The world of book publishing has seen a significant transformation over the last decade, with self-publishing emerging as a powerful and profitable avenue for authors. We've compiled a list of 30 essential self-publishing and book publishing tips to help you navigate this exciting landscape.
One of the biggest criticisms of self-published books is their lack of editing. Therefore, one of the most vital book publishing tips we can offer is to understand the different types of editing services available:
Copy Editing: This is the simplest level of editing, focusing on punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, spelling, and typographical errors.
Line Editing: Line editing focuses on the creative content within your writing, exploring word choice, paragraph structure, narrative flow, language style, and readability.
Developmental Editing: This type of editing hones the storytelling aspect of your work, providing feedback on plot, character, theme, and symbolism for fiction or chapter organization and clarity for non-fiction.
Research Editing: Especially helpful for non-fiction and historical fiction works, a research editor checks for inaccuracies or inconsistencies in your writing and ensures credible sources back your content.
In the self-publishing era, investing in professional cover design is essential. While it may be tempting to DIY it, a well-designed cover can significantly impact your book's sales by making it stand out in online marketplaces. Check out our custom cover design portfolio!
Whether you are printing your book or selling digital versions online, it is vital that your book is formatted appropriately. We recommend investing in book formatting services to ensure your book is as professional as those published by traditional publishing houses. While you can certainly figure it out independently, the process is complicated, tedious, and time-consuming. Therefore, hiring an expert for this stage is always worthwhile.
Extra copies mean extra profit. One of the most effortless book publishing tips to perform is to include a short form at the back of the book or a few lines on the copyright page with payment and contact information. This makes it easy for readers to purchase additional copies of your book. We also recommend including a “sneak peek” page at the back of your book to tease other books you’ve already published!
Self-publishing is an art that has been around for centuries, so there is no need to start from scratch. You can benefit from the collective wisdom of fellow publishers who’ve already done what you’re doing now. Organizations like the Independent Book Publishers Association or The Association of Publishers for Special Sales offer valuable resources and information about distribution and wholesale services.
In today's digital age, marketing your book effectively is crucial for its success. It would be best to begin marketing your book before it is even published. We suggest learning from book marketing experts and applying proven strategies to get your book noticed. The following book publishing tips (tips #6 - #23) are great strategies to get started.
One of the key aspects of being an author is recognition. However, many readers are not exceptional at remembering an author’s name. Therefore, we suggest designing a logo for visual recognition of your brand. We recommend developing a logo for yourself and using it on all correspondence, your webpage, and social networking sites to spread the word about your book.
Social media platforms are powerful free tools for promoting your book and building a community around your work. You can share engaging content, interact with your followers, and respond to comments to build strong relationships. Just remember, each platform has its unique features and audience, so it's important to choose the ones that align with your target readership.
Facebook: Facebook is a versatile platform that allows you to create a dedicated page for your book, where you can share updates, host events, and interact with your readers. You can also join relevant groups to connect with other authors and readers. Facebook's advertising platform also allows you to target specific demographics, making it easier to reach your ideal readers.
Pinterest: Pinterest is a visual platform that's great for sharing images related to your book, such as cover designs, character inspirations, and mood boards. If your book involves many visual elements or you're writing in genres like cooking, DIY, or home decor, Pinterest can be an excellent platform for engaging your audience.
Instagram: Instagram is a highly visual platform that's perfect for sharing eye-catching images of your book, behind-the-scenes photos, and even short videos or reels. You can also use Instagram Stories to share updates or host Q&As. Instagram is particularly popular with younger readers, making it a great platform if your book targets a younger demographic.
TikTok: TikTok is a platform for short, creative videos. Authors can use TikTok to share short readings, behind-the-scenes looks at the writing process, or creative promotional videos. The platform's algorithm also allows content to go viral, even for new users. TikTok is especially popular with Gen Z, so it's a great platform if your book appeals to this age group.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, making it ideal for non-fiction authors, especially those writing in the business, self-help, or professional development genres. You can share articles related to your book's topic, network with other professionals in your field, and even find speaking or collaboration opportunities. LinkedIn's audience is more professionally oriented, making it an excellent platform for thought leadership and professional branding.
