Self-publishing – is it as easy as it sounds?

Does it all feel too hard?

Are you wondering if it’s even worth it?

You’re right to feel this way. It can be difficult to be overwhelmed with the journey ahead and wonder if it’s just too much work for too little return.

After all, so many people have a dream of being published and wonder if self-publishing is even an option…

So let’s talk about that.

Today’s blog is about self-publishing – is it as easy as it sounds?

In this article, we will cover:


Self-publishing – is it at easy as it sounds?

Self-Publishing-is it as easy as it sounds

This is one of the questions I was asked recently to include in my daily video.

And the answer to this question is yes and also no. It’s not exactly a black and white answer.

It’s one of those things where it’s simple but not easy.

I spent thousands of hours researching this in my own book journey, using a lot of trial and error – probably quite a bit more error – in being able to get my book out to the world and get it seen.

And now I do it with book coaching and publishing clients. So I can confidently tell you it’s something which can take a lot of time and effort. You can easily go down the wrong path, but at the same time if you know what you’re doing and you have all the steps, it is simple to follow.

Although it can be difficult to maintain the momentum and enthusiasm to get all the details right!

Watch this video if you prefer

If you’d rather watch a video than read a blog, here it is!

Build your audience first

Build your audience firstThere are lots of moving parts to self-publishing because there are a lot of technical considerations as well as activities such as marketing and promotion so that your book is actually seen and gets into the hands of the right people.

Most self-published authors sell less than 100 books and that’s because they’ve sold it to friends, family, a couple of clients and a few randoms.

This happens when authors have not taken the time to build an audience. They don’t have a platform and they don’t how to build their audience, and they don’t promote it.

One of the worst things you can do is waiting until the book is about to launch and then say to your friends and family “Oh, my book is coming out tomorrow. Please buy it.”

They think that they just write it and pop it up on Amazon, that all of a sudden it will sell.

“Build it and they were come” is the worst advice ever. (Thanks, Kevin Costner).

This is not the case in this day and age.

But before we worry about audience, let’s look at all the steps you need to take before you even start writing your book.

Create your vision

Create your visionBefore you write, you must set yourself up for success.

To do this, you need to create a vision.

Why are you writing the book?

What do you hope to get out of it?

Get your vision and objective clear so that you know what you’re aiming for.

I wrote a blog on this called : What is the crucial first step which most people miss?

Are you writing the right book to achieve your goals?

If you have multiple book ideas, which one can you leverage most easily or which most aligns with your core business or goals/objective?

Who is going to read it?

Who is your ideal client?

What do you want them to think/feel/do as a result of reading your book?

What’s it going to do for you and your business?

The list goes on…

Have all of this clear before you start doing anything else. Don’t just start writing!

Plan your outline

Plan your outlineThe next step, again before you start writing, is to plan the book structure and write your outline.

What genre are you writing?

What style are you writing in?

How many chapters do you need?

What’s your message?

Where is your audience’s level of knowledge so that you work out where the book should start (and finish)… For example, are you starting with the basics, or do you assume they have a certain level of knowledge and that’s where you’re starting?

Think very carefully about the kind of book you’re writing, who you’re writing it for and where they will be when they’re finished reading. If you want them to work with you, make sure they come to you with a base level of knowledge or experience so that they are your ideal client.

Setting yourself up for success with writing

Setting yourself up for success with writingIf you’re writing a memoir and you’re writing creative non-fiction style (my favourite), do you have the right balance of dialogue, action, description, thought, action, emotion…? What’s the balance in the book?

Are you writing every day?

If not every day, are you writing regularly, in smaller chunks, rather than saving up for mammoth writing sessions?

Are you allowing yourself to be imperfect?

Are you refraining from editing as you go? I don’t allow my clients to do this, because this is how you end up with a perfect Chapter 1 and no Chapter 20.

 

Then comes the editing

Then comes the editingAnd then it’s time for editing… Are you getting your book professionally edited?

Please say yes.

You really, really, really need to get your book edited, no matter how great a writer you are and how good you think the book is.

And not just one edit…especially if you have written the book on your own, I’d go for three edits… A developmental edit, a line/copy edit, and then a proofread as well once it’s all formatted.

One of the line editors in my team said “If people come to me who have written the book on their own, they always need developmental editing first. If they have had assistance with writing it, and it’s in good shape, they can often get away with only a line edit.”

