Here are some quick tips I’ve learned while self-publishing “Toilets In Pakistan”:
1. Don’t skimp out on important things
The cover, proofreading, appropriate ebook and print formatting, getting someone to critique your work for improvements… these are just some examples of important things you should NOT cheap out on. Yes, self-publishing doesn’t have to cost anything, but your finished work does. You have to financially invest in the quality of your work to compete with professionally published works and to gain consumer trust. This means paying someone to design your book, professionally edit and proofread, etc. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune: The internet is bursting with people offering professional services at affordable rates, such as at fiverr.com .
2. Recognize and accept what you can’t do on your own
Don’t waste hours on paint programs trying to design your own cover if you have no skills in graphic design, or if you want a highly detailed cover. I created my own cover because I was going for a basic, minimalist look, common amongst books like this.
Unless you’re a computer programmer, coding expert, or other tech professional, don’t format an ebook yourself. Despite what you see in fancy previewers, the end result is bound to have errors and won’t translate appropriately across different devices. I got someone on Fiverr to format mine for under $10. You can do formatting for a print version yourself, however, since you can usually order a proof copy to check for any mistakes. Don’t rely on your own editing/proofreading skills, no matter how professional you are in this area.
3. Research similar titles
This is essential to understanding market trends and how to price and design your book.
4. Don’t rush
It’s so tempting to just publish something when all it takes is the click of a button, but beware: Until you’re 100% satisfied with your finished work and have re-read it to death, and then put it aside for a few days and re-read it again, don’t publish your work. Once you publish it, it’s out there for anyone to see, and many sites keep a permanent page up for it even if you pull it off the market. Rushing results in sloppy work and mediocre mistakes. Don’t fall prey.
5. Market appropriately
Putting your work out there is only half the battle; getting people to know it exists is the other half. Research marketing ideas and begin getting the word out well before your book is actually available. Focus your energy and resources on marketing to the right crowds and across the right platforms. If you’re writing about nutritional advice for seniors, don’t rely on internet marketing: Get into retirement homes or the local bingo. If you’re writing about cultural/ethnic topics, find places where diverse work is actively promoted or sought.
Self-publishing should not be “lazy”-publishing or even easy-publishing. If you’re serious about your work and want it to be respected, take time to craft a quality product you can be confident in.