5 “Easy” Steps to Self-Publishing a Best-Seller*

November 25th, 2010

*Take with a grain of salt, I’m not a full-scale book shepherd, nor am I issuing guarantees today.

  1. No matter what any of us try to sell you on design, editing skill, or the need to sell, sell, sell, remember that it all starts with the writing. Even before that, you need to pick a story to tell or a subject to expand on that people want to read about. And then write the damn thing really well.
  2. Now, this writing well thing, as far as I’m concerned, should extend to writing about your book on blogs and even texting and Twitter—after, of course, taking into account the idiosyncrasies of texting shortcuts and abbreviations. You still ought to sound like you know how to use English (or whatever language you write in).
  3. Run your book by an editor. All the best intentions won’t make up for what an independent reader who possesses experience at looking at a story or narrative for things like continuity, logic, reasonableness, and does the end just plain follow from all that was written after the start.
  4. This might even be considered 2a. Use a real copy editor to check on correctness and uniformity: of spelling and punctuation, as well as that you define on first usage any terms you might not expect readers to already understand.
  5. Think about your target audience. That is, unless you are satisfied with the average sales for most any self-published book, under 100 copies to family, friends, and acquaintances. Define that target audience and think about how you will reach the readers in it to tell them about your book and why they want to read it. You may want to pay a professional to define the best marketing path and create and implement a plan for reaching that audience.
  6. Don’t go with a one-size-fits-all book design and template. Don’t buy into the you-can-do-book-design-in-a-word-processor hype. You can also bang a nail into a wall with the flat size of a wrench. It’s not the proper tool for a myriad of reasons, starting with the fact that good typography does not come naturally to Word or any other word processor. If you really have a design sensibility and know how the printed word should look, take the time to learn InDesign or Quark—or learn one of the flavors of TeX if you can accept your design having an element of programming to it. Or hire a professioal book designer like me.

Entry Filed under: book design,self-publishing

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