Let’s assume that you’ve finished that special book that you’ve been dreaming of writing. It could be a suspense novel, personal memoir, business book, or book of inspiration and health. You’ve made the decision to publish your book independently. In this day and age of publishing uncertainty, here is an opportunity to choose your own direction. It’s important, however, to be as well versed in this growing and vital industry as possible. Let’s break it down into six important components.
First Component: Avoid vanity presses at all cost. The truth is, there are a lot of these vanity presses that make promises they cannot possibly keep. They take advantage of the fact that you are new to the business and make you feel as if you need them if you’re going to get anywhere with your book. And what they really do is take a bunch of your money and leave you out in the cold. Do your research. All these fancy marketing packages and sales gimmicks are just that, gimmicks; and expensive ones at that.
Second Component: Publishing your book independently ensures that you will be calling your own shots. Yes, you want a publishing team, but that means exactly what it says: a team. With you as numero uno. What you want is a team that looks to you for input and approval of every important step in the process, from copy editing to book cover design, from the interior layout of your book to the choice of font. You should approve of the printer, the distribution they offer, and the fulfillment process they use.
Third Component: Keep it simple. The components of book design are straightforward. They include copy editing (proofreading), cover design (extremely important), and interior layout for both the print book and e-book (do not underestimate this). Make sure you don’t let anyone try to convince of overwhelming difficulties that don’t exist.
Fourth Component: Don’t spend what you don’t need to spend. You’ll hear vanity presses throwing out $20,000 packages. Beware of hidden costs, for certain, but also beware of what can truly be delivered and what can’t. No one can predict how many books you will sell. No one can guarantee a specific number of reviews. Sales and reviews take effort and most of that effort lands on the author.
Fifth Component: Be prepared to do the work. You have already worked hard writing your book. You’ve put in the hours. Now you want to put in the hours that go into publishing and marketing your book. Learn as much about the trade as you can. Know the rules around publishing and marketing, yes, but also think about ways to move beyond those rules.
Sixth Component: Demand that your book is designed with absolute quality. Demand it of your team and demand it of yourself. And last but not least, have fun doing it.