Last week’s Anxious Author post, 3 Rookie Mistakes New Authors Make, touched on a few uncomfortable truths that many newcomers face when deciding to self-publish. Uncomfortable truths aren’t fun and in the beginning, they’re difficult to swallow. Unfortunately, as with any industry, self-publishing isn’t going to be a smooth ride for anyone. Hurdles appear that we never expected, and sometimes they make us doubt whether we are capable of achieving what we set out to do.
Self-publishing is quite a personal journey, but if we plan to make money from our books and develop an author career, there are things we all need before we start. In the beginning, some new authors may feel that all we need are pens, notebooks, and some can-do positivity. If we don’t plan to make a career or any money out of the books we publish, then that’s absolutely all we need. But taking on self-publishing as a career requires a few important things before we begin.
In the early years of self-publishing, you could more or less throw your book into the market with a so-so cover and make some money off it. This is a bit of an exaggeration, but standing out was a lot easier, due in no small part to the scarcity of self-published books on self-publishing platforms. These days, in order to stand out, we need a good chunk of start-up money to pay for a good cover, good editing, and some advertising.
In an ideal world, any self-published author who writes a great book would go straight to the top of the bestseller lists. But in the real world, we need to put a lot of time and money into a self-publishing venture. Before we begin taking self-publishing seriously, every author needs a start-up fund to really get the ball rolling.
If we plan to make money writing books, we have to know what the market is like for our genre. This might involve taking to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other self-publishing sites to investigate who is publishing what in our genre. What the bestsellers look like, how the blurbs are written, and the contents are great indicators as to what our target audiences want, and listening to this gives us a good head-start in releasing a successful book.
Having a basic understanding of who we are releasing our books to and what they want out of a book can help us create a product that will be enjoyed by many. This of course means more royalties for us, too!
Know How To Write A Good Book
This sounds so simple, but it isn’t. I spent over a decade writing books before I self-published one, and they were all thoroughly rubbish. A combination of reading good books and practicing writing eventually meant I could write a readable first draft, which become better after some thorough editing. That’s not to say it will take this long for everyone, but one thing is for sure, it’s very difficult to write a good book if it’s a first attempt.
Studying the craft by both reading and doing will hone our abilities to produce a well-written book. Realising what our writing flaws are and working to address them is the mark of a dedicated writer who will only continue to improve. People who are the best at what they do become so by always learning more about their field, even if they are considered experts.
We can always better prepare ourselves for a self-publishing venture, and so long as we have done all our research, raised enough funds, and know our craft, we got this!
Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here!