For writers and artists of all kinds, making a living isn’t always straightforward. Regardless of the medium or genre, competition abounds, and even with some online success, it can be challenging to break through to a broader market.
The internet has made it both easier and more challenging to get your work out there. On the one hand, social media platforms allow writers and artists to connect with their audience, but this also means more people are trying to do the same thing as you.
As you look for ways to use new avenues of technology, finding ways to let technology and the internet help you as an artist or writer is essential.
How Tech-Fueled Self-Publishing Can Help Varying Artists
One area that many creators are utilizing is self-publishing. In the music industry, this usually means creating a SoundCloud or posting your new songs on TikTok. For visual artists, this can include creating dedicated social media profiles for their art. But for writers, things can be more complex. Those who wish to publish their own books might be unsure of how to utilize technology or the internet to get to that point, but the truth is that self-publishing is a sensible route for many aspiring authors. Self-publishing is similar in many ways to start a business.
With more and more channels available for writers across all genres and topics, many people are pursuing self-publishing instead of going with publishing companies. There are pros and cons to both routes, but self-publishing allows anyone with a dream to make their book vision come true.
You may wonder about the steps you need to take to self-publish. Here’s an essential guide to getting started.
Why Self-Publishing is a Good Idea For Some Authors, Especially New Ones
The traditional publishing industry has the resources and reputation that many writers look for when trying to publish their books. If you can get a publishing house to accept your book, you’ll get paid and get the resources to market and sell your book.
However, it’s rarely that straightforward. Even a well-written book that’s original and creative might not be what traditional publishers look for in their acquisitions. Larger publishing houses may have preconceived notions of what will and won’t sell, and they also receive countless submissions. In some cases, an indie publisher might be a good alternative, but these also have downsides.
So, for new writers, self-publishing is a way to get your name out there and build an audience. The truth is that pitching your book to an agent is time-consuming. You may end up querying dozens upon dozens of literary agents with hardly a word back. This is especially true if you still need to build a reputation for yourself as an author. Instead, self-publishing allows you to harness any online traction you already have and then further your audience base. Once you publish something, you can point interested people to where your book is sold, which is an excellent way to build up social media buzz and spread the word.
Six Essential Steps For Self-Publishing Your Book (Regardless of Genre)
Self-publishing isn’t for everyone, but it is a viable option for many. Depending on your situation, self-publishing may be the only realistic route to getting a book in physical copy. But if you want to pursue self-publishing, you’ll likely have many questions about the process. Whether you want to publish a poetry book, sci-fi novel, or short story anthology, the approach to self-publish is much the same. Of course, as with most aspects of writing, the steps are often more complicated than can be put on paper.
To get you started, here are some steps to take when self-publishing:
Step 1: Ensure Your Book Has a Market
While you can self-publish nearly anything you want to write, you do have to look at the cost of production versus how much you’re likely to make. Of course, if you have the money to self-publish and aren’t worried about profit, you should go for it. However, for most writers, profit is at least a factor. To ensure you can make a profit now, or later as you build an audience, research the market for your genre. You can confirm you have a unique idea or at least a premise that is appealing to your potential readers.
Step 2: Focus Heavily On Editing
One potential downside to self-publishing is you won’t have access to qualified, professional editors. However, editing is still vital. If you want to succeed as an author, you need to publish a book that is free from grammar and spelling errors, and it’s also wise to do broader edits to things like plot and continuity. You’ll need to find editors to help you. If you’re lucky, you’ll already know someone in your network who can assist you. But keep in mind you will need to pay editors for their time and expertise.
Step 3: Figure Out the Cover
The design of your book cover also matters. The cover is the first thing readers see, and it’s a significant part of drawing an audience. Many people specialize in designing book covers, and this is a part of self-publishing where you’ll want to devote some extra time and money. If you need help with graphic design services, you can reach out to freelancers for help.
Step 4: Consider Where and How You Want to Sell the Book
Overall, it’s much easier to self-publish today because there are more platforms. Amazon has a program for self-published authors. With them, you can have your book be printed-on-demand, which means books are only created once they are ordered. But, if you self-publish through Amazon, you won’t be able to sell your book in other places. As an alternative, you could also choose to publish on your own website. But, in this case, you’ll need to find a printing company to create the book for you.
Step 5: Consider Your Budget
Self-publishing saves a lot of time and stress, but it isn’t free. The cost of hiring editors, graphic designers, and more adds up. And, if you’re choosing to pay to have the books printed yourself, the budget can get out of hand. So, before you get too far into the process, be sure you’ve planned your budget. You only want to spend what you have.
And, as you do all the hard work to write and then bring your book to the world, remember to take time to unwind and relax. Here are some tips on how to unplug.
Step 6: Launch Your Book Like You Would Any Business Product
After you have your book formatted and ready, you need to work on the marketing. This step is vital to your success as a self-published author. While there’s no one right way to market, you’re likely to succeed more if you consider your book launch as a professional would. Figure out how much money you have in your budget to do things like making social media ads. It’s also helpful to use analytics tools.
Also, be sure you have your social media pages all setup. You’ll want to post on them regularly and engage with your audience.
Final Notes on Self-Publishing
As you start this process, look online for communities of writers in the same situation. This is a great way to learn tips and tricks for people who have self-published already. Remember that self-publishing isn’t a one-size-fits-all model.
If you don’t sell as many books as you’d hoped, don’t give up. Many authors don’t see success until they’ve published more than one book, and this is true regardless of how their book got published.
Featured Image: Suzy Hazelwood; Pexels.com. Thank you!