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How To Self-Publish a Novel

Congratulations! You’ve decided to self-publish your novel. It’s a big step to take and you’re probably feeling a little nervous about it. Have you made the right choice? Are you going to take a huge financial hit? Are people going to like your book or is it going to be a major flop?

Knowing how to self-publish a novel can help you avoid many of the mistakes that other writers have made over the years when they’ve made a similar decision. Follow these steps and those butterflies in your gut won’t have a reason to be flying around any more.

#1. Pick your preferred self-publishing provider. There are numerous options available to authors today who want to self-publish. CreateSpace is a particularly popular choice, but there are plenty of publishing houses that also have a self-publishing division. Look at the prices, compare and contrast what the offers are, and choose the deal that is best for you. Sometimes you can lock-in a sale price if you publish within a year – that can help to save you even more cash when you’re ready to bring your book to the market.

#2. Start building your platform right now. No publisher is going to consider your novel if you don’t have some sort of online platform established. Get active on Twitter. Grow a Facebook following. Start writing a Tumblr blog. These platforms can deliver customers who want to purchase your novel. When you’re self-publishing a novel, the same principles apply. This is where you’re going to be able to make your most money. Have an honest voice, provide a unique perspective, and let the traffic begin to build.

#3. Know your limits. Did you know that the average book fits within a window of 40,000 to 80,000 words? That means you can have a novel ready for self-publication in just a couple of months, even if you’re just writing 1,000 words per day. But it’s also important to know your limits. Self-publishing means making sure your novel is completely edited. You’ll need revisions more often than not. This takes time to complete. Having an access to a solid self-publishing checklist can really help you out here.

#4. You cannot overlook the importance of design. A good design will make or break the presentation of a novel. Many authors will complain about the interior design of their books especially,  though that might be because many of them don’t usually have a say about the final product as part of their agreements. In self-publishing, you get to have the final say. You get to put out a product that you’re proud to have represent you. Take your time with the little details, like the fonts, flaps, and spine, so you can have a very marketable product.

#5. Consider all of your options. Since the negative stigma on self-publishing has disappeared, you have plenty of options to add to your credibility as an author. One of them is the addition of an audiobook. Not only does doing an audiobook force you to take a new look at what you’ve written, but it also gives you an added revenue stream that wasn’t available for self-publishing in the past.

#6. Spend some extra time with your title. You get full control over your title when you self-publish. Many authors are surprised when this isn’t always the case with a more traditional publisher. The only problem is that the title of your novel that sounds awesome to you might not necessarily be the best possible title for your book. Come up with about a dozen different titles for your book and then test them with your online platform. This will show you which ones get the best feedback so you know what is the most marketable. If you need a subtitle, then follow this method as well.

#7. Think about using professional marketing. You can market a self-published book on your own if you have a shoe-string budget, but an outside agency can make all the difference in the world. It’s a lot easier to schedule interviews, podcasts, book signings, and speaking engagements when someone else is doing the work for you.

#8. Don’t underestimate the power of a review. People will read books based on the reviews others leave for it. A book with no reviews is a book that isn’t going to be read. It’s that simple. If you give early readers a chance to offer reviews on a public forum somewhere, you’ll be able to have even more potential customers.

Knowing how to self-publish a novel means finding the right publishing platform, getting your manuscript right, and being prepared to market your work afterward day after day. If you can do that as you follow these steps, you’ll have a great chance to experience success.

Melissa G Wilson

Melissa has been a leader in the book writing, publishing and marketing arena for the past two decades. To date, she has helped more than 100 thought leaders write, publish and market their books. Her clients include executives such as Dan Weinfurter a seven-time Inc 500 winner and Orlando Ashford, President of Holland Cruise Lines.

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