The secret to self-publishing success comes from forever trying, and finding ways to succeed
It is a fact of life that those who succeed always seem to find a way, and those who don’t succeed are usually those who give up after hitting the first few obstacles.
The same applies to achieving self-publishing success.
It is not about luck; it is about determination and hard work. When the going gets tough, there are no overnight success stories and all the other clichés are probably very true too.
I can recall with absolute clarity, the first time I tried to install a self-hosted WordPress blog. It was a complete disaster.
I lost a whole weekend and then spent the following Monday to Wednesday exchanging emails and calls with my web host’s support team, as I had managed to crash, destroy and corrupt my whole website.
Right, let’s try that again.
By the next Thursday, I had my website back up and running with my first self-hosted WordPress blog.
A week later, after realising that I had jumped in at the deep end without doing any research before I embarked on my tragic blog deployment, I hit Google Search with earnest and started finding out where I went so wrong.
Learning lessons as a self-publisher
Lesson learned, well two in fact. One was that it would have been easier, and more sensible if I had spent a lot more time doing my research before I blew up my site.
The second, however, was that my crash in at the deep end and just do it approach was probably a much faster way to learn in the end.
I learned so much more about how to install WordPress and how good the support team were at my host. Learning by doing, and from mistakes, is also much more memorable than learning by theory.
A few months later, when it came time to install my second blog, it took me less than half an hour, and it all went without a hitch.
Learning a valuable lesson is what self-publishing is all about. The self part of the word explains this very well. There is so much that a self-publishing author has to learn how to do, themselves.
Find a way to do these things.
The skills you need to acquire in self-publishing
When an author decides to self-publish for the first time, there are so many skills that you need to learn that it can be daunting.
Many authors give up too quickly, and race off to a vanity publisher, or pay someone to do the work for them. Either choice is quick and practical, but both can be very expensive.
However, with a little patience, some research and reading, it is not difficult to acquire the skills you need to truly self-publish. At the same time, you will save yourself a lot of money.
Yes, it takes time to learn how to use Styles in Word, how to convert Word to epub, how to upload files, how to select a cover, how to get premium approval from Smashwords, how to promote your book, how to create a Facebook Page, and the list goes on.
It’s a process of reading a lot, asking for advice, making a lot of mistakes and learning how to correct them. This is how you find a way.
In the end, though, the process will only last for your first book. When an author is ready to self-publish a second book, the experience gained will make it a walk in the park.
If you are new to self-publishing, or to any skill that you believe you need to succeed, don’t give up after one or two attempts, or mistakes.
Learn from them and use the experience they taught you to achieve success. Find a way? Fail Better?
Decide what you can’t do and will have to pay for
It would be wrong to suggest that self-publishing success can come from doing everything yourself.
There are certain elements in the process where it is far better to engage a professional.
Stunning book covers
Without a doubt, the one element in self-publishing I believe can’t be done on the cheap is your book cover.
Unless you are an expert graphic designer and skilled in Photoshop, always pay to have your cover professionally designed.
It doesn’t need to be expensive, as pre-made covers are usually available for between $40-60.
Even a custom designed cover can e purchased for less than $300.
Editing and/or proofreading
Not every self-publishing author can afford a professional editor. But if you can, well all the better.
However, your manuscript should be at least competently proofread. If you don’t know a friend with the necessary skills to do this for you, hire someone who does. Never try to be your own proofreader. Never.
You can find hundreds of ways to promote your book for free, but there may be times when a small investment in paid book promotion will reach a lot more potential readers. Budget carefully though, and spend your book promotion and advertising money wisely.
Put the self into self-publishing
Finding a path to self-publishing success will come from what you learn how to do well, from your mistakes and from your determination.
Never think that there is a set path or rules to follow. Success comes from an authors inventiveness and working every day on the small one per cent tasks.
But above all else, success comes from being a great writer.
In fact, that is the one ingredient that is essential if you are aiming at becoming a self-publishing success.