You've typed that last period, and your manuscript is now complete. Congratulations! Your hard work and boundless enthusiasm has you ready to dive into the world of self-publishing.
First things first: familiarize yourself with these four common stumbling blocks of self-publishing. Aside from helping to ensure your enthusiasm isn't dampened by the time your manuscript is ready to be published, awareness of what's to come will help you determine your goals, create a timeline, and highlight some areas you may wish to investigate further.
- Review Your Book – It's extremely common to finish writing and think your work is done. Rightly so: writing a book is both a massive undertaking and huge achievement. However, no book is print-ready without a critical eye. Particularly if you're planning on pursuing an editor's services, the last thing you want is to submit a document peppered with errors that you overlooked. It will save you time (and money) later if you go through and clean it up as much as you can first. Then, when you do get outside help to look it over, their suggestions will be far more constructive.
- Cover Design – The old adage says “never judge a book by its cover” - but readers do. There are many factors at play, from the target market you want to attract and the expectations of certain genres to the font used on your cover. The importance of enlisting a professional to bring your book to life cannot be understated, whether you hire a designer or illustrator independently or purchase cover design services through your publisher. Even if you have a brilliant idea for your cover, your designer's expertise and opinion will polish your concept to a professional standard.
- Rights Use – It may seem simple to just source things from the internet: seemingly unlimited facts and images are at your fingertips with a single Google search. When you self-publish, you are claiming the entire contents of your book as your own created material. In order to include someone's intellectual property - photographs, illustrations, or quoted words - you must obtain permission. Be sure to have all your permission documented prior to publication, because if someone says no, it will cause headaches (even lawsuits!) later. A rule to write by: if you can't find the source, don't use it.
- Making Money – It is possible to make money self-publishing your books and have a career as a writer, or be a public speaker because of your writing. However, know this: it takes a lot of hard work. A great many authors think they'll write a book, become an overnight sensation, and wake up to Hollywood knocking on their door for movie rights. The fact is, you are responsible for your book's success. You have to promote your book. If you're dedicated, it will pay off. Plan your marketing strategies, make connections, build momentum. Don't give up.
Written by Astra Crompton, FriesenPress Author Account Manager
Edited by Brian Cliffen, FriesenPress Marketing Coordinator