Are you thinking of self-publishing a book? Do you want to be successful as a self-publisher? Would you like to self-publish a bestselling book? If you answer yes to any of these questions, here are five keys to self-publishing success.
Write a Great Book
Write a readable, entertaining, informative, inspirational, great book. That’s your job as an author and a self-publisher. Don’t settle for almost good. Don’t spin out a quick and dirty book that offers nothing. Don’t self-publish any book that doesn’t build your brand as an author. Publish the best that is in you.
Get a good book editor, not an ordinary English teacher, but a real book editor who knows how to edit a great book. Almost all books need some editing no matter how good you are as a writer. Writers miss things they meant to see. Writers can always use a second professional eye to help them make their writing more effective. Note: Your writing can always be better. Always.
Design a Great Book
Start with a memorable, brandable book title. Don’t self-publish a book that doesn’t have a memorable, brandable book title. If you need help coming up with a memorable book title, check out my book title critique service.
Design the book’s interior. As a self-publisher, you need a well-designed book cover as well as a readable interior design. Most self-published books can still be spotted by looking at their interior design: too much leading, odd hyphenation, no logic to headings and subheads, etc. And, yet, interior design should be one of the easiest things to accomplish: Just copy the design of a book you enjoyed reading and whose design actually made it easier for you to read the book.
Great covers sell books. Book covers make a difference in getting your book into bookstores. Book covers make a difference in getting media coverage for you and your book. Book covers make a difference in how you and your book are featured in online websites, blogs, podcasts, and videos.
If you spend anything on self-publishing your book, spend it on getting a great cover design. You can get effective yet inexpensive cover designs using Fiverr.com. Pay for a professional cover designer if you have a brandable book series and want to extend the cover design look to a website, letterhead, service, blog, etc.
Build a Great Website
Take time to create and build up a great website. If you are writing on one specific topic, create a topical website (with a topical URL like BookMarketingBestsellers.com). If you are planning to write on more than two topics, create a brandable author website (with your name as your brand). Personally, I like the topical websites, so I create topical websites for every category of book I want to write.
Why create topical websites? Because people do most of their searches for specific topics, needs, desires, wants. They don’t search for authors (except famous authors). As a self-publishing author, you are probably not well-known. Hence, no one will search for your author website. But they will search for your topic, whether fiction or nonfiction. If you write chicklit novels, build a website around chicklitnovelist.com or chicklitnovels.com or chicklitfiction.com or ILoveChicklit.com.
Every author or topic website should have sections devoted to the following:
author (author bio, photo, contact info)
book titles (book covers, descriptions, testimonials, blurbs, reviews, and sales copy)
media (make it easy for media to access all your PR info; also showcase previous and upcoming media appearances and reviews)
speaking (for speaking engagements, book groups, etc.)
your podcast or videos. You should have a podcast where you interview influencers for your topic, social media stars, fellow book authors, bloggers, reviewers, etc.
resources (showcasing other websites and resources related to your topic; e.g., my favorite chicklit novelists, the best chicklit blogs, chicklit podcasts you must listen to, etc.)
your blog (with a great topical brandable name, consistent blog posts, etc.)
If you find creating your own website with WordPress as your content management system, you might try a service like Pixpa.com (check out their article on the Best 6 Author Websites to Inspire You at https://www.pixpa.com/blog/best-author-websites).
Create a Great Tribe
Every author should build up fans or followers. Create a tribe. Create a fan club. Create a group of people who know, love, and trust you — and who will help you champion your book. And who will create word of mouth and word of mouse for you and your book.
You create a tribe by being an active blogger, writing fun, entertaining, informative, and inspirational blog posts at least three times per week. Be consistent in blogging. Blog about your topic. Blog for your audience. Blog for your potential readers.
In 2022, rather than blogging, you might podcast. Podcasting is the new blogging. And the neat thing about podcasting is that your content doesn’t just appear on your website, but it gets syndicated on up to 40 podcast apps, directories, and syndicates as well as featured on social media, video-sharing websites, and dozens of other top-ranked websites (often with links back to your website).
Blogging doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Short blog posts are fine. Hey, folks, here’s a great new zombie novel I know you’ll love. Hey, friends, here are three bloggers you should read. Hey, readers, here is a short excerpt from my upcoming book. Hey, quote lovers, here’s an inspiring quote from a new diet book by Dr. Oz. Short, sweet, consistent, inspiring, topical — those are the qualities of effective blog posts. Every blog post should be focused on your topical keywords.
Yes, occasionally write a longer blog post (1,200 words or more), but focus primarily on the short posts that you can write and create in only a few minutes.
Always include a graphic with your blog post or podcast episode: a pretty picture, a funny GIF, a popular meme, a quotegraphic, a tipographic, an infographic, a cute dog, a book cover. Or a video.
Then socialize. Share your blog posts, podcast episodes, and graphics with your social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, GoodReads, Amazon Author Central, YouTube (videos), Rumble, TikTok, Vimeo, etc.
Market a Great Book
The final piece of the puzzle is the marketing. You can’t sell a book that isn’t visible. Marketing creates visibility. The best sort of marketing is that which creates relationships — relationships with partners, relationships with fellow authors, relationships with readers, relationships with media, relationships with book buyers, relationships with websites and bloggers and podcasters and social media influencers.
The successful self-publisher creates lots of relationships. And you always start the moment you have the idea for a new book. That’s when you start creating new relationships to help you research, write, share, publish, promote, and sell your book.
Self-publishing is never an easy road, but it is certainly quicker than waiting for some far-off big publisher to make a decision to publish your book. Plus, as a self-publisher, you keep full control over all your book rights and over all the promotion for your book.
When you self-publish a book, you should plan on doing something every day for that book for at least three years after that book is published. Just one thing a day. Write a letter. Post a blog article. Share a link on social media. Do a Facebook Live event. Contact a media person. Call up an indie bookseller and pitch your book. Make a new friend and make a book sale while riding on the bus or subway or train or plane or elevator. Don’t waste any opportunities.
Now go boldly into the world of books. And always have fun. Self-publishing is the golden road!
See also John Kremer’s 13 Keys to Self-Publishing
The Self-Publishing Mini-Course: https://bookmarketingbestsellers.com/self-publishing-tips-and-success-stories
About John Kremer
John Kremer is author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, the Relationships Matter Marketing program, and many other books and reports on book marketing, Internet marketing, social media, and book publicity. -- John Kremer on Book Marketing.
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