Self-publishing a book is really an exciting, frustrating, and emotional time, and it’s easy to lose focus along the way — believe me, I know — because I just released my new book, From Book to Bestseller this past fall and it’s been a love-hate relationship from the start.
But I always say it’s a lot easier with smart planning, and I stick by that.
If you take self-publishing a book one step at a time, and check all those boxes, cross the T’s and dot the I’s, you’re not only more likely to end up with a final product you’re proud of, you’re much more likely to end up with a final product readers gravitate toward, recommend, and review positively.
Step 1: Writing Is About You
And I don’t mean it’s just about that bucket list item, or getting that fantastic idea on paper, of course that’s important, but you want your book to be a reflection of you.
Be a true fan of your genre. Be an active, passionate thought leader for your topic. Collaborate with a great editor.
Self-publishing a book is a great honor that gives you full control every step of the way — don’t waste that kind of autonomy.
Step 2: Publishing Is About the Book
This is where it gets more technical, but it’s equally as critical as what goes into the content.
Collaborate with a well-versed interior person. Hire a really amazing book cover designer, the best your budget allows.
Self-publishing a book also means you get to decide whether you go directly to Amazon, or if you hire a company to help with the printing of the book, or even distribution.
There are a lot of business decisions to make at this stage, and if it’s your first time, or your 5th (but you know you’ve screwed a few things up in the past), consider doing a consultation with a professional to ensure you’re covering all the bases. Avoiding major missteps could be the difference between a book falling flat, and hitting a coveted bestseller list in your category.
Step 3: Marketing Is About the Reader
This is where it gets fun! But it’s also where a lot of authors make a big mistake. Meaning, if you don’t make the marketing about the readers, it leads you down a path that doesn’t produce the kinds of sales or reviews you’re hoping for.
Remember, you’re not throwing your books at people as you drive down the street!
I know that’s a ridiculous thing to imagine, but that’s essentially how a lot of authors try to market their books and then end up disappointed. Sell, sell, sell, push, push, push. “Buy my stuff!”
Lots of wasted time.
And don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s because self-publishing a book is less lucrative than getting a publisher. That’s a total myth I’m tired of hearing it repeated.
In reality, if you focus less on shouting so loud, and focus more on ensuring your retail pages, your website, your social media, and yes, all your marketing efforts, are optimized to entice readers to come to you out of pure interest, you’re going to be so much closer to actually making the sale — and you’ll be wasting a lot less time.
Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a bestselling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She was named one of the top influencers of 2019 by New York Metropolitan Magazine.
Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Amazon visibility campaigns as well offering national media pitching, online book marketing, author events, and other strategies designed to build the author/book visibility.
She is the author of 18 books, including "How to Sell Your Books by the Truckload on Amazon," "Revise and Re-Release Your Book", "5-Minute Book Marketing for Authors," and the newly-released “From Book to Bestseller”
AME has had dozens of books on top bestseller lists, including those of the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal.
To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.