Tips to Achieve Success in Self-Publishing Inspired by Author Jamie McGuire
You’ve finally finished writing your book. Now what? Now, you get it published. It may not be as easy as 1-2-3, but it is completely possible.
Before landing a print deal with the retail giant Wal-Mart, Jamie McGuire was primarily a hands-on self-publishing author. She catapulted the new adult genre to popularity with her international bestseller Beautiful Disaster. The sequel, Walking Disaster, debuted #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. Her success is attributed not only to her writing, but also to the hard work she put in to publish her works. So how do we exactly become a successful self-published author like Jamie McGuire? Take a page from her book and follow these practical tips:
1. Iron out all the legal matters first.
Copyrighting is a must if you want to publish your own book. After pouring sweat, tears, and maybe some blood in writing a book, you would want to make sure that you’re given due credit for it. Copyrights protect your work from anyone trying to claim it as their own or use it without expressed permission. To avoid problems and confusions during distribution, apply for an ISBN or International Standard Book Number. An ISBN is a set of numbers used by booksellers, libraries, book wholesalers, and distributors to identify books. If you plan to sell your book in any means, you have to get an ISBN. On the other hand, a barcode is necessary only if your plan to sell in bookstores.
2. Create a professional author
As a soon-to-be published writer, your author bio is just as important as the book description. Create a professional bio. Be yourself, but don’t be too personal. As Jamie says about author bios, “They can be short and sweet, or long and fluffy. You decide what makes you look best, and go with it.”
3. Appearance matters! Decide on an appealing book cover.
There’s a popular English idiom that says, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” That may be true in some cases. But nowadays with the explosion of multimedia, the book industry must learn to compete and adapt to the times. Plus, an interesting and provoking book cover is a great way to grab readers’ attention. How you present your book says a lot about you as a professional. If you’re drawing and designing skills are not up to par with your writing prowess, consider getting a professional artist. You stay involved by pitching ideas and expectations to your artist. You get what you want without doing the actual drawing and designing.
4. Entice readers with a killer synopsis.
A synopsis is to the book what a trailer is to a movie. You have a fantastic cover and an attention-grabbing title. Now, you have to communicate to your potential readers just how great the content is. That’s the job of a book description. Take a look at leads on news stories. They’re brief, but they pack quite a punch.
5. Let your book go through a rigorous editing process—once, twice, thrice, multiple times!
Before you publish a book, it has to go through the critical eyes of an editor. If perfection is not plausible, then settle on the closest thing to it. By getting a professional to look over your book, you have another set of eyes to notice errors, inconsistencies, plot holes, and the likes. An editor can help you smooth out these bumps. Jamie recommends hiring different people for line editing, copy editing, and proofreading. In her own words, “No one person can catch every mistake. I have yet to find a novel without a single typo, but do strive to make your product the best it can be. I’ve realized a fresh pair of eyes for each level of editing works best.”
6. Decide on the price and manners of distribution of your book.
Now that you’ve become a published author, you have to make some necessary decisions for your book. From to the price of the book to the modes of distribution, you have to be hands on all the way. According to Jamie, “For print, you must decide on a price that will offset the cost of production, and it must still be reasonable for the buyer.”
E-books are a different matter. They’re less costly to produce, so they can be priced lower. In the end, it’s up to you how much you want your book to be worth. However, you have to take in some considerations to encourage people to buy them. But that doesn’t stop you from giving book promos or giveaways.
7. Take advantage of the vast networks of the Internet to promote your book.
Getting a book published is tough. However, getting it noticed is even tougher. Fortunately, the Internet is here to help. Through the Internet, you can reach out to as many people as you want all over the world. Jamie suggests building a website. It’s a great way to market your book and for readers to learn more about you and your works. As a rule, Jamie says, “Your website is like your appearance, it’s the first thing people see, and yes, it is a direct representation of you as an author. So, be it modern, whimsical, bright, monochrome, or vintage, keep the look you, and keep it professional.”
Other than a professional website, take advantage of the fantastic features in social media sites to market your book. Get into Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and many more to let the world know about your published works.