The following post is by Louise Lake, author of ‘Arabella’ – amongst other titles, and freelance writer, ghost-writer and marketer. Her work has featured in ‘Take a Break’s Fate and Fortune’, the ‘Wakefield Express’ and various poetry anthologies.
Do you have a book you’re looking to publish?
When I first began my journey as a self-published author, I had no contacts that could help me with the information I required in order to self-publish my first book. Instead, I learned the hard way through month upon month of research, trial and error. Now, five books later, I find myself helping other writers with advice on where and how to self-publish their books, as well as offering services in ghost-writing, proofreading and editing.
I have studied many different courses in order to progress my written work, and next year I will begin the most important of them all – a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing.
Below, you will find some of the most useful resources I have acquired along the way. I really hope this information will give you the helping hand that I never had, as you start your journey towards becoming a self-published author.
Amazon KDP is probably the most popular of all of the e-book publishing platforms out there. You can earn 35% or 70% of your book sales, depending on your preference. And if you remain exclusive to them you can also be part of the ‘kindle unlimited program’.
Smashwords is an e-book publisher and distributor. With Smashwords you can opt into the distribution services and be listed with various online retailers and libraries, such as: Barnes and Noble, Apple Bookstore, Overdrive and Gardners. Smashwords also offer a coupon code generator for special offers on your books.
LuLu Publishing is an e-book and printed book publisher. They also offer a distribution service that lists your books on other online retail sites such as: Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.
Createspace is owned by Amazon. On the Createspace platform you can self-publish print books. They also offer a distribution service, as well as conversion and publication in electronic format without the need of Amazon KDP.
There are various online stores that I have come across where you can sell your printed and electronic books through your own website. Even though I have not used any of them yet, I thought they might still be of value to others.
Whilst doing research into audiobooks, as they are becoming more and more popular, I found ACX.
Audiobook Creation Exchange – ACX brings publishers into contact with a variety of producers who can turn your book into an audio book. Narrators audition for the job and you can either choose to pay upfront or choose the royalty share option, where you split your royalties with your book’s narrator. You can also receive a higher royalty if you remain exclusive to ACX’s retailers: Audible, Amazon and iTunes.
All of the publishing platforms mentioned above assign a free ISBN; however, if you would like to purchase your own you can do so here: www.nielsenisbnstore.com. Nielsen charge £149 for ten ISBNs.
Listed to Sell in Bookshops
If you choose to self-publish your book, but you would like to try and get your books into brick and mortar bookshops, you usually have to be listed on the following:
Premade Book Covers
A great website I came across whilst looking for professional book covers was ‘self-pub-book-covers’. Their website is full of various pre-made book covers created by different professional designers. Once a book cover has been sold, no one else is allowed to purchase the same cover, giving you a one-off design each time. Their service is very easy to use and you can also edit the text to your liking. Sometimes, the designer will help by giving their opinions on writing styles and sizes that will be most effective. Most covers start from as little as $69, which is for a maximum of 250,000 copies of your book being sold. When you reach the 250,000 mark you must then return and purchase an extended licence, which will then allow you to use the cover forever.
Giveaways and Reviews
Two useful sites for giveaways prior to publication and reviews are Instafreebie and Goodreads. You can also set up an author profile on Goodreads and list your books once they are published.
Online and Home-Based Courses
I have completed courses with all of the following providers. I completed courses in Creative Writing and Proofreading and Copy Editing with The Writers Bureau. I studied Fantasy Writing with New Skills Academy. I have studied a short, two-week screenwriting course on Future Learn, and a few different courses on Allison, including Grammar.
Social Media / Online Presence
It is very important these days to have a presence online as well as offline. The listed platforms below are the main social platforms that I use.
Facebook – www.facebook.com
Twitter – www.twitter.com
Instagram – www.instagram.com
YouTube – www.youtube.com
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com
Blog/Website – www.wordpress.com
Author Central Amazon page – https://authorcentral.amazon.co.uk/ https://authorcentral.amazon.com/
Your Book’s Demographics
Before you consider self-publishing, take time to think about the demographics for your book. This way, through research and by answering the following questions, you will have a better understanding of your target market, which will help when it comes to marketing your book.
What age category is your book aimed at?
What genre category does your book fit into?
What sex is your book aimed at, or is it aimed at both sexes?
What is your reader’s occupation?
What is your reader’s education level?
What are your reader’s hobbies and interests?
What is your unique selling point? What makes your book different?
What is the reader’s reason for reading your book?
Where are your readers located in the world?
What social networks do your readers use?
Which author’s books are similar to yours?
What are the bestsellers in your genre?
If you get stuck with any of these questions, then have a look online and do your research and you should soon find the answers you are looking for.
On the following sites you can find freelance work for yourself, or find professional freelancers to hire.
Free Stock Photos
Pixabay holds over 750,000 free stock photos that you can use on your blog, website and social media posts, with no credits required.
You can find out more about Louise and the work she does at www.louiselakefreelancewritingandmarketing.co.uk and www.louiselake.com.