As the old saying goes, everyone has a book in them. Fancy yourself as a novelist? Want to put your memoirs in print, or tell your family’s story? It’s never been so easy to publish your own words…
As well as changing the way we read, the digital revolution has given a platform to new writers, new voices – even new ways of telling your story via YouTube or blogs.
Just a decade ago, readers had few options when it came to the written word – hard cover or paperback, newspaper or magazine.
We now have more reading options than any other previous generation. We can catch up with the latest news or gossip on our phones or download the latest blockbuster without even leaving the sofa.
Traditional publishers and media outlets no longer call the shots
And if you’re a writer, there’s no need to join the ranks of famous authors who faced rejection after rejection before seeing their books in print. Self-publishing gives you the opportunity of getting your book in print or ebook format, and, if you want to push it out to a bigger audience, complete control over how it your title is priced and marketed.
Traditional publishers and media outlets no longer call the shots. Today, anyone, anywhere, has the ability to publish. The only equipment you need is a laptop and a broadband connection – and a great story idea.
Always wanted to publish a novel or non-fiction title? Here’s how…
The choice of which books and authors were published used to rest entirely in the hands of the publishing houses, agents and editors. With the introduction of new publishing platforms, nowadays, anyone can call themselves an author.
Self-published books used to be seen as vanity titles
Self-published books used to be seen as vanity titles – a way of extracting money from rejected wordsmiths. But technological advances have been followed by some major commercial successes within the ‘indie author’ community. EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey started life as a print-on-demand paperback or ebook. A year later, it was snapped up by publisher Vintage Books, going on to sell 60 million copies worldwide. Many traditional authors now combine print publishing with the greater control offered by self-publishing.
Zone in on a niche audience
Think about the specific audience you will be writing for. If you write non-fiction, a book which explores a specific issue can help you establish yourself as an authority on a particular topic. The traditional publishing world is still playing catch up with indie authors within the world of genre fiction. Amanda Hocking started out distributing and promoting paranormal romance titles as ebooks for a young adult audience. Now her titles dominate the bestseller lists for this audience, making her one of the most successful self-published authors in the world.
Buy in help if you need it
Not every self-published book will pass the quality test. You can gain assistance with various aspects of the publishing process by buying in expertise from skilled professionals. Aspiring writers or novelists can add polish to their titles with the help of professional editors, proof readers, cover designers and marketers.
Choose your platform
Self-publishing platforms provide a range of toolkits for authors which will allow you to format, publish, print and distribute your book, all in one space. Features vary from platform to platform but among the most popular are Lulu, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace.
Depending on how much you’re willing (and able) to do yourself, most self-published books won’t make any money or run at a loss. For some authors, it’s enough just to write a book. They don’t expect to sell more than a handful of copies and are happy to give the rest away.
If you want to sell your book, you’ll need an ISBN
An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique identification number which is used throughout the publishing world. The ISBN identifies a particular book or edition. Unless you are simply planning to give your book away or distribute to your family, you’ll need this unique reference to sell copies. You can obtain an ISBN through http://www.isbn.nielsenbook.co.uk
Once you’ve pressed publish, you need to market your title
If your goal is to shift hundreds of copies, you’ll need to get the message out to the right audience. Think about the marketing methods which will work best for your particular title or genre. If you write zombie fiction, your marketing channels and methods will be very different from a writer who has penned a historical tome on the Vikings. An author website or blog is a must-have. You can also build online presence using social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. And, if you’re happy to spend a bit of money, you could try targeted ads using GoogleAdwords, Facebook Ads or Goodreads Ads. Other options including giving away an ebook or initial chapter and reaching out to bloggers or online media portals which cover your particular area of interest with a review copy and further information.
Have YOU got a book just waiting to get out? Comment below and let us know about it!