Self-publishing (aka Indie) offers authors unprecedented control over their creative work and the potential to reach a wide audience. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the entire process of self-publishing, highlighting the key steps and considerations along the way. Indie publishing is an alternative path from Trad (or traditional publishing) provides authors control over the publishing process and a quick-to-market approach. Whether you choose self-publishing or indie publishing, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to successfully publish your novel and maximize its sales potential.
1. Why Go Indie? Embrace Creative Control
One of the primary reasons authors choose self-publishing or indie publishing is the desire for creative control. Unlike traditional publishing, where authors often relinquish control over various aspects of their book, going indie allows you to maintain full control over the entire process, from content to cover design.
2. The Overall Process of Self-Publishing
Self-publishing involves several stages, each essential for creating a professional and marketable book. The general process includes writing and editing your manuscript, formatting it for different formats, choosing publishing platforms, marketing, and promoting your book.
3. Methods of Publishing
There are two primary methods to consider when self-publishing Amazon exclusive (Kindle Unlimited or KU) and going wide. Amazon exclusive is ideal for authors who prefer to focus on e-books and utilize the benefits of Amazon’s market reach. Going wide, on the other hand, allows you to distribute your book across multiple platforms, including print, e-books, and physical bookstores.
4. Start with a “Good” Book
Before you embark on the publishing journey, it’s crucial to ensure your book is of high quality. This involves thorough self-editing and, if possible, hiring a professional editor to polish your manuscript and eliminate any errors or inconsistencies.
5. Formatting your Book
Proper formatting is essential for creating a visually appealing and readable book. For e-books, you’ll need to format your manuscript as an e-book file, while for print copies, you’ll require PDF files for both paperback and hardcover versions. Vellum, a tool available exclusively for Mac users, is highly recommended for seamless formatting. And there’s Atticus for Windows users.
6. Publishing your Book
When it comes to publishing, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a popular platform for e-books, offering options for pre-orders and easy distribution. If you prefer wider distribution, consider additional platforms such as Barnes & Noble Press, Kobo, iTunes Connect, and IngramSpark, the latter being crucial for print copies, especially if you want your book in libraries and physical bookstores.
Also, look at services like Draft2Digital, who can distribute you ebook and paperback books to all the major retailers online for a small share. The price they charge can be well worth the reach if you’re going wide.
7. Announcing your Book Launch and Obtaining ARC Readers
To generate buzz and gain early reviews, it’s essential to announce your book launch and engage ARC (Advance Review Copy) readers. Utilize services like NetGalley, where you can offer pre-publication copies to influential readers, reviewers, librarians, booksellers, bloggers, and media professionals in exchange for honest reviews.
8. Organizing a Blog Tour
A blog tour is an effective way to promote your book globally. Engage book bloggers through outreach and utilize online resources such as Reedsy and Book Blogger List to connect with potential tour hosts. While being an established blogger can be advantageous, it’s not a prerequisite for a successful tour.
9. Distribution and Advertisements
To ensure your book is readily available to retailers, distribute it through platforms like IngramSpark. Additionally, consider targeted advertisements before and during the launch, including promotions for your NetGalley ARC. Advertising doesn’t have to be expensive; focus on reaching your target audience effectively.
10. Book Launch and Long-Term Promotion
During the book launch, actively promote your work on social media platforms, engaging with readers’ comments and feedback. Create a long-term promotion plan, including outreach to media professionals and influencers, to sustain momentum and expand your reach over time.
Self-publishing and indie publishing provide authors with unprecedented control over their creative work and the opportunity to succeed in the competitive book market. By following this step-by-step guide, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the self-publishing process, from writing and editing to distribution and promotion. Remember, success in self-publishing requires dedication, perseverance, and ongoing marketing efforts to ensure your book reaches its maximum potential audience.
Best of luck on your self-publishing journey!