This guest post is by Srinivas Rao of BlogcastFM.
Self-publishing is a hot trend. People’s eyes are lit up by the possibility of actually making money from their content. But there’s more to it than throwing together a PDF, uploading it to Amazon, and waiting for a check to arrive in the mail. The most successful self published authors treat their books as if they’re working with a publisher.
While it’s easier than ever to publish something to Amazon, the low barrier to entry has flooded the Kindle store with less than stellar content. Much like the blogosphere, only the best rise to the top, while the rest get lost in a sea of noise.
After many conversations with several successful self-published authors, we’ve narrowed their advice down to 5 essential elements.
It might seem obvious, but good content is the foundation for a good book, much like it is for a successful blog. You could execute the mechanics of self-publishing to perfection, but if the content falls short it doesn’t matter.
The fact that you’ve self-published is already a strike against you in the eyes of the average reader. Many of the self-published books on Amazon are poorly edited—if they’re edited at all. If you’re serious about the success of your self-published book, you can’t put a price on a good editor. Good editing can make the difference between an average book and a great one.
You could write the greatest book in the world. But if there’s no audience for it, you’re not going to sell many copies. Building a platform enables you to build an audience prior to the launch of the book. A platform could be any of these:
- a blog
- a Twitter presence
- a Facebook Fan page
- an email List
Simply putting your book on Amazon is not enough to make it a big success, especially if you’re not a well-known author. A solid platform is an essential tool for effectively promoting your book. But the platform alone is not going to be enough to promote your book. You’ll need to come up with a killer marketing plan for the launch of your book. For more advice on effective promotion, the following interviews provide invaluable insights.
- How Mike Michalowiz Sold 2000 Copies of His Book in 24 Hours
- How Jonathan Fields Became a Career Renegade
People make snap decisions on the web all day long. In this case, the old mantra “don’t judge a book by its cover” is nonsense. Books are definitely judged by their cover on Amazon. Below I’ve included two examples of self published books (one with a bad cover and one that was professionally designed). As you can see, design makes a big difference.
The best advice
The best advice I’ve ever received on how to successfully self-publish a book is to treat it just as if you’re working with a publisher. Sit down and outline every step that would be involved if you were working with a publisher. That means design, editing, and anything else a publisher would help you with are your responsibility. The only difference is that nobody is holding you accountable, so you you’ll have to be highly motivated to create the best possible book yourself.
Have you ever self-published a book? Share your tips for success with us in the comments.