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You’ve written an amazing book, sure to be the next runaway bestseller, but what now? If you’ve decided to skip the traditional publishing route, that means that the one now in charge of making sure that your book looks good and sells well is you.
Well, crap, you think to yourself. I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t even know where to start.
While my biggest advice to you would, of course, be to use our services and let us do all this annoying stuff for you, if you’re determined to have a go of it on your own, here are five quick tips to start you on your way:
1. Make an author account with Amazon
Amazon has some amazing services to help you self-publish. Using their Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) site, you can upload your manuscript, make a book cover (or upload one of your own), and publish your book as an ebook, paperback, or both. And by the way, you can download manuscript templates here for the size and type of your book and then just plug in your content and upload to Amazon when you’re ready.
2. Design your own book cover
It might sound intimidating, but designing your own book cover really is the way to go. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with using Amazon KDP’s book cover maker, you’ll end up with something pretty cookie cutter as a result, and whatever the wisdom of the ages says, people really do judge books by their covers. Luckily, there are lots of excellent resources out there to help you.
Fotor has a free book cover making site (though watch out, as you can only have five active projects there at a time), unsplash.com has a ton of great stock photos you can use for free, and great photo editor sites like Pixlr X can help you get your images looking exactly how you want them. (Also definitely check out Canva, which has a ton of really nifty things you can do for free.)
3. Make a website
No matter what kind of book you’re publishing, it’s a good idea to have a website so readers can find out more about the book and you as an author. You can make a website strictly for the book itself, or you can make an Official Author Website that includes your other works, a blog, and info about you, as well.
If you’re not sure where to start, WordPress is always a good option (and you can have a website there for free, provided you don’t mind having “.wordpress” affixed to your URL). You can also snag a free website through Wix, GoDaddy, and a lot of other places. Just search for “get a free website” and see what strikes your fancy.
4. Start a social media presence
Like it or not, we live in the age of social media, and that means that if you want your indie book to succeed, you’re going to need to get the word out that it exists, and social media is the best way to do that. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook seem to be the standards, though really any social media platform will do the job.
Quick basic tips for Twitter, which we’ll discuss in more detail in a future post: (1) Make sure it’s clear from your name and profile who you are and where people can find your website and/or book, (2) always have a pinned post at the top of your profile so people can easily access your book and/or website, and (3) use hashtags in your posts so more than just your followers can find you.
5. Consider getting help if you need it
There’s a lot that goes into publishing a book. Even if you’ve written a truly spectacular piece of work, your book won’t hold up to the traditionally published stuff if it’s not edited and formatted properly, and we already discussed the importance of having a spiffy cover to go along with it. It is entirely possible to self-publish a book without spending any money at all, but it’s also important to be realistic about what you can and can’t do yourself.
If you decide not to have your manuscript professionally edited (and hey, did I mention that we can do that for you? ‘Cuz we can. :D), then I’d highly recommend finding a beta reader to have a look at it for you before you publish it. Goodreads has a beta reader group, and TCK Publishing has a Complete Guide to Beta Readers resource post you can check out here.
And if you look at this list and think that this is all just Too Much and you’d rather have someone swoop in and, for a very reasonable price, take care of all this crazy stuff for you, check out our main page for info on our nifty author services and writer-friendly prices.