There is one major difference between an author and a writer, and that difference is that one is published and one isn’t. Publishing used to be a very scary concept, and it wasn’t something that writers could count on. But in today’s widespread self-publish and indie market, publishing is fairly easy. The only thing is that there are many things you know to publish a successful novel, and I am here to help. Below are my crucial requirements for a self-published work to look and read official:
- Proper Editing
- Proper Cover
- Professional Formatting of Manuscript
- A Well Written Back Cover Blurb
- Established Author Website/Media Links
Luckily, I was first published by a small indie publisher and was able to learn these specifics, but when I self -published my second novel, the first edition was a disaster. I didn’t follow any of the proper rules that I have listed above, and it took me three times to put out a version of that novel that looks and feels professional. This is why I am here to help you, and guide you to make the first published novel of your dreams and to not fall in the trap that I did.
Now, let’s be realistic here. Professional editors are EXPENSIVE. Usually they charge by the word count, and many times those budgets are nowhere near the budget that a starving writer has on hand. That is why I am going to present to you the wonderful internet land called Upwork.com! This site has thousands upon thousands of freelancers available, and you can put in your budget to bring up freelancers whose pricing is best for you. Also, I am a freelancer on this site! I am available for editing, formatting, and constructive criticism of entire manuscripts, and I am even available for marketing assistance. Therefore, if you are interested in any of these services please check out Upwork.com or reach out to me! My Freelancer Profile
This is particularly crucial if you are looking to have your book included in a bookstore near you. Bookstore owners are very picky about editing, and if your novel isn’t fully edited they will usually not accept your book to be sold in their store.
PROPER BOOK COVER
I know, I know. Usually, book covers are insanely expensive, especially if you try to have one designed specifically for you. But you know what? Purchasing a cover doesn’t have to be expensive! That is why I have for you the beautiful site http://www.selfpubbookcovers.com/. One of the authors I have worked with before, Marie Silk, pointed this site out to me and I have since bought a few covers of my own. Most covers are $70 and are never sold again once you purchase them. They are all made by freelance graphic artists, and they have covers for just about every genre. I find that their covers are the most professional covers I have found, especially for the wonderful price, and your readers will love them as well. You are also able to edit the text on the covers over and over again for free if your title or name changes.
Formatting of a manuscript for print is EVERYTHING. It won’t take long for readers to distinguish a poorly formatted manuscript compared to a professional one, and this is one of the most important things that you need to understand. You can’t just submit your manuscript as is to a self – publishing website. You need to add such things as a title page, copyright page/ISBN page, acknowledgements page, dedication page, table of contents, proper spacing between chapters, appropriate spacing and font of the manuscript itself, an author bio, and any bonus content that you would like to add. The formatting of this entire manuscript can be daunting, but if you are too unsure about how to do it yourself you can again go to Upwork.com and look for those who can help you format your book! ( I am also a freelancer who can help you format your book, and I add extra artistic touches to make the reading experience that much better) You want your readers to have a pleasant reading experience, and the way you format your book will determine what their reading experience will be like.
A WELL WRITTEN BACK COVER BLURB
What is the first thing a reader looks at next to a book’s cover? THE BACK COVER BLURB. Therefore, it is crucial that your blurb is well written and highlights the best aspects of your novel, while not being too long. What you can do is ask your beta readers (if you have them) to tell you how they would summarize your novel. You can them use these summaries to compose the best back cover blurb. Or, if you are completely at a loss, you can again ask a freelancer at Upwork.com to help you out. (If you hire me as a freelancer for any of my other services, I will do a back cover blurb for free)
It is also helpful if you reference popular books that are related to your novel, such as “with excitement and terror reminiscent of The Hunger Games Series, _____________ is a must read!”
ESTABLISHED AUTHOR WEBSITE/MEDIA LINKS
In your book, it will be helpful for readers to know where to find you! Usually your media links will go next to your author bio on the back of your book, or in the beginning or end of your manuscript, and you will want to post links to your Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram account, Pinterest, Email, Website, Blog, etc. I highly suggest you set yourself up with a Twitter, Facebook and Instagram if nothing else NOW, because those are the best ways to gain publicity. (Instagram is currently the best way. The bookstagram community is huge and so accepting of all new authors and readers.)
I hope my tips have helped you, and please feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments! I am here to help and have you benefit from my own mistakes. Self-publishing shouldn’t be hard, and if you want to do it all you have to do is get working! There are so many resources out there, and if you check out Brain to Books (created by fellow author Angela B. Chrysler) she has listed multiple resources for new authors (under which I am listed!) Her philosophy is “writing is hard, publishing shouldn’t be” and I couldn’t agree more.
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