There's many of you out there writing a book, planning to write a book, or already have one finished. And I know some of you don't know what you should do next. If you're torn between self-publishing or traditional publishing, I can't help you there. There's pros and cons to both. You'll have to figure out which works best for you. All I will say on the difference is, I've spoken to many authors who have gone down both avenues and they always say the same thing. "There's more money to be made in self-publishing but traditional can help with exposure."
But that's not the point of today's post. Today, I thought I would give you a little advice on how to self-publish. Remember, these are the things that I do. That doesn't mean these are the only options or even the best options. These are the things I've found helpful and my little tips and tricks. So, if you're one of my friends/followers looking to self-publish a book, hopefully this list will help you get started.
1. Make a website
Of all the things on my list, this is the one you should do first. You need a central hub for fans and followers to seek you out. If you're worried that you don't have anything to offer yet then do what I did when I first started. Use it to showcase short stories. You at least want a site with a bio for yourself and a blog attached to it. That's important. Have a blog! You can use this to share short stories with people or even info about the book you're writing. Personally, I prefer Weebly for my website hosting. I've used other sites and Weebly has been my favorite. Best part is, a blog comes attached to the site. You don't have to install plug-ins for third party. It's all managed under one roof. And that's useful. Oh, and one final thing. Make sure your website is clean. Messy sites with poor navigation are awful. I've seen big name authors with terrible sites. I don't want to boast too much but I've received many, many compliments on my website (which makes me incredibly happy because I'm always working on it to make it better) so use mine as a template if you want to.
2. Social media profiles
The idea of having a Twitter or an Instagram might make you cringe. Maybe you barely like using Facebook. Trust me, I get it. Managing a social media account almost feels like a part time job. But that's technically what it is. My advice is to stick with it and just have fun. Don't worry about selling books through any of these sites. Sales from social media are rare. Instead, it's a place to connect with readers and other writers. You can share articles related to your writing or just books in general. Or share funny memes about the writing process. Be creative and have fun. Don't stress over it too much. Personally, I like Instagram the best. It seems to have the best writing community and figuring out creative images to post is fun. But you may like Facebook or Twitter more. It's up to you.
This is another you will really want to have. It's as important as a website. Think of the whole process like this: Social media is where you meet with potential readers. You send them to your website to hang out and get to know you better. Your newsletter is where you sell to your fan base. People who sign up for your newsletter are interested in your writing or your genre. Which means they are more likely to read your books. And shoot for monthly. It might seem exhausting to send out an email once a month but it's important to stay relevant. Your subscribers might not only be subscribed to you so you want to give them a reason to keep following. Try giving out free stories or chapters of the books you're working on. Anything to keep them interested. My recommendation for newsletter hosting site would be MailChimp. Once you hit 1500 subscribers, it gets a little pricey per month. But up until then, it's free. It'll take you some time to get there.
4. Publishing Platforms
Here's where we get into opinions. Sort of. First, you're going to want to use Kindle Direct Publishing to get your book on Amazon Kindle. That one's a must. And trust me, you'll want to go straight through KDP to publish. With KDP, you can do promotions and even make your ebook available on Kindle Unlimited so users can download your book for free. Why is free a good thing? Exposure. You won't make money but more people will take a chance on your book. However, there's one major caveat to Kindle Unlimited. In order to list your book in KU for free, you can't publish your book anywhere else. I, for on, like to have my books available on all e-readers so I don't partake in this feature. Although, you may want to experiment with using KU for the first month or so. Especially for your first book. It's up to you. As for publishing to other e-platforms I can't recommend Draft2Digital enough. Their service is excellent AND a time saver. They have services that will format your book for you and give you the formatting and download for the paperback version. Plus, you can add neat little features to the interior of your books like automated end matter and other things. It's an amazing service. However, using D2D and KDP means you're tracking sales in 2 different sites. But the reports make it simple to view.
5. Book Covers
It may be tempting to make your own covers but you really shouldn't. Even if you're proficient in Photoshop, it's a good idea to leave that to professionals. But a custom cover can set you back a lot of money you don't have. So, what's the alternative? There's something out there called pre-made covers. Artists make high quality book covers using stock art for one of a kind covers. And once you buy the cover, no one else can use it. However, this does mean that there may be book covers out there that could resemble yours or even have some of the same stock art. But more than likely yours will be completely unique. Personally, I use a site called GoOnWrite and I love it. The covers are excellent and I've yet to be disappointed. My cover for Echoes of the Past was obtained from this site and I'm always getting feedback on how nice it looks.
Those are some of the main points I wanted to make when it comes to self-publishing. There's so much that goes into writing and publishing. I could write a whole blog series about it. If you want to ask questions about the process or my process, feel free. I'm always open to questions. And maybe I'll do a part 2 in the future, if people care enough. Thanks for reading!
To cover up his search history, Evan Bond is a thriller/suspense author. As an outdoor enthusiast and horror lover, Evan Bond enjoys writing stories where the two come together. He lives in Florida with his wife and two sons.