There are a lot of things I wish I’d known before I’d jumped into self-publishing for the first time. While I can’t give advice to my past self, I can definitely give it to other people who are still working out the process for themselves. So here are seven things I’ve learned about self-publishing over the past year!
Tip One: Give yourself time.
I do not mean get yourself a set date and sprint to the finish line. I mean — genuinely — that if you know nothing about publishing right now, then you need to make sure you have enough room to figure it out before you put your novel out there. Rushing will overwhelm you.
You will need room to learn what you can do yourself, and what you need to hire other people to do. You will need room to edit. You will need room to contact reviewers and hear back from them. You will need time, or else you will come to the release date, and realize that you’re not ready yet — like I did my first time! It’s a terrifying moment, and you can avoid it entirely if you’re cautious enough with your planning.
Tip Two: You will have to be social.
Writers are often assumed to be introverts, and to an extent, that holds true; sitting alone for hours to pen down our innermost stories is not an inherently social task.
But a self-published authors must also be their own advocate — and part of advocating for your work is learning how to market it. A lot of writers look at marketing and think they can’t do it without paying somebody to do it for them. Or without fancy graphics, or without industry connections, or without a high-traffic blog, or without so many advertisement-related things we think of when we say “marketing.”
But you can advocate for your writing in a lot of ways. Show off artwork of your characters! Start a discord! Create a TVTropes page! Talk to book clubs! Find places where your interests align and combine them in new and exciting ways to get other people excited about your stories too.
Tip Three: Flexibility can go a long way.
When you experience a roadblock, such as a rejection, or a lack of funds for a certain part of the project, it doesn’t mean that your project is dead in the water. It just means that you need to find a new way to get things done.
Sometimes, that means you have to put in the time to learn a new skillset. The best part about developing new skillsets is that once you have that skill, you can apply it more easily to your next project. Maybe it’ll take you three months to figure out how to design your book the first time, but that means that you’ll already have the process worked out for the next book you design.
(And it’s okay if you need to adjust your launch date to give yourself time to figure these things out. Again, I had to do that for my own book, and it turned out okay!)
Tip Four: Mind your ISBN & Barcode
I’ve discussed ISBN on one of my previous posts, and I’ll discuss barcodes in a future one. For now I’ll just say that you really need to do your research on these. You could end up spending a lot of money in ways that you don’t need to if you don’t.
Tip Five: Mind your fonts.
Not all fonts are equal in the world of publishing. Some fonts are more readable than others, and some fonts are more aesthetically resonant with your story than others, but what trips up a fresh self-publishing author is often copyright and publishing platform compatibility.
Check to make sure that each font you use is acceptable for commercial use, and prepare some backup fonts just in case it doesn’t mesh with one of your publishing platforms. (For instance, I had to replace one of my numbering fonts because it wasn’t compatible with Barnes & Noble.)
Tip Six: Writing the book is the easy part…
Tip Seven: …But that doesn’t mean that publishing isn’t rewarding too.
And that’s it for me on publishing today If you want to support me as a creator, you can buy me a Ko-fi or purchase Shadow Herald. Thank you, and have a lovely day!