Are you thinking of publishing a new book?
Great! But do you have a plan to succeed?
Too many new authors fall for the same old trap.
You write your book, edit it, create a quick and dirty cover design and then rush off to Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).
It then only takes two minutes to upload your manuscript file and your book cover for a Kindle ebook and to 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 on Amazon.
That’s it. All done. Fantastic.
No one buys your book. No one posts a book review.
So you hit social media and post “check out my new book on Amazon”. No one is interested.
Then you get desperate and give your books away for free. No one downloads your free book. No one posts a review.
And then you wonder what is wrong with people.
The only wrong here is that you did it all wrong.
Stop right here, before you make the same mistake.
Self-publishing is top of mind now for many authors. 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 it rarely helps.
A sales page bare of reviews and with a sales rank in the pits is hard to fix and will not help in selling books.
By far the best way to publish your new book is to take your time and plan.
Think about it with your business brain and not with your 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, and the publishing industry still pumps out thousands of new titles every year. To release so many new books, publishers need new talent, especially for fiction books.
If you have not considered a book deal, you should.
The proven way is to find a literary agent who is working with publishing houses.
If you are lucky enough and find an agent to represent you, your publishing path will be much smoother.
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.
2. Self-publishing, but in the right order.
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.
a. Your perfect manuscript
If you have an editor plus a couple of good proofreaders, you are good to go.
But if not, you really need to work hard to get your manuscript up to standard. It is a tough job being 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.
b. You 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.
c. How to get an assurance of reviews before you publish
This is a tough one. But it can be done.
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 fulfil 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 ten 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 personalise 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 personalised 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.
d. Getting a few kickoff sales
Buy a copy yourself is one easy sale.
Get your friends and family organised before you publish. Give them a few bucks each if you have to.
The more sales you can generate on day 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 great initial boost.
But you can get more many more day one sales. Read on.
e. Promote, promote, promote.
The best time to start promoting your book is before you publish.
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 3 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.
Our sister site, Whizbuzz Books offers one year of book promotion and can start promoting your book as soon as it is available for pre-order.
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 in getting everything right is not going to do anything except help you publish a better book and to sell more copies over a long period of time.
Don’t rush into publishing books before you are ready. It is not a race to write and publish.
I started my working life as a lithographer and then spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of the Alps.
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