A former journalist and author, Jon Watt is now Country Manager of Type & Tell, an innovative new self-publishing services provider offering free book layout and 100% author royalties. Here he shares his top tips for succeeding in the competitive world of self-publishing.
1) Be honest
Why do you want to publish? Do you want to see your book on a shelf in a bookshop? Or are you anticipating commercial success? If the former is important to you, then self-publishing isn’t for you. Success in self-publishing comes through online retailers.
2) Be an expert
It’s self-publishing – you are the publisher. You are essentially going into business for yourself. You wouldn’t start a farm without completely understanding farming, so don’t start self-publishing until you’ve read up on publishing. Google until you understand the terms, the process and the finances.
3) Be clear about who your readers are
Can you picture your typical reader? How old are they? Are they reading in print or digital? Where have their purchased your book: online or in a bookshop? What else are they reading?
Picturing your readers will help you to tailor your blurb, cover, price and genre to appeal to the right audience.
4) Be meta
Metadata is digital information about your book that is sent to all retailers and libraries. It includes the cover, blurb, price, genre, key search terms, etc. Metadata is what will ultimately sell your book, so it’s worth spending some time getting it right.
5) Be sure of your rights
As a self-publishing author you hold all of your rights: print, digital, large text, audio, overseas sales and translation. If you just focus on your paperback and ebook publications then you’re potentially missing out on other lucrative revenue streams.
6) Be a shameless self-promoter
Advertise your other formats and titles at the end of your print books, ebooks, audio books … everywhere you can.
7) Be social-wise
There’s a lot of noise on social media and you can lose a great deal of time posting messages and ads that no-one reads. Social media posts and Facebook ads can give a big boost to sales, but only if you use them wisely (see point 8!). So read up and become an expert before committing time and money to social.
8) Be a long-term thinker
Social media isn’t great for direct selling, but it is good for building a brand, loyal following and a mailing list. Think long-term about your writing career and use price promotions and free giveaways to generate mailing lists, which will then help you to grow a loyal readership for subsequent books.