Publishing a novel and creating a blog that you post on from time to time are two very different things. Although, if you are interested, a blog can get you on your way to creating the material needed for a novel. Apparently, in this day an age, self-publishing is easy. Essentially, all you have to do is format whatever document you created into the format your self-publisher of choice dictates. You send your formatted document in and depending on your publisher, you will get a proof back within a couple of weeks if you succeeded in formatting everything correctly. Once you officially publish your book, you can start looking for venues that will sell your book.
Since self-publishing is becoming so easy, everyone is doing it. One of the unfortunate, or rather fortunate aspects of having everyone publish whatever they want is that there is a low expectation for what comes out of the pool of self-published novels. So, if you think you are a terrible writer, you’re in luck! Everyone already expects you to be a terrible writer. If you’re a good writer, your work may be under appreciated, to a degree. However, your work will still be out there, so go for it!
Now self-publishing may be easy, but it doesn’t come without its own set of frustrations and setbacks. Some writers choose to take the less brutal route and print out just enough copies for their friends and family, but others have bigger dreams of a larger audience. So here are some DIY (do it yourself) steps that will steer you in the direction of publishing your own novel.
Set a goal: who is the audience you are going to sell to? Friends and family or something larger — the world!
Take a look at your competition. Make sure you are coming up with something original. Doing this research is important. All literature is some form of recreating the wheel with fancy new attachments, but you don’t want to create the same wheel twice…ok, this metaphor failed miserably. I think you get what I’m saying. Let’s just pretend that never happened. Moving on!
Choose a format for your publication. Hardcover, softcover, ebook, possibly? Ebooks are probably the easiest since they are electronic and require no paper printing. wink, wink.
If you chose a paper using format, it’s time to choose your printer. Specific instructions don’t really exist for this step, but so far there have been a lot of choices to be made. If you don’t like making choices, I would abandon ship NOW.
Don’t commit to the first publishing company you lay your eyes on. Various companies have deals that may or may not fit your needs and/or budget for the project you have chosen to undertake. Refer back to step one to remind yourself what you had in mind after getting bogged down with the choices you’ve had to make.
Window shop, so-to-speak. Ask potential suppliers to send you samples of their recently printed books. Quality WILL vary considerably, and you want to select the product that closely satisfies your expectations.
Familiarize yourself with printing costs. You don’t want to find yourself getting ripped off.
Hire a graphic designer with book design experience once you have decided how your book will take shape. Your designer will design the type, flow the pages, and create a spectacular jacket as well. This aspect can be more expensive, but the quality of the product is significant in how well your product will sell.
Next off, make sure the ends justify the means. Don’t find yourself with a negative balance after your book hits the shelves. Going through all that work just to end up owing money is just depressing.
Request an ISBN number so that your book can be identified by a standard code.
Find out how and where your book will be distributed. Amazon provides a self-publishing channel in their website called createspace. I think it’s worth checking out.
Be prepared to sell yourself like a cheap whore. Any real advertising of your book will have to come from you. Self-publishing also means self-promotion. Work it!
All in all, have fun with self-publishing. It may be risky, but it also has its rewards.