Before you do anything further - STOP! Grab a cuppa and think. Is self-publishing the right way to go for you? And do you have the capacity to take on publishing your own work?
If the answers to these are - yes, then great - read on. Hopefully this article will be of some help to you.
Below are four of my eight key points to help guide you and make your self-publishing journey easier.
When I say 'Plan' I don't just mean the content, but treat the book like an all encombassing project entirely. Below is a list of things that you would need to think about planning for when undertaking a new 'project' :
- Approach & Tactics
- Materials/Equipment/Software Needed
- Sales - how to pitch and where to sell.
By doing this all before the project has even started will make your life undoubtedly easier. Don't miss this step out otherwise it will become harder and harder to plan further done the line!
Things that I never even considered important previously have now become paramount in getting myself and my work legitimised and legal.
The following pieces of admin will need to be monitored and conducted every time a piece of work is produced or a project is worked on:
- ISBN allocation and notification to Neilsen bookdata.
- Send a copy of the book to the British Library. Note: All books containing an ISBN needs to send a copy to the British Library in order to preserve the material for the use of future generations and to make it available for readers within the designated legal deposit libraries.
- Record all income and expenditure, as you will need to fill in a tax-return - I would advise setting up a business banking account to keep business away from pleasure.
- In light of this keep all receipts and file away - they may become useful in the future when there's a query regarding finances.
- Set-up publishing of books and ebooks through Amazon's KDP self-publishing system.
- Set-up and monitor an Author dashboard on Goodreads to communicate with readers of your books.
- Monitor and engage regularly with colleagues and like-minded individuals on all relevant social networks.
- Obtain regular data on marketing performance across all platforms, including: website, social networks, Google/SEO, book sales, etc.
You'll be surprised at how much time this actually takes. That's where the planning is so important - plan when all this needs to be done, so that you leave yourself with plenty of time to write!
What you need to do is focus and plan thoroughly which individuals and organisations would be most relevant to your book/project. This might be worth looking into the following areas:
- Press - look into not only the main focal point of the subject area of your work but also any other publications or sections within publications that may show an interest. For instance, if I was writing a poetry book about sport I would contact literary journalists as well as sports journalists.
- Charities - within most literary projects there are potential charitable organisations that would love to support and assist you with your work, but you must research this first. Neither you or the charity can afford to get this wrong!
- Companies - if you can get the support of a company or well established brand - then why not. Nationwide have recently taken the plunge and invested in poetry as a mechanism to market their brand to the general public. Not only is this helping them 'stand out from the crowd' it has also boosted the profile of the poets filmed within the adverts - it's a good partnership all round.
Please remember that the key for garnering support for your project is to plan, plan, plan! The more research you do before you publish - the more your project/writing will be seen by a highly relevant audience.
4. Template, Template, Template...
Some useful idea's around what items to template are as follows:
- Book - template a word document. That way you all you have to do is open it up and start typing away on your next project.
- Flyer/Poster - this is one may vary, as each of your books will have their own unique identity, but actually when you look at it more deeply, it makes complete sense. Just by being able to change a couple of fonts, colours and images you can create a consistent approach/feel to your marketing assets.
- Supporting documents - things like press-releases, letters/emails to journalists, letters of support, etc. will all be needed at some point throughout the publishing process, so why not have these already prepped for you to populate.
- Digital assets - in this day and age digital communications has become probably the centre-point for putting yourself and your products out there. By creating templates of your digital communications you will be able to whip something together in no-time.
All these templates will enable you to efficiently publish your projects and to communicate your work to the outside world quickly and effortlessly.