Whether you’re about to dip your toe into the self-publishing waters, or are an experienced writer, you’ll probably know that there are no quick fixes when it comes to self-publishing, or anything else in life that’s worthwhile, if we’re honest.
You won’t find a ‘silver bullet’ solution here, but you will find some sound advice on how to succeed as a self-published author.
Here are some of the cold, hard truths about self-publishing.
- You just have to write. Sit down and write.
Sometimes when I’m scheduled to write a blogpost, I do the procrastination thing too. I make a cup of tea, check Instagram, send a text or make a phone-call. Anything to delay just sitting down and getting on with it! Yes, I know it’s hard, but the only way to complete your book is to keep writing! And the only way to build your career is to write more books! So if you’re a procrastinator too, try to change your mindset about your writing.
There are some top tips in another blogpost here:
2. Sometimes you just have to go for it, even if you’re not ready.
There’s a saying in the world of business: “ready, fire, aim”. This means that sometimes, you can’t be ready. You just have to go for it, and see how things work out.
Some authors take years, editing and re-editing, tweaking their cover design, investigating every publishing platform out there. Sometimes too much knowledge is a dangerous thing. It leads to analysis paralysis. You have so many different options, you don’t know which one to take. You’re afraid of making the wrong choice.
Our advice would be to set yourself a deadline to launch, and your book just has to be good ‘enough’ by that deadline.
Now, we don’t mean publish your book if it’s only half written. And we always advise that a properly proof read and edited manuscript, and professional looking book cover will give your book the best chance of selling.
But be a realist, not a perfectionist. At some point, you have to push your book out there.
3. You will need to make friends with your planner/calendar.
Launching a book requires some planning. It’s not difficult, but you need to be organised.
Have a dedicated diary/wall planner/calendar for your writing activities, and write everything down.
Work backwards from launch dates, event dates, deadlines etc to give yourself enough notice to complete the required tasks. This will help you keep on top of things and remain in control.
4. Prepare to put your researcher’s hat on..
Be prepared to research, research, research when you pursue a career in writing.
It starts with your actual writing – developing characters, your book’s setting, the accuracy of any historical references or geographical locations, and so on. The more research you do, the more credible your writing will be.
Then you’ll need to research your potential publishing platforms, editing services, book cover designers and all the ‘technical’ elements to getting your book actually published.
Thirdly, you’ll then need to research ideas for marketing and promoting your book.
5. When you self-publish, nothing is set in stone.
This is the good news. You can easily change things!
Whether it’s tweaking the price or category your book appears in, reading through the reviews and improving on the actual story, or trying to market to a different audience if your book isn’t selling as you’d hoped, all these options and more are yours to try.
6. The first book is the hardest hurdle.
The second piece of good news – when you self-publish, the first book is the hardest. This is when you’ll have the steepest learning curve. Once you’ve published your first book, the second and third (and fourth, fifth, sixth…..) will be a breeze in comparison!
So what are you waiting for?!
What cold, hard truths have you discovered that you can add to our list? Please comment below to share your experience with other authors.
We’re Peter and Caroline O’Connor. Creating beautiful book cover designs for authors all over the world is our passion. Every author should be able to benefit from a beautiful book cover design (not just the lucky few who get signed by a big publisher). We design, podcast, and coach authors full-time so we understand your struggles. Currently accepting new clients.