area of interest such as romance or science fiction? Providing clear answers to questions such as these will increase your ability to effectively market your book.
2. Your marketing plan is as important as your manuscript .
Most authors who pen a manuscript are not eager to market their book alone. Yet the primary responsibility for book marketing lies with the author. You can find outside resources to help you, but having a plan for how you are going to promote your book and gain distribution is even more critical. You can find a number of resources to help you craft a marketing plan to help you reach your publishing goals, but you should not have the expectation that someone else is going to do it all for you. You need to be part of the process.
3. An interesting title draws attention and potential customers.
You labor over every word. You make sure all stylistic elements are perfect. Yet, the first words most people read will be your title. It is important to give as much care and thought to your title as any other part of your book. Tips on good titles include:
- Don’t make the title too long. If I can’t remember it, I won’t be able to tell others about it and the type size on the cover will be too small to read.
- Speak to potential readers, but don’t make it too cryptic. There may be a phrase or word that resonates with your target audience. If there is, consider using it in your title.
- Reward the reader of your title. Make sure your title gives some hint of what readers will find within the pages of your book.
4. A book isn’t just judged by its cover. It’s sold by it.
Like your title, your cover design is crucial to attracting book buyers and readers. Be sure your cover fits your genre and the artwork supports the title. Work to ensure the typeface is legible and there is enough contrast between the background and the typeface color so the title can be easily read. A cover that is too plain or too complicated can send the wrong message to readers. Also, a cover that is based on a template can detract from the uniqueness of your book. Our skilled designers can help you optimize your creative ideas for the most effective cover. Too many authors ignore the advice of professionals and execute their vision for the cover even if it is not the best option.
5. Limiting the formats of your book may limit your opportunity
As e-books have increased too many authors either focus exclusively on digital or even worse, just one format, like a Kindle. While hardcovers are in decline and e-books are on the rise. there are still a number of paperback books that are sold so author should really think through whether or not there is any advantage to limiting the formats readers can buy the book.
6. If you don’t have specific goals, you can’t measure success.
It is important for you to set realistic goals for your book. To help you do that, you need to conduct a self-analysis of how much time you can invest in promoting your book. What goals can you reasonably expect to achieve from the different sales channels available to you? What speaking opportunities are available to you and can you sell your books while you are there? These are just a few of the questions you need to consider. Too often authors have unrealistic goals or lack a plan so they end up disappointed, but somehow they thought if they publish their book, the world will come calling.