4 Important Rules for Self-Publishing Your Book
Someone told me you were writing a book, and I think that’s great! So many people have big plans to write books, but somewhere along the way everything seems to fall apart. I don’t want that to happen to you, so hopefully you’ll take these pieces of (unsolicited) advice from me to plan.
Remember the “SELF” in self-publishing.
Don’t be that person out here berating customer service reps of notable, FREE self-publishing platforms because they won’t “fix” your files for you. Take time to read and utilize the free resources housed on self-publishing websites that will walk you through best practices for formatting a book, and don’t hesitate to invest in the appropriate formatting help if you find that you’re still not able to get things squared away on your own.
You worked hard on this book, and now it’s time for it all to pay off. That means DON’T FORGET YOUR MARKETING! How you gonna sell thousands of copies if nobody knows you’re there, beloved? Authors go on book tours for a reason, so it’s worth it to think about your intended audience and whether or not you need to enlist professional marketing and promotional help to boost your profit margins.
Pay for editing.
Sure, you can have your sibling, cousins, and former school teacher granny read through it, but once they’re finished you should go ahead and send your manuscript to a professional editor based on your needs. BUT…it’s important to remember that all editors are not built the same. What do I mean?
Line editors address content flow and organization.
Copyeditors hone in on grammar and usage.
The copy edit always comes last, right before the manuscript is shipped off to be formatted and printed. You never want to do this step first, because what’s the point of editing grammar for content that might end up being scrapped because it doesn’t flow correctly in the first place? That sounds like a waste of money to me, and I’m all about maximizing my coins.
Set deadlines at least 6 months before your desired publishing date .
Some people keep their eyes on a specific date for sentimental reasons, while others are looking to make the most of their marketing opportunities. Regardless of why you’ve chosen your deadlines, you should set them and KEEP THEM. A good rule of thumb if you’re a date-oriented author is to set a final draft deadline six months before your preferred publication date. This timeline can be shortened significantly for ebooks, since they're typically much shorter in length than traditional books. Once you’ve reached the deadline and have your final draft in hand, you’ll be ready to turn it over to an editor (see #2). That extra time cushion will give you time to make any suggested edits before sending the cleaned-up version off to production. Less mess = less stress, ya’ll!
Understand that your lack of preparation doesn’t create an emergency for others.
If you somehow manage to blow past your deadlines, skip editing, and completely overlook the fact that you’re the captain of this ship, understand that this will not give you license to rush a service provider to expedite turnaround times they’ve quoted you. After all, they aren’t the reason you missed those deadlines! You get what you pay for, and hurried work will not do your words justice.
NOW, get out there, have fun, and WRITE for your LIFE!