Are you thinking of publishing a book?
Great! But do you have a plan to succeed?
Too many new authors fall for the trap of having no plan.
You write your book, edit it, create a quick book cover, and then rush off to Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).
Self-publishing is (too) fast
There are so many free writing tools available to help you write and publish a book.
It only takes two minutes to upload your manuscript file and your book cover for a Kindle ebook and click publish.
If you want to publish printed copies using KDP print on demand, it will take you another twenty minutes.
Within 24 hours, you are a published author with your books available for sale on Amazon. That’s it. All done. Fantastic.
Then what happens?
No one buys your book. No one reads your book. No one posts a book review.
So you hit social media and post, “check out my new book on Amazon,” but you get no interest.
Then you get desperate and give your books away for free. But no one downloads your free book, so you don’t get any book reviews.
And then you wonder what’s wrong with people. The only thing wrong here is that you did it all wrong.
If you are publishing a book, stop now before you make these mistakes
Self-publishing is top of mind now for many authors.
You might be considering publishing yourself or using a self-publishing service.
But it is not an easy street way to success. It involves a lot of hard work before you publish to stand a chance of gaining book sales.
Trying to play catch-up after your book is published is time-consuming, frustrating, and rarely helps.
A sales page with no reviews and a zero sales ranking is hard to fix and will not help you to sell books.
By far, the best way to publish your new book is to take your time and plan well ahead.
Think about it with your business brain and not with your fiction writer’s emotions. Make a list of your options and what you need to do before you publish.
To help you, here is a list of ideas and options that you might want to consider before jumping in at the deep end.
Traditional publishing is not dead by any means.
Big publishing companies still pump out thousands of new titles every year, hoping for a few new bestselling books.
To release so many new books, publishers need new talent, especially for fiction books.
If you haven’t considered a book deal, you should.
The proven way is to find a literary agent who is working with the publishing industry.
If you are lucky enough and find an agent to represent you, your publishing path will be much smoother.
You can search in your location for agents, or you can start with Writer’s Services to find a list of literary agents.
A couple of months spent querying your book could be time well invested in the long run.
But if it doesn’t work out, you know you can always self-publish.
Self-publish, but do it right
The cost to self-publish is minimal, but that doesn’t mean it’s a cheap or easy way of publishing a book.
But hitting the publish button is not your first action; it is the absolute last action you take when you self-publish.
You need to make action plans to be able to answer these five questions.
a. Is my manuscript absolutely perfect?
b. Will book buyers LOVE my cover?
c. How can I get at least 15 reviews posted within a few days of my book launch?
d. How can I know for sure that I will get some sales in the first few days?
e. What is your plan and schedule to promote your book in the first six months after release?
If you are not sure how to answer all of these questions, read on for step-by-step ideas.
1. Your perfect manuscript
If you have an editor plus a couple of good proofreaders, you are good to go.
But if not, you need to work hard to edit your manuscript up to standard.
It is a tough job being an editor, proofreader, and author. It is not a good mix.
But if an editor is too expensive for you, there are many ways you can improve your manuscript.
2. Your book cover must shine
Never cut corners with your book cover. Forget, repeat, forget all about making a homemade book cover in Word.
Book cover design is critical for success.
Always get a professional book designer for your cover.
You can also buy pre-made covers, which are not expensive at all. Or you can pay for a custom-designed cover.
Pay particular attention to how your cover will look in thumbnail size, as this will be how all potential book buyers will first see your book cover.
3. How to get an assurance of reviews before you publish
This is a tough one. But you can do it.
Most new authors take the approach of hitting social media hard and begging people to accept a free ebook copy in return for a review.
If they don’t know how to create an ebook file, which takes some know-how, they offer pdf sample chapters.
Sometimes people accept, but they rarely fulfill their promise to post a review, or they just plain forget.
Think about it for a moment. Would you accept such a deal? From someone you don’t know?
Here’s a better way
Get your book ready to publish in paperback. But DO NOT publish. You can do this on KDP or Lulu.
You can then order proof copies of your book. It depends on your budget, but you might want to order five copies.
Now you can approach your contacts on social media, your friends, and acquaintances. You can even set up an offer in a blog post or on your website.
You can give them something of far more value than an easily forgotten, worthless ebook file.
An advanced reader copy of your book.
You can even sign each copy to personalize it and thank them in advance for their review.
Print books are real and have value.
It might cost you a little postage in some cases, of course.
But the value of your book, signed and personalized, will remind each recipient of their commitment to post a review once your book is finally published.
Now you stand a much better chance of getting day-one reviews.
But don’t forget to keep their email address so you can send them a mail to remind them to post a review on the day you launch your book.
You have given something of real value, and the value of a review will have more chance of being returned.
4. Getting a few kickoff sales
Buying a copy yourself is one easy sale.
Get your friends and family organized before you publish. Give them a few bucks each if you have to.
The more sales you can generate on days one and two, and three will make a huge difference to your sales rank.
You don’t need to get hundreds of sales to get Amazon’s algorithms working for you.
If you can get ten sales in a couple of days, you will be giving your book a significant initial boost.
But you can get many more day-one sales. Read on.
5. Promote, promote, promote
The best time to start promoting your book is well before you publish it.
When you decide to publish, set up your book for pre-order.
You can do this on almost all self-publishing platforms, such as KDP, Draft2Digital, and Smashwords.
Plan to allow at least three weeks for your book to be available only on pre-order.
Arrange for your promotion to start on day one of your pre-order availability, and pump your new book!
If you do it well, you will have at least a few sales on pre-order. These orders will give your book a boost on day one of your book launch.
You can enquire with book promotion services if they offer this facility.
Don’t make the classic mistake of jumping into publishing a book without having a plan.
Think carefully and take the necessary steps before you publish to give your new book a much better chance of success.
Take the time to prepare and learn how to market your book.
Your book will be available for sale for years to come.
Spending a couple of months or even more getting everything right will help you publish a better book and sell more copies over a long period of time.
Don’t rush into publishing a book before you are ready. It is not a race to write and publish.
Related reading: 15 Self-Publishing Problems And How You Can Correct Them