The road to self-publishing your own book is riddled with potholes, but you can avoid the worst of them if you map out the journey ahead of time. Here are four key pointers:
Make sure your book is the best it can possibly be before you make the trip down Publication Boulevard. Don’t settle for mediocre! The disturbing synonyms for mediocre should strike terror in the hearts of authors: characterless, colorless, dull, middling, no great shakes, run-of-the-mill, so-so, uninspired, vanilla.
There are enough mediocre books adrift that could have sparkled with a little editing, enhanced cover design or better formatting. Aim to set the reading world ablaze. Rumbling along at the center of the self-publishing herd, with a middle-of-the-road mindset, where everyone speaks Groupthink is not a strategy for success.
Pay attention to the road ahead of you. You can’t avoid potholes if you’re zipping along, taking corners on two wheels. Plan your marketing and launch well in advance to avoid zigzagging back and forth from one tactic to the next, desperately trying to make your publication deadline. Financial potholes can easily derail you. Figure out your costs up front and start saving early. Check out this article at thewritelife.com for some cost parameters, and pick up a copy of Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran to use as your guidebook along the way.
Inexperience and ignorance is costly on the road. Being a successful self-published author means creating great content, but it also demands a certain level of proficiency when it comes to marketing and establishing a platform. Developing a working knowledge of the various tools for social media marketing is an admirable goal, but it’s best to prioritize. Facebook leads the pack in terms of targeted ad reach, but email subscribers are the golden ticket to sustainable growth.
Trying to build a platform is a little like working on a jigsaw puzzle. The more pieces you add in that are a good fit, the clearer your brand becomes. The foundational piece should always be your website. The more robust it is from the outset, the fewer headaches it will give you in the long run.
For some of us it’s the potholes in our own minds that trip us up. Negative thinking, haphazard work habits, unwillingness to learn or change, reluctance to persevere, even perfectionism can render us immobile. If you take the trip, you may land in the odd pothole, but that doesn’t mean you quit traveling. Clean out your mindset filters and get back in the game. Even a pothole is an opportunity to learn if it brings about constructive change.