Today I wanted to discuss with you some important aspects that must be included in your novel when self-publishing. Many times, those who self-publish don’t have an editor or guide who can help them with important elements of the publishing experience, and that can hinder their success.
Being a self-published author and a reviewer myself, I am on both sides of the coin. Through my reviewing I have come to learn what is necessary in a self-published novel, and what can turn off a reviewer from the start. Many reviewers won’t finish a novel if any of the following are problems in a novel, and you want to make sure that your novel makes a positive impact.
First Off, Editing – The Ultimate Necessity
Now, this is always a given. If a person’s novel has multiple errors grammar-wise, many reviewers, and readers, will be turned off. Even if the author is very smart and a good writer, a lack of editing can make the author come off as uneducated and can take away from the enjoyment of the story. Make sure that you find an editor, or beta readers, before publishing so that you have multiple eyes on your novel. Over time your mind can fill in errors for you when you are editing your own novel, and you need multiple sets of eyes. Freelance editors can also be found to hire at a cheaper price, and this will help you cost-wise.
Second, Formatting is Key
I often review novels that have no been properly formatted by the author, and this can impede the reading process by making me doubt the professionalism of the author. Each novel should have a title page, copyright page, proper page numbers, proper chapter headings, and it should read like a novel instead of Word document. Self-publishing does not mean you can just submit your story file for publication, you need to make sure that you have a professionally formatted document before publishing. There are professional formatting services that you can use through Createspace or other self-publishing houses, or you can pick up a book of your own and mimic the formatting into your own novel. This is a great way to understand how books are laid out, and to make sure that your novel reads professionally.
Third, Dump the Filler
The more self-published novels I read and review, the more filler I see, and the more story I skip due to that filler. Filler can mean a number of things. Filler can be over the top narration, too much dialogue, and worst of all, too much description. One of the worst things an author can do is over describe their novel. Doing so is not only a violation of the reader’s intelligence, but it shows that the author doesn’t want the reader to experience the story in their own way. Instead, the author wants to reader to see exactly what they see, and this can severely hinder the success of a novel. When I read books with too much filler I end up skipping over multiple areas of the novel, and that is not something that you want your reader to do. Aim to have your reader savor every word of your novel and not dread reading another word of it.
Fourth, A Cover That Pops
Okay, so we have all heard the phrase: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” However, the truth of the matter is that readers DO judge the cover of a book before reading it, and you need to make sure that your cover correlates with your story and will influence your reader to like the story before they have even started it. The best place to find an affordable, professional cover is through Self Pub Covers, and your readers will surely thank you. The best thing about this website is that it also will not resell your cover once you purchase it, making your cover one of a kind. I am someone who does tend to judge a cover before reading a book, and the more shelf appeal your cover has, the more successful it will be.
Last, Back Cover Blurb
Next to your cover, the back cover blurb is what a reader will turn to next. This means that you need a back cover blurb that is catchy and will make the reader want to read more. A great way to ensure that your back cover blurb will help your novel take off is to start of the blurb with a quote. If you have this quote in a larger text than the rest of the blurb, it will catch the reader’s eye first and will guide them into reading more. Your cover blurb needs to be short, but it also needs to sum up your novel without giving too much away. Ask your friends for help if you can’t seem to write a blurb that you feel is adequate, and your beta readers will surely be able to help you with this as well. USE YOUR BETA READERS.
I hope that these tips help you to finalize your novel before publishing, and that you are now aware of what reviewers look at first when considering a novel. The more that you master all of these elements, the more successful you will be!
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