Self-publishing a book: 24 things you need to know – Part 2
13. A self-publishing company does not necessarily have the best editors/book cover graphic designers
Most self-publishing companies offer various packages aimed at doing all the book preparation for you. Make sure to check the quality of the services they offer, and do not hesitate to choose your own service providers and only use the self publishing company as a publishing platform.
14. Hire a book doctor and get it copy edited.
There is a huge difference between proofreading and copy editing. While proofreading should eliminate all typos, spelling and grammar mistakes, it does nothing to improve your style or narration rhythm, nor is it supposed to spot inaccuracies (whether factual or linked with the content of your book itself).
A copy editor will look at the inner coherency of your story as well and help improve your book .
15. Negotiate everything.
When opting for a package with a self-publisher, it does not hurt to negotiate to receive more free copies, ensuring that their contract as your publisher has an end date etc.
16. Ask a lot of questions and don’t be afraid to complain.
Some companies ask for an extra payment to access live support agent by phone. Though in theory, everything is supposed to go smoothly down the lane, in case of problems, solving these through emails or IM is a slow and frustrating process. So, consider investing the extra dollars in live phone support.
17. Self-publishing is requires networking.
18. How much effort should you devote to get your book in bookstores?
Many bookstores are still reluctant to carry self-published books, and your royalties drop on in-store sales. Starting with Amazon and B&N only is a good strategy. Yet, if you are really bent on seeing your book on shelves, some of the self-publishing outfits offer distribution through Ingram. CreateSpace offers its Expanded Distribution program for a $25 a year fee. It uses Baker & Taylor, as well as Ingram, as well as CreateSpace Direct to make your book available “to certified resellers through our wholesale website.” You also get distribution to Amazon Europe (Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.es, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, Amazon.de).
19. Self-published books rarely get reviewed.
Yet, getting reviews for your book is a major element to promote it. Approaching Amazon top reviewers is a potential way of getting reviews
Traditional book marketing strategies call for mailing hundreds of copies to reviewers at magazines and newspapers. But for a new author and/or a niche book, chasing print reviews can be little more than a distraction. A better way to launch your campaign is by identifying and contacting 100 to 300 potential online reviewers and sending a copy of your book to each respondent who expresses willingness to look at it and perhaps post an honest critique.
If you spend two or three days contacting about 300 potential Amazon reviewers, you can expect to receive about 40 to 50 responses, and wind up with perhaps 35 reviews, a quite satisfactory result.
(Author’s note: Recently Amazon seems to be restricting communications between authors and readers, and not all Amazon Friends invitations have been going through. Whether this is a policy change by Amazon or simply a glitch isn’t known.) 4/13/2009
TRY THE TOP
Look for potential reviewers on Amazon’s Top Reviewers list — which you will find at http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers — and target the people who regularly post reviews of books similar to yours.
When asking for a book review, avoid the classic mistakes done when asking for a book review
Or you can try to get paid reviews at services such as
Kirkus’ reviews service for indie authors though paying the $400 – $550 fee (depending on the speed) does not guarantee that you will get a good review or Publishers Weekly PW Select though paying the $149-$199 fee only gives you a 25% chance of getting a review. [Update December 2012: Scandal about paid book reviews drove Amazon to remove reviews deemed suspicious]
20. Design your book cover to look good small.
Keep in mind that on Amazon and other online book retailers, the icon showing your book cover is small. Making sure that your book cover is legible and attractive in a small format is essential to catching the eye of the potential reader.
21. Maximize your Amazon page.
Amazon offers a few tricks to improve your visibility. Neglecting to take important steps such as proper tagging and opening an author’s page is considerably reducing the chance that your book will fare well in Amazon’s ranking and condemn it to remain at the bottom of the slush pile..
22. Have a pricing strategy.
Getting the right price for your book is a subject of many debates. Have a look at eBook pricing strategy on Amazon for more ideas about the elements to take into account.
23. Consider enhancing your book
A few years ago, digital books were reserved to a few computer savvy readers. Today, enhanced ebooks are still in infancy but no-one knows what the future holds. So enhancing your e-book might boost your exposure in the near future.
24. Self-publishing is a new fast changing business.
New techniques, software, gimmicks etc are sprouting up every day in the digital publishing business. Running a search every two or three months to find out what’s new and how you could use it for your book’s benefit is essential to keep up with the development of the publishing landscape as today’s best practices might be obsolete by next month.