Please don’t skimp on editing. If you had to choose between investing in book coaching or editing, I’d rather you go for editing!

Book cover design

Book Cover DesignLet’s not fool ourselves, people do judge a book by its cover.

It’s essential to have a professional book cover design.

Please, please don’t even think about doing this yourself – unless you are actually an experienced graphic designer. Even then, if you are experienced with corporate design, for example, this may not translate into a good book cover.

I worked in marketing and media for 15 years before I wrote my first book and became a qualified coach, and I know that graphic designers tend to have a signature ‘style’, and while this can work for many application, book cover design has so many important elements.

A great cover will make the difference between people giving your book a chance or completely passing it by, whether that be in paperback or ebook format.

Uploading for sale

Uploading for saleWhen you’re putting it on Amazon and others sales platforms, make sure you are setting it up correctly.

Be sure to set up your author page and also the book listing correctly.

Search for the right keywords so that people can find your book.

Do you have reviews?

It’s imperative to get reviews for your book. I’d suggesting aiming for at least 20 reviews – both 4 and 5 star. Nobody expects you to have ALL 5-star reviews, but obviously on the upper end is important.

This is something you can arrange with your beta readers and launch crew. Get people who have read the book (prior to launch) to write a review and post it on launch day. You will need to remind them on the day.

Ideally, ask them to write an actual review, not just give it stars.

Reviews are important, because if you run Amazon ads or ads on any other platform, when someone gets to your book, they need to see those reviews because social proof is one of the most important factors in selling your book.

Audience

AudienceHopefully you’ve been talking about your book writing journey as you go. I always tell my clients “Don’t just write the book and then suddenly tell everyone the day before you launch it!”

Did you have an audience to start with? If you didn’t have an audience to start with, you’ve got to build your audience as you go… while you’re writing…

It’s important to market with your audience, so they feel part of the journey. Don’t just market to them when you want to sell it.

Post photos of your writing journey, your victories, your struggles, your content, and how the whole experience has been.

Talk about how your writing went today. Was it a good day writing? Was it a bad day writing?

What’s happening?

What are you teaching in your book?

Share some value…

People love to see what you are working on and will develop a natural interest in your book, rather than feeling like you’re trying to push it on them when it’s done.

Promotion

PromotionBesides the connections you already have, who’s going to buy your book?

Do you need to run ads?

Do you need to run a challenge?

Are you in groups talking about it?

What are you doing to tell people about you and your message so they can follow you and find out you’re writing a book?

Think about how to build your audience before your book launch.

Once your book is out there, how are you promoting it? Are you doing ongoing marketing?

I have some business partners who do book launches and then follow-up with a 12 month marketing plan where they’re consistently using your book, putting it out there and promoting it, tying it into a blog, and following a content strategy to contribute to your business objectives.

Keep talking about your book, and using your book…

Are you using it to get speaking gigs or media or new clients? Are you using it as a lead magnet? Are you using it to warm up cold leads?

There’s a whole lot of ways you can use your book, so make sure you’re getting it out there consistently. Don’t just publish it and then ‘BAM!’ You think it’s going to take care of itself, because it won’t.

Is it still overwhelming, or does it sound fun?

CatThis blog outlined the basics of self-publishing.

I’m not sure if that sounds like it’s easy to you or if you’re still overwhelmed?!

I enjoyed the process for my first book, and I enjoyed the learning. But honestly, there were a lot of moving parts, thousands of hours of research and at times it was pretty daunting. And I think it’s what puts people off self-publishing. There are just so many steps.

I have an Authority Leader Checklist you can download here which will guide you through preparing to write, writing, editing, publishing, promotion, and leveraging to reach your goals.

I’ll be honest, there are a lot of steps… 50 in total… and these aren’t 50 small steps – these are 50 steps which can each take days, weeks or even months.

If you want to shortcut all of that and just cut through the noise and know exactly what to what to do and have someone to hold your hand through the process, I’m happy to have a chat with you about your book idea and potential book journey.

Please use this link to book a quick chat with me. This isn’t a sales call (unless you want it to be), but if we establish that a book is a good idea for you, we can set up a longer chat to talk about how the process would work if you wanted to join us at Change Empire Books.

Schedule a chat with me here

Until next time, happy writing.

Cat x


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