You got a business or personal brand under your belt, and you’ve learned a lot so far. Have you thought about sharing your knowledge by self-publishing a book? It’s not only a fantastic way to teach, but a significant way to boost your brand and credibility.
Here are a handful of reasons to consider self-publishing whether you’re a business owner, consultant, or professional superstar:
- Establish your authority in your industry
- Grow your following (leads) by reaching thousands of bookstores (like Amazon)
- Retain editorial control and get a larger cut in royalties (versus traditional publishing)
- Share your knowledge in one of humanity’s beloved and lasting mediums: books!
Also, the demand for digital books is at an all-time high. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, online book sales surged by 85% for PublishDrive indies. This guide goes over how to self-publish a book, quickly and easily.
First, Write Your Book
What’s your expertise? From all the conferences, whitepapers, and best practices, what kind of content can you pull? Writing your first draft will take the most time and energy out of the entire publishing process. If writing is not your specialty, hiring a ghostwriter from places like Fiverr or Upwork is one option.
If it’s your first time writing longer content, check out these go-to resources:
- Stephen King’s tips On Writing
- Brandon Sanderson’s free lectures on writing
- The Creative Penn Podcast on writing and self-publishing
- PublishDrive’s Ultimate List of Self-Publishing Resources
Edit Your Book
After completing your first draft, rewrite and edit as much as you can. You want your manuscript to be spotless. Consider:
- Hiring an editor (costs start at $10 per 1,000 words)
- Checking the Chicago Manual of Style or your preferred style guide
- Using proofreading tools like Grammarly or ProWritingAid
- Finding critique partners or beta readers to review your book
Design Your Book Cover
Your book needs a stunning cover design. Invest in a professional designer to ensure your cover meets industry standards and is enticing for potential buyers. If you’re low on funds, you can design your own cover as well. Tools like Canva or InDesign are popular for creating designs easily and for free. Tip: look at bestselling book covers in your genre. What do they have in common?
Before you decide on the final design, be sure to ask your network for their thoughts. You can ask for feedback in online spaces too, like Reddit’s group for self-publishers or PublishDrive’s Facebook group for indies.
Format and Convert Your Book
When you self-publish with stores like Amazon or Barnes & Noble, you’ll need to submit two main files: 1) your cover design and 2) your manuscript formatted and converted to the right digital format: ebook, audiobook, or print-on-demand. You can outsource this step to an expert or do it yourself.
For ebooks, this looks like removing formatting on your Word or Docs file and then reformatting it to fit ebook formatting requirements. Then, you’d need to convert it with an ebook converter. For print books, it’s nearly the same process minus the conversion. For audiobooks, you’d need to hire a narrator and separate your mp3 audio files by chapters.
Choose a Self-Publishing Platform
By this point, your book files are ready to go. The great thing about self-publishing is how easy it is to upload and submit your files to major retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and more. Here are some of the best self-publishing companies to know:
- Amazon KDP: Amazon captures around 60% of the global book market. It’s free to self-publish and get up to 70% royalties. KDP requires exclusivity, meaning you can’t sell to anyone else for the first 90 days.
- Barnes & Noble Press: As the main competitor to Amazon, Barnes & Noble also offers free publishing where you can get up to 70% royalties. Unlike KDP, exclusivity is not required.
- Apple Books: With its app pre-installed on every Apple device, that’s a pool of over 1.4 billion users you can reach. It’s free to self-publish and get up to 70% royalties.
- Google Play Books: With its app pre-installed on every Android device, that’s a pool of over 2.5 billion users. It’s free to self-publish and get up to 70% royalties.
- PublishDrive: As an aggregation company, PublishDrive helps you skip the exclusivity agreements and maximize your reach. On one dashboard, you can distribute to all major retailers mentioned above plus thousands of other book channels around the world.
Promote Your Book
After publishing, it’s all about getting the word out. Take some time to map out the marketing plan for your new book. Definitely read up on best practices by successful indies as well. Consider these top tactics for marketing your book:
- Land book reviews: Before spending too much time and money on other marketing efforts, get at least five solid reader reviews. Readers won’t spend money on a book with zero reviews.
- Set up a pre-order: Because stores count sales on the first day of release, you can shoot up the sales count by collecting orders during the pre-order period. Set one up as early as possible.
- Run price campaigns: Indies made 10x more book sales by running free or discounted sales campaigns on retail stores like Amazon.
- Feature in stores and newsletter: With your free or discounted book, submit it to places like Bargain Books to reach millions of readers. There are plenty of places you can buy placements from. Or check out these free featuring opportunities.
- Maintain an online presence: Do you already have a strong following on social media or email? Invite your audience to take part in a launch party or special giveaway.
For more, check out this webinar chat by book marketing experts.
Collect and Track Your Sales
Like other business activities, you should have a transparent and organized system for tracking your book sales performance. See this how-to guide on setting one up.
A platform like PublishDrive eliminates the Excel sheets with automated royalty reports and smart analytics tools. You can view pre-made charts, follow real-time sales, and keep store links, ratings, and rankings in one place.
Ready to Get Published?
That was pretty simple, wasn’t it? Gone are the days of pitching and waiting to get signed. Instead, authors and businesses alike are self-publishing whenever they want and under their terms. You can do it too.
This article comes from PublishDrive, the all-in-one self-publishing platform that has helped 18K+ indies publish 100K+ books since 2015. In 2020, indies boosted online book sales by 85% (despite the pandemic). Publishing digitally and globally is the way.