Welcome to my journey into self/independent publishing! While I’m still debating whether or not to self publish my fiction novel, I am in the process of self publishing a collection of short stories and poems with my fabulous writer’s group. So, I thought I’d share my thoughts and experiences through a self publishing series.
It may seem obvious, but you MUST have a killer product in order to successfully self-publish. Anyone can get on Kindle Direct Publishing and upload a novel or body of work and declare themselves a published author. That’s great, but after you pat yourself on the back, then what? In order to build a fan base you must have an amazing product. You need a body of work that has readers anticipating more and sharing it with their family and friends. You need great reviews! In order to achieve that, you need to put your best foot forward. In other words pay like you weigh.
Get an editor. Obtain an editor. Contract out for an editor. Pay for an editor. I don’t know how many ways to say it, or how I can stress the importance of a good editor, except to repeat it ridiculously over and over again. I don’t care how methodical you are at self editing (and I’m a Nazi self editor myself), someone with fresh eyes and editing expertise will catch what you missed and help you present a polished product.
It’s so important to self publish quality work. One of the chief complaints among readers that buy self publishing is that the body of work is unpolished, full of typos and/or lacks flow and content editing. Those are the main reasons why many readers won’t buy self-published works unless they have stellar reviews. I’m a self publishing snob myself. Nothing gets downloaded to my Kindle unless the reviews are good, or I’ve previously read and enjoyed something by the author. Even if it’s free. Yep, you read that right. You literally cannot give away a less than spectacular product.
This concludes my two cents on step #1. If you have a killer product, stay tuned for step #2 in my self publishing series.
Writers: What advice can you give to someone just starting out in self-publishing?
Readers: Do you care whether the books you buy are backed by a major publishing house? What makes you take a chance on a self pubished work?