When you embark on any new endeavour there is always a steep learning curve. Deciding to publish a book is no different. There are multiple paths you can travel to get to your destination and mounds of information to help you chart your course. However, with a little forward planning you can minimize the detours and stay within your budget. In my experience there are 3 key considerations authors should pay attention to before getting started.
Certainly if I could retrace my steps these are the 3 biggest mistakes I would have wanted to avoid.
Not having a marketing plan
Books don’t sell themselves. Authors don’t build a brand overnight. It takes time and patience. There has to be a deliberate strategy behind how authors develop their public presence. This should ideally start before the books hit the shelves. Marketing should start before publishing so that there is a ready audience once published. This could include sneak previews of the book, cover reveal or a preorder campaign. Marketing would encompass not just your social media presence, but any activity that is directed at increasing awareness of your brand.
Not having an updated website
Your website is an anchor for your brand. It really isn’t sufficient to rely on your social media platforms as your primary place to store your information. Rather, your website should be the place where your audience will find information on your products and services, media links and information about you. You should always aim to redirect people who visit your social media pages to your website. It should serve as a permanent store of information and point of contact especially in the event that any of your social media sites are disabled.
Not having a budget
Do a little research beforehand to get an overall idea of what it will cost to publish your book. I had no idea what illustrations would cost when I started and I quickly learnt that you get what you pay for. In particular, consider the cost (if any) for the publishing platform you plan to use, the cost for illustrations/photographs and book layout costs. There will be additional costs but having an estimate of these core costs will help you to stay within your budget as well as to plan a realistic time frame for publishing. Publishing can be costly, especially if you want to create a beautiful product. It’s good to know what you’re working with before you get started.
If you can start your self-publishing journey with these 3 considerations in mind things will unfold a little more smoothly. Having a marketing plan, a website and a budget from the outset are good places to start.