Self-publishing is a lot easier than you’d think and once you’ve done it, you’ll wonder why you ever hesitated. Believe me.
I sat with my completed manuscript for over six years, thinking that self-publishing was an insurmountable task. However, unless you can find an agent / publisher willing to take a chance on a complete unknown self-publishing really is your only option if you want your work to be read.
Last year, after years of procrastinating I finally got my act together. With the help of a creative son who took on the front cover and a partner who’s an IT specialist at my side, I finally took the leap into self-publishing and my book went ‘live’ on 1st January 2018.
Here’s what I learned:
It’s so much easier than you think it’s going to be.
You really don’t need an IT specialist at your side (much as it was nice to have him there 😊)
You get a huge sense of satisfaction in doing it all by yourself and keeping total control over your work. When you hit that ‘publish’ button, enjoy the moment and be proud.
If you’re thinking about doing it, here’s some beginner’s advice from another beginner:
Preparation is everything. There are certain key components you need to have ready so you’ve got everything at hand once you’re ready to self-publish. These include:
Front cover ( 2560 x1600 pixels is the recommended size) This is really important and it’s worth spending time on this. My front cover was created using Adobe Photoshop but I needed someone in the know to help me here. If you don’t have such a person at hand pay a professional. A lot depends on the look you want.
Title page: keep it simple, just your name and the name of the book.
Copyright page. This is what mine looks like – I looked at the wording other authors had used and felt this covered all bases.
Copyright © 2017 Catherine Alexandra
All rights reserved.
Front cover © 2017 Rory Lawson
The right of Catherine Alexandra to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by the author in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express permission of the publisher / author.
About the author. Write this in third person – it looks more professional. It doesn’t need to be long or humorous or wildly clever – at the end of the day readers just want to get a sense of your life and who you are. Keep it simple Be yourself.
Acknowledgements. You’ll feel a bit as though you’re writing an Oscars acceptance speech here but go with it. It’s really important to say thank you to the people who support and inspire you. Word of caution here though– think carefully about this. It’s very hard to please everyone but it’s very easy to displease someone…
Genre and tag words / phrases. Books don’t always fit neatly into the given genres but have in mind those as close to your book as possible and select as many as you can – it gives your book a greater chance of being found by readers searching by genre. With Kindle Direct Publishing you are allowed seven tag words / phrases. Think about what words a reader might use to search for a book of interest, for example ‘age-gap love story,’ ‘holiday romance,’ and so on.
Pricing. Know what you want to charge for your book – it’s a fine balancing act. You probably won’t want to give it away jus yet but you’re also an unknown and readers are taking a chance on you. Unless you’ve signed up to KDP Select (meaning you can only publish on Amazon) the minimum price you can set is £1.99
Once you have all of that ready and you’ve worked out all the details in your mind, you’re good to go.
Once you sign in to Kindle Direct Publishing (link below) you’ll find a lot of very good advice. You’ll need to create an account and then download Kindle Create which is the software package you need to use to format your book. All the help you need for this is under the ‘prepare your book’ help section. (Top tips: make sure your completed manuscript (source file) has paragraph and page breaks inserted before you convert it into a book through Kindle Create)
Once you’ve got your account, downloaded the Kindle Create programme and read the formatting advice you’re over 90% there. The software really does walk you through it step by step.
Note: if you want to sell your book in America you’ll have to complete a tax certificate – again, you’re walked through this.
If you have everything prepared, it should take you less than an hour to go through the process of converting your file to a book and going through the step by step programme on Kindle Direct Publishing. It really is that simple.
The tricky bit comes after you’ve hit the ‘publish’ button and you have to start thinking about how you’re going to market and promote your book now that it’s out there in the big wide world….
But that’s a blog post for another day 😊