Self-publishing has exploded over recent years, and thousands of people are making additional income or a full-time living from self-publishing their work with major online books retailers. Here’s a handy guide for everything you need to know if you plan on self-publishing this year – whether you’re a seasoned indie author or a first-time self-publisher.
Ebooks are still dominating the market, but there’s a rise in the number of people bucking the trend and reverting to paperbacks. Make sure you’re not left in the cold by not having paperback versions of your book available by using one of the many print-on-demand services. Amazon now offers the ability to publish your books as ebooks and in paperback right from the KDP platform.
Self-published books are often criticised for low-quality editing and covers. With more books on the market than ever before, make sure your books stand out for the right reasons. If you have the skills to do so, make sure you invest the time needed to self-edit your books to a high standard. Otherwise, try and budget for paying an editor to polish your final manuscript.
Audiobooks are increasing in popularity, and are the fastest-growing sector in publishing; so, if you have the budget to have your book turned into audio then it’s definitely one option to consider. More people than ever before are listening to audiobooks, so give them the chance to listen to yours.
When you list your books on any of the major distributor’s websites, you need to make sure you are choosing strong keywords to list your book under. Your title or book blurb should also include some keywords to make sure that readers can find your books. Looking at what people search on Google will give you a good idea of which words to concentrate on.
Moz’s keyword tool is the one I use the most as a self-published author, as it’s straightforward to use and also suggests alternative keywords for you along with their search volumes- making your job much easier. Look for keywords related to your genres where there are more than 50 searches a month as these are the ones where you will be most likely to achieve excellent visibility.
Social Media is still a popular way to market books for indie authors, but with constant changes to Facebook feeds and rules for business pages, make sure you are up to date with how to get the best reach on the various social media channels.
If you have a budget for ads, use it. Facebook ads can be a very cost-effective way of getting your books in front of your target readers. If not, focus on creating engaging content to draw more readers to your page. Consider Facebook Live videos to boost your reach and engagement, and to let your readers get to know you not only as a self-published author but as a person too.
If you don’t have a social media account to promote your books, make this the year you set one up. You don’t have to be active on every platform -- you can just choose one platform, and post regularly. Over time, you’ll build an audience of people that are engaged with your books and want to buy your new book releases.
Growth across non-English speaking markets is set to rise. Get ahead of the game in this year by making sure your books have translations available in as many languages as possible.
The book translation service Babelcube offers authors a way to do this without having to pay any upfront fees for translations. Babelcube also takes care of distributing your self-published books -- meaning that your translated books will get in front of international audiences quickly and easily without you needing to set up and manage lots of different accounts.
All of these tips will help drive you towards success as an indie author, but the real key to success in self-publishing is the same now as it has been since the beginning. Publish as many high-quality books as you can manage this year, and you will increase your chances of success drastically.
Wishing you a successful and fun adventure self-publishing your books in many languages.
Written by Lisa Flynn. Lisa is a freelance writer, content marketer, and social media manager who developed a love of reading and writing from an early age. She has self published over eleven racy novels under several top-secret pen names and also ghostwrites in the romance and erotica genres.