More and more authors are turning to self-publishing. In 2013, Bowker reported over 391,000 books were self-published. That was up 59% from 2011. This trend is expected to continue.
With the increase in self-publishing, many authors wonder where they should invest their resources when undertaking this endeavor. They know the cost of self-publishing can be astronomical. I recommend that any author who is self-published spend their money on:
- Cover design
- Marketing and publicity
A good cover will catch a reader’s attention. People are visual. They react to what they see. When competing against thousands of book in your genre, a good cover is essential to grab the consumer’s attention and get them to pick up the book and look at it. Getting a consumer to look at your book is half the battle in selling the book. This means a striking cover design that will arouse the reader’s interest. A good cover conveys a sense of what the book is about and lends a sense of intrigue as well. You don’t want to use clip art. You want a graphic artist who has expertise in designing cover art and understands what your book is about. A good graphic artist will provide you with several samples to select from after going to work on your cover. Sometimes the perfect cover may be a combination of all the samples. No matter what, work with a professional who has worked with authors before and can show you samples of his or her work.
Once a reader’s attention has been spiked, they will skim through the book to determine interest. A book with spelling errors or grammatical errors will turn off the consumer and probably cost the sale. Beyond that, you are struggling with the mindset (an unfair one) but one that still exists that self-published books are subpar. A badly edited book will reinforce that mindset and hurt your sales. Reviewers will pounce on any grammatical mistakes in the book. Spending money on a good editor prevents that from happening.
So you have written the world’s best book, yet if you don’t publicize it, no one will know that it exists. Getting the word out about your book is a lengthy process, sometimes as long or if not longer than writing the book. It means book reviews, interviews, websites, collateral material, press releases, social media, speaking engagements, book trailers, blog tours, and book signings. An average marketing and publicity campaign for an author takes between six to sixteen months. It encompasses developing an author brand and reaching readers. Don’t forget your competing not just against other self-published authors but also authors published through traditional publishing houses. The challenge to get your book to stand out is immense. That is why investing in a strong marketing and public relations plan either with an agency or individual who has worked with self-published authors in the past is essential.
Writing a book and taking it to market is a fulltime endeavor. Making is successful can even be more challenging. That is why know where to make your investments as an author is critical.