A website acts as your online hub, where readers can learn about your book, read excerpts, and directly purchase copies. It's also a platform to share updates, blog posts, and author events. A well-designed, user-friendly website can significantly enhance your professional image, increase your online visibility, and provide a seamless shopping experience for your readers.
You can make it easy by utilizing Gorham’s online store. When you print your book with Gorham Printing, you'll have the opportunity to list your book. Each book gets its own webpage called a Booksite. Booksite pairs with your PayPal Business Account to create a customizable storefront where customers can purchase your book. Alternatively, if you want a private website designed precisely to your specifications, we suggest using American Author – a website design company specifically for authors.
Creating a blog is an excellent way to connect with your readers and establish yourself as an authority in your book's subject matter. Regularly post content that is relevant and valuable to your readers. This could be behind-the-scenes insights into your writing process, character development, or the research behind your book. You can also share updates about upcoming events or new book releases. Engage with your readers by responding to comments and encouraging discussions. A well-maintained blog can significantly boost your online presence and help build a loyal reader base.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a powerful tool for increasing online visibility. By optimizing your website and content with relevant keywords, you can improve your ranking on search engine results pages, making it easier for potential readers to find your book. This includes optimizing your website's metadata, using relevant keywords in your blog posts, and creating SEO-friendly book descriptions. Additionally, consider creating content that answers common questions about your book's topic, as this can attract organic search traffic.
Speaking of writing, the Internet is a great place to post information about your book. You can reach hundreds of thousands of people by getting the word out about your book through guest posting and content marketing. Consider submitting your articles to popular blogs, online magazines, or websites in your genre.
Local and national newspapers can be a valuable platform for promoting your book. Start by writing a compelling press release highlighting your book's unique aspects and why it would interest their readers. Make sure to include essential information like the book title, author name, publication date, and where it can be purchased. If your book is about a topical issue or has a local angle, make sure to highlight this. Once your press release is ready, research the appropriate contact at the newspaper - this could be a book editor, features editor, or reporter who covers your book's topic. Send them your press release along with a personalized pitch. Following up after a few days can also increase your chances of getting coverage. To learn more, start at Paul Krupin's site, blog.directcontactpr.com.
A simple email letter with an image of your book can be an effective promotional tool. However, to release news about your book, you must first build an email list and create rapport with your audience. We suggest starting a newsletter as soon as you decide to write a book. Encourage your friends and family to forward the notice to their friends about your book and share your newsletter with fellow writers, potential readers, and anyone else in your writing circle. Once you have a newsletter, you can send regular updates about your book!
A book trailer is a short video that gives potential readers a glimpse into your book's content, similar to a movie trailer. It's a creative and engaging way to generate excitement and interest in your book. You can share your book trailer on your website, social media platforms, and email newsletters. Consider hiring a professional or using video editing software to create a high-quality trailer that captures the essence of your book.
Have a professional designer create promotional pieces such as bookmarks with your web address or phone number, business cards, posters, flyers, or brochures. You can then use this merch anytime an opportunity presents itself to connect with a potential reader, a location to sell your book, an endorsement, or anyone else who can help you further your book.
Endorsements, or blurbs, from established authors or experts in your field, can significantly boost your book's credibility and appeal. Start by identifying potential endorsers relevant to your book's genre or subject matter. This could be a successful author you admire, an expert in your field, or even a popular blogger or influencer. Reach out to them with a polite, personalized request, offering a free copy of your book for their consideration. Be sure to explain why you believe they would be a good fit to endorse your book and how their endorsement could benefit their own audience. Remember, endorsements are a two-way street, so be prepared to offer something in return, such as promoting their work to your audience.
A book launch is a fantastic way to celebrate the release of your book, generate buzz, and kick-start sales. You can host a physical event at a local bookstore, library, or even a unique venue that ties into your book's theme. Alternatively, consider hosting a virtual book launch on a platform like Zoom or Facebook Live, which allows people worldwide to attend.
Speaking engagements are a great way to promote your book and establish yourself as an authority in your field. Offer to speak at local libraries, book clubs, schools, or industry events. You can also host webinars or participate in online panels. Tailor your talk to your audience, and make sure to weave in references to your book. Always have copies of your book on hand for sale after the event. Speaking engagements not only help sell books but also build your reputation as an expert.
