The Dos and Don’ts of Self-Publishing

Self-publishing has become extremely popular, and for good reason! It can be much cheaper, can leave a lot of creative freedom with the author and it allows authors to work on their own timeline. What a dream! But self-publishing is not a free-for-all. You definitely have to follow some basic guidelines to get the most out of it. 

DO set a strict timeline

It’s super easy to let things go by the wayside when you’re the only person keeping yourself accountable. While it is nice that self publishing allows you to work on your own timeline, this feature can also be a hindrance. Give yourself extremely strict guidelines, or get a friend or family member to be an accountability buddy to make sure you’re hitting the deadlines you set for yourself. 

DO hire an editor

Self-publishing can be cheaper, but you still need to invest in your art. Hiring a professional editor to look at your work is an important part of making sure the final product comes out looking professional and clean. A lot of people think they can edit their own work. Even if you are an amazing editor, you can’t edit your own work because you are inside your own head while your readers are not. So, it’s impossible for you to know if what you’ve written will make sense to them. You need that third-party insight. 

DO market your book 

You can write an amazing book, but if nobody knows about it then it won’t sell! With traditional publishing, it is the publisher that takes care of marketing the book, but when you’re publishing on your own then the marketing is up to you. 

DO research your self-publishing choice

There are so many different self-publishing companies or options, it can make your head spin. Well known ones like Amazon could be the choice for you, or maybe there is another option you would rather try. There isn’t really a wrong answer, but you should do your research in advance to see which option will be right for you. 

DON’T design your own cover image

Unless you’re a trained graphic designer or artist, it is not advisable that you design your own cover art. Often, such covers come out looking very amateur, cheap, or boring. A graphic designer or artist can make your cover pop using their experienced eye to grab potential readers’ attention. As much as the saying goes not to judge a book by its cover, most people do. 

DON’T pay too much for marketing

Yes, you should market your book. But you should do what you can on your own, and then check out cost-effective services like the ones offered on Writers First. Put the time and effort into creating a mailing list, develop a following on social media, and use as many free tools to market your book as possible – there are many. To boost your presence and profile consider investing a small amount into targeted marketing and author promotion. For a little investment, you can reap great returns.

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