Agora Books Presents 18 Self-Publishing Tips for Authors
It is no secret that out of the nearly 1 million books published every year—be it through traditional or print on demand publisher—only a handful makes it in terms of meaningful readership and sales according to LDSPMA, a publishing and media association.
Agora Publishing—having been in the business for over 20 years plus and having interacted with many professionals in the publishing industry from editors, publicists to media houses—have carefully put together 18very important publishing tips for authors to ensure they separate themselves from the failure pack.
The following are the tips authors should carefully consider:
- Edit the manuscript Professionally---There is nothing that turns off book reviewers and media houses than a book full of typos. According to Milli Brown, CEO of Brown Books Publishing, “There is simply no substitute for professional editing. So every author needs to take this pill as it is. They must prepare to spend some money unless they get a Professional editor—not a pro-blogger or English teacher etc—who does it on pro-bono basis. Other professionals that have put in their weight behind this single most important step includes Audra Jennings, and Kitty Honey cutt; both well-known and book Publicists
- Consider Marketing Soon Rather Than Later---According to Tracey Daniels
a well-known Children’s Book Publicist, “To get the most bang for your marketing-and-publicity dollars, a professional book publicist needs to start working on the promotional campaign BEFORE publication date.” In other words the author needs to give the publicist enough time to strategize and schedule the publicity so that the marketing efforts achieve maximum impact. For example, they need to adhere to the media houses’ submission requirement—some of whom demand 3-4 month prior submission before they publish the author’s PR Article.
- Solicit for Feedback and Critique before publishing- A book is a reflection of the author’s thoughts and while the idea in their head is crystal clear, sometimes it turns out very vague when written. Joining a book review club or—if budget allows—a good professional critique will go along way in ensuring the book’s success. Professional critiques that sample the book before the final draft is released are like the final readers only that their reviews are unbiased and meant to save the author from future negative reviews.
- Get Post-Publishing Reviewers-Once the book is published, solicit for professional reviewers—your publicist plays a major role getting them.Professional book reviews are great for marketing as their word is taken seriously by book readers. Book review sites like Net Galley are great for getting that early buzz. They have thousands of media book reviewers and bloggers looking for new books to review. However timing is key. So submit your book 6 months before publication date to kick start the buzz.
- Spend enough time getting the perfect book title- The title of the book is the first thing readers come across when looking for a book to buy. So the title needs to be attention grabbing. Joe Vitale, a re-known book agent had this to say about book titles, “Titles are headlines. Almost spend more time on your title than on your book……You care about your book but nobody else does. Write a headline that MAKES them interested. Then back it up with a solid book that delivers.”
- Reading the manuscript aloud---This seems silly but it actually helps catch odd sentence structures and typos. There are text aloud programs that can help make the process easy and save you from speaking at a loud and tiring yourself.
- Professional designation- Putting out a professional product helps everyone in the marketing process, be it reviewers, publicists, media houses etc. So the cover, the content, the website, the product page, and social media sites etc need to be professionally presented,
- Price the book correctly-Consider pricing a non-fiction book at around $2.99. The aim of the game is to sell as many books as possible to realize the targeted revenues rather than sell a few books exorbitantly for the same. Remember, self-publishing is flooded with poorly prepared books and readers know this. So pricing it low calms their nerves because if the book is disappointing, then it’s not such a big loss anyway. However, the book must be good, because sooner rather than later, positive reviews will take over as the main driver of sales rather than price. According to Shalyn Sattler, director of Trade Marketing, “Authors’ Book specials sites need to informed about the sale so they list it online. A good google search can reveal these special sites; most of which are free.”She further states that “If budget allows it, sites like BookBub (www.bookbub.com)can result in a lot of exposure though they are pretty selective on the offers they take on.”
- Offer the book for free promotions- Consider offering the ebook version for free or for as low as $1. The reason is consumers are bombarded daily with too much disappointing products generally and if your book is unknown, it might be incorrectly cast in the doubtful heap. By charging low, the buyer is invited to give it a try as the loss, should it be disappointing, is very low than say pricing it at $25.
- Host a spectacular book launch-Invite as many people as you can to your book launch, and follow through with more marketing strategies right after. A good book launch is merely the launching pad to creating the momentum to the book’s success.
- Put on your marketing hat. Many writers believe the book will sell itself if it’s good enough. Actually that hardly happens. A good author must prepare a marketing strategy and run it till the end.
- Be an expert on your topic and sell your expertise-If you portray yourself as an expert in a certain field and write a book in that area ofexpertise, chances are very high that the book will have credibility. For example, a well-known nutritionist’s book on healthy eating seems more credible than a book on nutrition froma healthy regular person. So, if you are not yet recognized as an expert in your book’s chosen realm, then try and develop that.
- Tie your book content to current media-Selling a book is partly all about timing. For example a book about personal security after a famous star is assaulted can really sell. A book about surviving a ravaging disease in some region is bound to have good sales in that region. In other words current events can help a book sell if the author times it perfectly.
- Prepare regular press releases- This puts the author right in the front view of the media. The trick is to maintain that view but keeping things relevant. Meaning don’t just send the same press release copy over and over again but write different ones about different newsworthy events about the book.
- Have social media running before publishing-Social media is the cheapest and most effective marketing strategy currently. It has a very wide reach, relative to cost. However, it takes time to have a healthy social media following. So, building it up while writing the book is better than waiting till the book is ready then scrambling together a social media presence.
- Own your name on social media-The chosen social media handle and domain name must match and be relevant to either your persona or book. It helps the reader remember you and also helps them connect all your accounts to your book or work.
- Automate your social media-Social media is only as effective as it’s updated. Yet keeping these accounts is no easy feat. However, there is help in the form of tools like “Buffer” and “Quuu.”Once set up they can send regular but relevant content to followers. If you want to retain your followers and get new ones, this is the way to go. Manual methods will soon tire you out.
- Don’t give up---- Keep going at it and remember the words of Richard Bach who once said “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”