Participating in book awards and competitions can provide valuable exposure to your book and recognition for your work. Winning or being shortlisted can be used in your marketing materials to attract potential readers and boost credibility. Consider entering reputable competitions such as the Writer's Digest International Self-Publishing Book Awards, the Independent Publisher Book Awards (Ippy Awards), or the Ben Franklin Awards sponsored by The Independent Book Publisher's Association (IBPA). While there's often an entry fee, the potential benefits of visibility and credibility can make it a worthwhile investment.
Podcasting is a powerful medium to reach a wider audience. Consider starting your own podcast related to your book's theme or appearing as a guest on existing podcasts. This can help you connect with potential readers, share insights about your book, and establish yourself as an authority in your field.
If your book is informational or instructional, consider creating an online course based on its content. This not only provides additional value to your readers but also opens up a new revenue stream. Online courses can be hosted on platforms like Udemy, Coursera, or your own website. They can deepen your readers' understanding of your book's topic and provide an interactive way for your audience to engage with your content.
Crowdfunding can be a viable option to fund the publication of your book. Platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo allow you to raise funds from a community of backers in exchange for rewards, such as a copy of the book or a mention in the acknowledgments. This not only helps cover the costs of publishing but also helps gauge interest and build a community around your book before it's even published. We especially love this option for niche genres like family history books.
Writing groups provide a supportive community where you can share your work, receive constructive feedback, and learn from other writers. They can be a source of motivation, inspiration, and accountability, helping you stay on track with your writing goals. Whether you join an existing group or start your own, the collaborative environment can enrich your writing process and enhance your skills.
Companies like Baker & Taylor or Independent Publishers Group can help get the word out about your book. They have national databases filled with titles that bookstores and libraries like to order from. However, it is vital to keep in mind that there is a price for using their services. Most expect 55% of the retail price of the book. (15% for them/40% for the bookstore is the general rule.) Typically, you will not use a distributor if you're only printing a few hundred books, at least until the sales of your book begin to grow.
Digital bookstores like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple Books are significant players in the book market, making them essential platforms for self-publishers. Of course, there are smaller online bookstores that can offer a variety of opportunities to increase your sales as well. All of these platforms make it easy to self-publish your book, and their global reach can help you connect with readers all over the world. Additionally, they provide useful book publishing tips and tools for authors, such as running promotional campaigns or using targeted ads to reach a wider audience.
Independent bookstores can be an excellent platform for selling your book and connecting with local readers. These bookstores often support local authors and can host book launches, signings, or author events. However, they usually require a 40-50% cut of the retail price. To find independent bookstores in your area or a specific zip code, visit Booksense.com. Building relationships with local bookstore owners can lead to ongoing sales opportunities and increased local visibility for your book.
The popularity of audiobooks is on the rise, offering a new avenue for reaching readers as a self-publisher. Creating an audiobook version of your work can tap into this growing market, making your book accessible to those who prefer listening over reading. Depending on the genre of your book, this can significantly broaden your audience and increase your book sales.
Book reviews can significantly boost your book's visibility and credibility. One of the best book publishing tips you can follow is encouraging readers to leave reviews on platforms like Amazon and Goodreads. You can also contact book bloggers, influencers, or professional review services. Positive reviews can influence potential readers and increase your book sales. Remember to thank your reviewers and respond to reviews when appropriate, as this can foster a sense of community and engagement around your book.
Networking is a valuable tool for any self-publishing author. Connect with other authors and industry professionals to learn from their experiences, gain exposure for your book, and potentially open up collaboration opportunities. Attend writer's conferences, join author groups on social media, or participate in online forums. These connections can provide valuable insights, support, and opportunities to promote your book. Remember, networking is about building mutually beneficial relationships, so be sure to offer support and value to others.
The world of self-publishing is constantly evolving. Our last, and one of the most valuable, book publishing tips we recommend is making an effort to stay updated with the latest trends and best practices in self-publishing to ensure your success in this field. You never know when something new and exciting will pop up to improve your sales further.
Remember, the journey of self-publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time understanding each step, and don't hesitate to seek help when needed. Happy publishing!