Saturday 22 February 2014

Ten Top Hints to Self-Publishing - Greenacre Guest Blog

Guest Blog from Greenacre Writer Linda Louisa Dell: 

1. Finding a self-publisher

This will depend on what you want. Do you want a hard copy or just an e-book? Do you want a package that contains a marketing plan? The price will vary greatly, from around £10.00 for an e-book alone, to several hundred pounds for added extras. But it is possible to publish your work as both a book and an e-book, with a good cover, for less than £100.00 and then pay extra for publicity, or do your own.

2. Proof reading and editing

If you can afford it, have your work professionally edited. Nothing looks worse than silly spelling and grammatical errors. Do not skimp on this.

3. How do you organize the promotion/sale of your books?

Make no bones about it, this is the hardest part. You have written your book, had it edited, published and bound in a beautiful cover. It is available on Amazon and kindle but now you have to let people know it’s out there. And advertising costs money.

Use twitter and facebook to spread the word. Ask people to write reviews on sites such as Amazon, Lulu or Waterstones. Help each other and exchange reviews. My publisher for The Story Tree created a video promo for Utube.

4. Press Releases and promotional materials

Write a press release and send it out to all your friends, bookshops, local press, club magazines, special interest, history or hobby magazines, and local radio and TV. Produce some flyers and/or postcards and spread them around in social clubs, your local library – anywhere people may see them.

Television promotion is well-nigh impossible to achieve and I have considered many ruses to get noticed by the media. Many independent book shops will stock self-published books on a sale or return basis and you can also approach them to stage readings, talks or book signings.

5. Endorsements

Ask for endorsements from famous people to use on your back cover. Ideally, this should be done before the book goes to print but it is never too late, and they can be used on advertising material and your web page.

 6. Web page and internet sites

Create a web page and keep it updated. Put the address on all your promotional material and send the book to on-line sites for reviews or competitions. Sites like bookopedia will advertise your book for £19.00 a year.

I entered my novel Yes and Pigs Might Fly into a competition for the best self-published fiction and it was nominated for the Wishing Shelf book Awards, coming third in the Best Adult Fiction category.

7. Libraries and Talks

Give copies to your local library and register with ALCS (the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society). Your library will also be able to put you in touch with reading groups and book clubs. You can also give talks to libraries, the Town Women’s Guild, U3A, various social groups, book clubs, and special interest groups.

8. Your cover: who designed it and what did it cost?

Most self-publishing companies will help you with your cover design. If you get this done independently it will cost anything up to two hundred pounds. You will need to produce something eye-catching, but appropriate.

The back cover should contain a ‘blurb’ designed to describe the book and intrigue the reader, and this will often appear as a ‘taster’ on the Amazon website or on kindle. It is also what a prospective buyer will read in a shop and should whet the appetite. If you can get any endorsements and quotes, this is where they should appear.

9. Promotion, advertising and flyers

I designed my own promotional material with the help of Copy Run for the cards and flyers, and The Writers Forum and The Self  Publishing Magazine for the magazine adverts. Advertisers will include this service in the price.

10. What has been the steepest learning curve of the whole process?

It is hard work and you will often feel frustrated and despondent. Don’t expect family or friends to always be helpful; you will have to be very thick skinned at times.

Keep going and do something to promote your book every day. And as Churchill said, never, never give up.

Recommended books:

Marketing and Publicising Books by Mary Cavanagh

1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer

Linda has self-published six books and several e-books, as well as three books with a regular publisher. Her new novel, Earthscape, will be available later this year. Find out more about Linda.

Linda Louisa Dell and Liz Goes will be hosting a self publishing talk as part of the Finchley Literary Festival Wednesday 28th May at Church End Library.