If you are an aspiring author, or even an existing author, it is so important for you to take your craft seriously and set yourself up for success. Don’t cut corners and don’t do things at half capacity to save money. If you don’t put in the necessary time, resources, and yes funds, into your work, then how can you expect to succeed?
Many of you know that I’m self-publishing my debut book. Self-publishing is not for everyone and at times, self-published authors are seen as ‘less than’ but I chose to self-publish because I feel it is the best route for me. What many don’t know is that self-publishing can be really expensive. If you publish your book traditionally, your publisher picks up virtually all of your expenses. They cover your editing, cover design, formatting, marketing, ect. When you self-publish, all of these expenses fall on you. My book is releasing in January 2015 and so far, I have racked up over a thousand dollars in expenses. That is a lot of money to throw into something you ‘hope’ will be successful but I want my novel to do well and in order to do so, I have to set myself on a path to succeed.
Key points to put yourself on the path to success
First and foremost, be prepared. Don’t wait until the last minute to do ANYTHING! Always plan ahead, organization and preparation are key.
-Have a professional book cover. We all say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but we all do it anyway and your readers will too. You need to invest in a cover designer. I was lucky enough to have mine created by Regina Wamba with Mae I Design. Believe it or not but I actually won the cover in a giveaway she hosted for a custom full wrap design. I honestly would have hired her anyway because she is that good but by winning, I saved myself $400+
-Have your book professionally edited. I cannot stress enough how important editing is. I myself have worked as a freelance editor for 3 years. I also worked as an EIC with a small publishing press, but I would never edit my own work. I have written and revised it so many times that the mistakes blur and I find myself hopping right over them without noticing. It is important to hire someone so you don’t miss anything. Especially as a self-published author where judgement tends to be harsher. I assure you, you’ve missed something!
-Marketing and PR. You need someone on your team. Again, I’ve done loads of freelance here. I’ve organized blog tours and blitz’, hosted giveaways and organized book clubs. I’ve done a bit of everything but I’m still hiring out. That does not mean I’m going to take a back seat to my marketing either though. It is important to stay involved and active in your own marketing but I realize that I want to put my best foot forward so I threw in with RockStar Lit PR. They have 2000+ tour hosts, rep Violet Duke who is a NYT bestselling self-published author and recently began representing Jeaniene Frost and Gena Showalter, two authors who write in my genre. They have the resources and experience to help me be as successful as possible. Side note, they are not cheap. I had mini nightmares over the money I’m spending with them especially when there is no guarantee if my book will be successful but I don’t want to have any doubts. I don’t want any ‘what if’ moments down the road so I’m doing everything right the first time around.
-Formatting. One of the biggest pet peeves of mine when reading, is formatting, especially on ebooks. There are dozens of programs and tutorials out there for do-it-your-selfers. I even have Scrivner which is suppose to easily allow you to format your books. I don’t want to accidentally mess up though so I’m having it professionally done. RockStar Lit PR is actually doing this for me as well.
-Beta Readers and CP’s. Oh my goodness I cannot stress how amazing these people are and how beneficial they will be to your work. Plus side, they’re free! Beta readers give you a great idea of how your audience will perceive your work. A Critique Partner is another author or aspiring author who ideally writes in your same genre and can provide you with constructive feedback while also giving you a boost on the things you’ve done well. It is nice getting the occasional pep talk that motivates you to keep going. I love my CP. She is a rockstar and has already made my MS much cleaner and tighter. I swear the girl is worth her weight in gold.
–Build a platform. The last thing I want to mention when it comes to paving your road to success is building your platform as an author. As an author, it is suggested that you have a twitter account, facebook page, blog, and youtube account. These are the bare minimum. Twitter and Facebook are almost a no-brainer. Having a Facebook page allows people to “subscribe” to your feed, join your mailing list, and even “buy the book” without ever having to leave the site. Twitter is an amplification tool. The fast moving stream means that your tweets and links can spread and lead to like minded, potential readers. The goal is to create a large digital footprint that will lead your reader back to your home base. A blog is important because it draws the reader in to you as an author. It attracts readers and aspiring authors alike and it is recommended that you post 2x a week, each post containing 300-500 words. These should be informative. Post about tips and trends in the industry, tutorials, and even random opinions about current changes. Last but not least, YouTube. Did you know that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine behind Google? Authors should create short video talks discussing their books and post them on their personal YouTube channel. Make sure to include keywords in the title to attract your ideal reader and then share them through other social media outlets.
All of these go towards paving your path to success. If you don’t have the time or don’t think this is important, then you probably won’t be as successful as you could have been. If you wan’t people to take your work seriously, you need to take it seriously too and show your readers how much your not only value your work, but their time.