Got a book in you? Well make this New Year the one where you see it published. York writer Helen Stothard is a successful self-publisher, and here’s her step-by-step guide
1. Don’t assume it has to be expensive
There is a plethora of chargeable online and downloadable tools available to enable you to self-publish, but in reality all you need is available for free – the Microsoft Word program bundled on your computer and a good PDF printer that allows you to specify page size and resolution (such as DoPDF7). The best format for Kindle is a word .doc file and for Createspace print you need a high resolution PDF.
2. Invest in a good cover design
You should ensure your book cover looks professional but using a designer from a site like Fiverr can give you a very professional result for just a few dollars, and you can purchase print resolution images for the artwork for just a few pounds from a site like Fotolia. Signing up for both Kindle and Createspace publishing is free.
3. Don’t believe in false promises from publishers
No one can guarantee that your book will sell. Make sure you are clear about what is and isn’t included in the price you are paying and ensure you see a final draft before it’s published. Shop around for pricing to ensure you are getting a fair and competitive service. You also shouldn’t get drawn into any agreement where you have to purchase a set number of books. Createspace allow you to order your own author copies, in single copies if you wish, or in bulk.
4. Proof read, proof read and proof read again
Before you press the button to publish your book or authorise someone else to do it on your behalf make sure you have really proof read your work. The format of your book is just as important as the content; there is nothing worse for a reader, no matter how good the content is, if the formatting is riddled with errors. The reader is likely to stop reading and leave you a very negative review. If you’re using someone else to help you publish, check if the proof reading is included in the price; even if it is you should still do a final once-over yourself.
5. Market your book
This isn’t down to anyone else to do for you, and you are the best person to market your book. Make sure that you have links to your book on your website, in your email signature and share the links on all your social media. Perhaps offer a copy to your local paper as a competition prize. If people don’t know your book is out there how will they know that they can buy it? One way of making sure people know your book is available is to send review copies out to suitable blog sites, newspapers and magazines. Follow up anyone you know has purchased your book and ask them to leave you a review on Amazon.
6. Make your book available in as many formats as possible
Through Createspace and Kindle you can now self-publish your book so that it automatically appears for sale on Amazon, but you can also use other services such as Smashwords to ensure your book reaches an even wider audience. People may not want a Kindle or print copy but would prefer a PDF, Kobo or other eReader format. If your book isn’t available in multiple formats you may be disappointing your potential buyers.
Helen, of York-based HLS Publishing Solutions, has written and self-published 30 Day Publish Your Book On Kindle Challenge and Publish Your Book On Amazon: The Easy Way To Get In Print, both of which are available on Amazon, iBookstore, Barnes and Noble and Kobo amongst others