Thinking About Self-Publishing?

So you want to self publish your book? Great! Technology is in a place right now that makes it a great time to do just that. Googling a few phrases like " I want to self-publish" "Is self-publishing for me?" "Tips to self-publish" "How can I be a published author?" "Will traditional big box publishers offer me a book deal" "How do I find an agent?" will tell you most of what you need to know, so I won't go on about that. 

What I will say is this: Write well. 

Today books can easily look like a book published by a large publisher. You'll need a nice cover design, orderly interior page design, ISBN and a good Print on Demand printer. That's it. So to compete in the marketplace you'll need to have a well written manuscript before you approach a literary agent, traditional publisher or a book sherpa, like myself. DIY self publishing does not really give you a pass for not completing these important tasks at a professional level of expertise. Keep in mind though, you don't have to be "THE PROFESSIONAL" in all those areas. You can find experts to help. 

Manuscripts that come to me are usually years in the making and the authors often have had a book coach or strategist to massage their story preparing the way to go to the next stage of copyediting. Sometimes book coaches are also copyeditors and can do that work too, but in publishing, more eyes are always better.

Copyediting will ensure that the voice, syntax, and grammar is correct. They will also check that the writing style is consistent, either AP or Chicago. Errors of story holes or inconsistency will be questioned and fixed. This process is sometimes hard as the author thinks the submitted manuscript should have been good-to-go, but really this process is like making sure all the frosting gets on the cake. And cake is always better with frosting, right? 

Proofreading is the next step. The proofreader needs to be someone who has not spent hours of time already looking at the manuscript. A fresh perspective is needed. If you have gotten this far in the writing process then good for you! You may be ready to upload your files and get published. If you’re not sure or want to have a partner that can help you, now is a great time to find one. As always, I am here to help.

Your Extra-fabulous Book Launch Planning Guide

You’ll want to launch your book with a bang so good planning is at the heart of making sure your extra-fabulous book launch is a complete success. Here are a few guidelines and ideas to help get you started.

Get Prepared

Timeline: 2 – 4 months before book release

Some Tasks:

  • Tweak your website – Fine-tune and prep your website for maximum impact.

  • Optimize your Amazon page – Get your book cover and description up on Amazon. Don’t forget to define your categories and tweak your author biography.

  • Schedule media interviews – Reach out to journalists and influencers. Have a great press release ready to go.

  • Write and send a press release – Send your PR to your local media outlets, anyone associated with your launch (like the venue) and try a few online resources for PR such as HARO and PR Hunters.

  • Schedule guest blog posts – Reach out to blogs that compliment or align with your book topic.

  • Find a venue for your launch party – Be creative and find a venue that is meaningful to you or aligns with your book topic or content.

  • Recruit your launch team – It takes a village, so plan on having a few key people assisting you at the event. Your muse, graphic designer, event coordinator, and street team can help you stay on track, help your event look polished, and keep the energy high.

  • Build your email list – If you have not started a email list, do it now. You can use a service like Mailchimp or Constant Contact. And don’t forget to have a pop-up email boxes on your website.

  • Your GoodReads page – Super readers use GoodReads to find great books, and they also use it to recommend books to friends. Get your profile started then add your book info. Better yet, List a Giveaway and get more buzz for your book.

  • Get book reviews - Use to request book reviews from real folks who will give real feedback.


Timeline: 30 days before launch

Some Tasks:

  • Finish planning your launch party – The devil is in the details. This is your party and your time to shine. Make it fun for you and your guests by being super prepared.

  • Make a 30-day plan - Create a plan that includes 3-5 touch points each week leading up to the launch day. It can be an email on Monday, a social media post on Wednesday, then a blog post on Friday.

  • Email campaign- Send a series of emails to your list introducing them to your book. Remember, you don’t want to send messages saying, “Buy my book! rather find a way to get your list saying “I gotta buy this book!”

  • Develop your Media kit - Include a short and long bio, your social media handles, and high resolution images of your book cover and of you.

  • Social media campaign- Design a few images (try Canva App for on the go mobile images you can customize) that you can post on Instagram (that will push to Facebook automatically) or use Linkedin or Pinterest depending on your content.

  • Launch action plan- Assign activities to your team with all the details of who, what, where, and when.

  • Online pre-party- Think about hosting an online event to gain some buzz before your launch. Try Periscope, YouTube, or Facebook Live.


Timeline: A month or two after your launch

Some tasks:

  • Media interviews – The book is ready in hand and you have launched with a party. Now go talk about it with media and influencers.

  • Post-launch email campaign – These are the emails that come out after your book releases.

  • Speaking events – If public speaking is your thing, this is one of the best ways to sell books. You’ve set these up ahead of time, and now is the time to start speaking! Be sure to give those in the audience a way to sign up for your newsletter list.

  • Book signings and public readings – Make sure you keep a schedule of all these events so you don’t double-book yourself. Find the best way to keep all your appointments organized and timely. Maybe try using Google Calendar or Trello.

  • Amazon advertising – As a self-published author, you’ll need to use every tool available, so get ready to hit the go button on your Amazon ads.

If You Sell Your Book Online You Must Now Collect/Pay Sales Tax To Other States. Learn The Rules in Your State.

Ever since the Supreme Court issued its decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, states have been issuing guidance and additional resources for businesses that meet their definitions of remote seller. Find out how your state set up their initial guidance and how to proceed post-Wayfair. Resources such as FAQs for remote sellers, state activity such as going through a legislative process that impacts remote sellers, and Federal activity in reaction to the Wayfair decision can be found at the Sales Tax Institute’s website.

Click here to learn how your state is responding.

Should I Self-publish or Find a Traditional Publisher?

Should I Self-publish or Find a Traditional Publisher?

When I speak with prospective clients, this question often comes up. My answer is this: Absolutely go with a traditional publisher if you can. The benefits of being able to say Random House or Penguin Books is your publisher is a privilege no author should overlook.

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