24 Self-Publishing Tips
Book publishing has undergone a revolution in the last six years, and both the power and profit are in your hands! Over the years we've worked with many small publishers and self-publishers and have developed a list of book marketing tips that will get you results.
Often overlooked, it is vital to have a professional editor review your book. One of the biggest criticisms of self-published books is their lack of editing.
Pay for professional cover design
In this day of "do it yourself" many self-publishers do not consider the negative impact that a poorly designed cover may have on sales. Professional cover design will get you noticed as a legitimate player in the industry.
An Order Form at the back of your book, with payment and contact information to make it easy for buyers to purchase additional copies.
Join self-publishing organizations
You’ll find more information about distribution and wholesale services with organizations like Independent Book Publishers Association IBPA, Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network (SPAWN), or Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN).
Marketing Tips from an Expert
Pick up other tips for getting your book noticed from book marketing expert Penny Sansevieri at amarketingexpert.com.
Start a Blog
These free online sites allow you to post information about the subject matter of your book, yourself and/or upcoming events. One example is blogger.com.
Research Social Networking
Social media sites are free, popular and fairly easy to use in getting the word out about your book. Penny Sansevieri, a publicist with offices in San Diego and New York, has a great book called “Red Hot Internet Publicity,” a quick and easy guide on how to use these sites for self-publishing.
This free online site is a fast growing mecca of people around the world. Unlike a blog, your notices or blurbs are limited to smaller chunks of information. You can add a cover image of your book, links to your web site, or information about your topic.
What is Twitter? Think of it as news radio in real time, all the time in tiny, short bites of information only 140 characters long. Each time you post or “tweet” something it goes out into a cornucopia of information that people can access on their computers or cell phones. A well informed bio is important.
Develop a presence at the place for professionals to develop business contacts.
Have a logo designed for your publishing company. Place it on every piece of correspondence, your web page and on social networking sites to spread the word.
Create a Website
Obtain a domain name for your company, book title or your name. Have a website created that showcases information about your book, including excerpts, an image of your book cover and a way for book orders to be submitted back to you via the web. We recommend a company like American Author.com who can do the setup work for you or use GoDaddy.com to set up your own website.
Find a distributor/wholesaler
Companies such as Baker & Taylor, or Independent Publishers Group, will work with self-publishers in getting the word out about your book. They have national databases filled with titles that bookstores and libraries like to order from. However, there is a price in 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, until the sales of your book begin to grow.
When you think of online bookselling, Amazon is usually the first name that pops in your mind. Amazon offers a couple different programs for selling at their site. Amazon requires your book to have an ISBN and barcode. Additionally, you’ll need an email address, access to the Internet and a US bank account in order to process their annual fee.
In addition to your printed version, you might consider offering a Kindle ebook for sale. The price to make it is a one-time cost, and Amazon makes it easy to sell your Kindle version. Amazon only sells Kindle ebooks, they do not sell iPad or Nook. You can make an iPad version of your book, but submitting to the iBookstore is difficult without assistance from a third-party aggregator.
One or two reviews or cover blurbs are nice to have. It helps to develop a social media relationship with a successful author or specialist in your field, then ask them if they might endorse your book.
Approach locally owned bookstores
They usually require a 40-50% cut of the retail price. For a list of independent bookstores in your area or a specific zip code, go to Booksense.com.
Create an email announcement
A simple email letter with an image of your book can be an effective promotional tool to your friends and family. Encourage them to forward the notice to their friends about your book.
Write an Online article
The Internet is a great place to post information. You can reach hundreds of thousands of people by getting the word out about your book. You can submit your press release to places like prleap.com, pr.com or prweb.com, where it is possible your article may also be picked up by regular media.
Write a press release. This is usually a one-page article about you, your book or the subject matter. You’ll want to hook a reporter’s interest with a strong opening paragraph, and make them want to know more. To learn more, start at Paul Krupin’s site directcontactpr.com.
Have a professional designer create promotional pieces to assist in marketing such as bookmarks with your web address or phone number, business cards, posters, flyers or brochures.
Host an autograph party
Send out invitations and flyers in advance to advertise the release of your book.
Arrange speaking engagements
Offer to speak for free as an expert in your field and subject matter, and sell copies of your book afterward. This could be at a local library, community college or coffee house.
Check out the Writer’s Digest International Self-Publishing Book Awards, (Independent Publisher Book Awards) Ippy Awards or the Ben Franklin Awards sponsored by IBPA, The Independent Book Publisher’s Association.