I think there might be a misconception regarding self-publishing. Or, really, writing a book in general. I think people are convinced that the hardest part is writing the book. And, while that can be true, if it were true of everything then we wouldn’t have nearly as many writers as we do now. Why write if it’s the worst part of the whole process? I think that this misconception arises because of the general availability of publishing resources these days.
Want to publish a book? There are several services out there that make it easy. Social media is readily available to people for marketing purposes. Being a writer should be easy. Should be and reality are not often the same things.
So today, I’m going to talk about some of the things that go into the publishing of a book. I’m going to completely ignore the writing side of things except to mention that you do need an editor. That being said, let’s talk about what actually goes into the production of a book.
First off, cover design and interior formatting. With the rise of so many technological devices for reading books, there are different standards for formatting. I really dislike it when a book has a completely unfamiliar format and doesn’t look the way I expect. Sometimes I can adjust, but most of the time, I will just read something else entirely. Formatting is extremely important for ease of reading. If there are extra paragraph spaces or the justification isn’t done properly, the book doesn’t look right and people move on.
As far as cover designs go, completely ignore the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Because people absolutely do judge books by their covers. Covers and titles are usually the only thing a person sees on whatever book-buying website they are browsing. To entice them to click on a book, the cover and the title have to be interesting to them. So they judge a book by its cover. Which means that you have to make an extremely interesting cover yourself (if you have the art background and can do such things) or you have to hire a professional.
Then, there is the actually preparing for publication. You have your cover done to the right specifications. You have your book formatted. Have you registered your ISBN? Have you figured out your blurb? Your keywords? What the price of your book is going to be in the various territories and countries in which it is going to be sold? What about wholesale discounts? Pre-release sales? What distribution are you going to use?
If you’ve answered all of these questions and are all ready to go ahead, then you have to consider marketing. Yes, social media marketing is the most common means of marketing these days. And it is readily available to everyone who makes an account. But therein lies the problem. It is readily available to everyone. That means you have to work quite diligently to have a decent reach. You have to be consistent and interesting. You can’t brush people off. And you have to do this every day on multiple platforms. Besides that, you may want to invest in other services for marketing, such as Bookbub or Bookfunnel or any other number of things out there. Marketing takes, honestly, just as much time and energy as actually writing the book.
Writing is a wonderful thing. Books can change the world and they can have a huge impact on your life. But please, don’t underestimate the amount of work that goes into writing a novel. Authors don’t sit down at their typewriters and mash out a book in a weekend then become bestsellers overnight. If they did, well…