Are you new to self-publishing? Welcome and congratulations! This is an exciting time to be an independent author, but we’re not going to lie - there is a lot to learn. The first thing you need to know is if you’re really ready to publish. Since this is a question we help answer all the time, I decided to make a definitive list of signs that you’re ready to jump in:
You’re done with your manuscript.
I know, I know, you’ve typed “the end” and popped the champagne. That’s fantastic and you should be incredibly proud of your achievement, but are you really done? Really? If so, you can probably say at least a few of the following things:
- I've decided if my book needs images and, if it does, I've obtained the proper permissions.
- I no longer wake up in the middle of the night thinking of new plot twists.
- I've read through my manuscript a number of times so an editor can focus on catching things I've missed.
- I've already started thinking about my next book.
Trust me, no matter how much work you’ve already done, you'll end up creating more if you don’t wait until the manuscript is finished. Patience, grasshopper! We’ll still be here when you’re ready.
You’ve decided on the right format for your book.
Have you always envisioned a hardcover? Do you know your book is perfect for a trade paperback? Have you considered readers who prefer ebooks? You’ll want to have some firm decisions in place before you get too far into the process. The format you choose will impact how your files are prepared and, especially for print formats, it can be time-consuming and costly to change your mind later on.
You know the competition.
Obviously, your book is unique but (as hard as this can be) you need to start thinking of your work as a product. What do readers in your genre expect to pay? What sort of signals does your cover have to send? What types of back cover copy do successful authors in your field tend to use? If you’re really ready to publish, you need to think of yourself as a publisher. That starts with understanding the market.
This also means you’ve thought about a marketing strategy.
It may seem premature (the book doesn’t even exist yet!) but this is one of the biggest rookie mistakes. Building up an audience, especially for a first-time author, takes time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and you have to start training as early as possible. Do you know which bloggers might be receptive to your book? Do you have a plan to leverage social media? What about building up an email list through your author website?
So, are you overwhelmed yet? Don’t be. This list isn’t meant to discourage, it’s simply an introduction to the things you need to consider before becoming a self-published author. Luckily, we’ve guided thousands of authors through the process, and we are always here to help. Feel free to reach out and we can answer any questions you have!
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