Successful Self-Publishing: The No Fuss Guide to Selling Your Ebook
Getting published is a traditionally difficult thing to achieve, and with increasingly high publishing costs, it can sometimes seem like a pointless task. However, as we’ve seen over the past twenty years self-publishing is no longer the underdog it once was. Online sales now account for a staggering 20% of publishing markets in the US and are flexible enough to yield a great deal more profit for authors themselves.
Online publishing is enormously competitive. In order to get your work noticed you cannot always rely on dedicated marketing teams and publisher resources, so it’s a good idea to start thinking of your work with a business mindset.
“There’s a lot of joy in writing for yourself. It offers an untold amount of freedom and keeps us imaginative and verbose,” writes Stephen Moss, content manager at Writemyx and Australia2write, “But when you’re considering being published, it’s important to remember that you should approach your writing with an audience in mind.”
After all, writing for publication isn’t only about making a profit, but reaching out to people who may face the same issues or enjoy the same ideas as you do. So it’s wise to take stock of the niche your writing fills and expand upon it. Writing a book, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, should fulfill a need in the reader, not merely serve as a passing interest.
Think hard about the idea itself. You should map it out, chapter by chapter before doing the heavy lifting. Some writers believe that structuring can take away the artistry of writing. However, writing ‘up a blind alley’ and having to redraft can be draining to an author, and recurring blind alleys can be very demoralizing.
A simple process to find out whether your idea has an audience is to write something short, either an article or a chapter on the same subject or idea. Many self-publishers will offer these free excerpts to get an idea of how far their ebook will reach, and you can ask for valuable feedback before setting out to write the whole thing.
The Writing Process
In self-publishing, there are no time constraints on how long you need to complete your book. While it’s nice to have the autonomy to take as long as you need to get it right, it opens up the danger of procrastinating and the potential of never actually finishing it.
So once you’ve set an outline, take inspiration from traditional publishers and set a timeline up until completion. Set yourself milestones and rewards, but most importantly: get it finished.
“A first draft doesn’t have to be perfect,” writes Michelle Richards, publishing specialist at Brit Student and Next Coursework, ”But it does have to get finished.”
Once the book is finished…
In self-publishing, in order to reap the benefits, you have to accept that you are responsible for getting it out there. In times gone by this was a monumental task for self-published authors. With the advent of social and digital marketing, however, it need not be the laborious task it once was.
Ensure that your layout is attractive and easily readable, using illustrations if necessary, and publish on a platform that will reach the largest audience. Spend some dedicated time announcing your book on social media, with backlinks and summaries of the work. Importantly, think about how you will price the book. If it’s your first and you plan to write more, it might be wise to start low, but remember also that if you price your book too low you run the risk of devaluing your brand.