We get it — every penny counts when you’re self-publishing. Still, there are some areas that require a more open pocketbook. Here are five things that you do not want to skimp on when self-publishing.
Cover Art & Illustrations — If you aren’t a designer, it’s important to hire someone, or at least train yourself in what constitutes a good cover design for your book. It does matter whether your book will be printed or is solely an eBook. The printed book requires a higher quality graphic than an eBook, however the design of both should be top quality. Your cover art should adequately give possible readers an idea of what is in the book. Along with the cover art goes a good title that describes or puts a picture in the readers mind to go along with the book’s contents. As for interior illustrations, ask youself this: Is my/my friend’s/my cousin’s/that guy I met in the coffee shop’s artwork as good as what I see in books published by major presses? Be honest. If the answer is “no”, hire a professional illustrator.
Jacket Copy — Ask other experts for blubs, and comments about your book, then write copy that will entice a reader to read your book. If you’re not well versed in writing copy, which is different from other types of writing, teach yourself about copywriting by reading other descriptions of books both digital and jacket copy. Additionally, you can hire an expert to get this done for you.
Layout — Each type of publishing requires a different type of layout, and may require a different expert to perform each layout. However, more and more experts are popping up who can do all layouts for you and even specialty layouts based on your instructions. It is important to hire someone who understands the types of layouts you need. It is not unusual to hire more than one expert depending on the types of layouts you want.
Proof Reading & Editing — While most people are going to buy your book based on the cover art, and the jacket copy, if you want your readers to be happy and satisfied as well as buy other products you put out, ensure that your writing is top notch by paying attention to the editing process. If you can’t edit your own writing (and most writers are too close to their work to serve as their own editor) by all means hire an expert to do it for you. It can be difficult to keep a clear head during the editing process, but it’s a very important aspect to self-publishing that some people wrongly over look.
Marketing — You’ll need marketing materials, social media, blogs, interviews and more to market your publication properly. Cover all sides of the marketing process using every channel that you can to get the word out about your product. If needed, hire a marketing expert to help you. This can be overwhelming to many, but if you’re already well-versed in Internet marketing you will have a leg up on marketing your book. It’s not unusual to hire a marketing firm to help with offline marketing efforts when this is not your expertise.
Whenever you want to outsource consider how many books you’ll need to sell to break even overall. If it seems impossible, renegotiate a new price, or find another way to do it. But, don’t skimp on these five items if you want to have a successful self-publishing experience.
Every single suggestion made in this article is right on the money and I experienced all of them. But I paid my publisher a lot through a contract to do most of that for me…and even then, you have to be right on top of every single action the publisher wants to take. Take for example, the book cover. I knew it would be the selling point when someone picked up my book in stores. I already had a vision in mind but I had to convey that same vision to the illustrator. I came to the point of telling him where every tree and blade of grass needed to be. The color of a character’s skin, hair, eyes shirt and pants had to be described to the illustrator…and if he didn’t get it right, back to the drawing board it went. This is where “Picture Book Blueprint” by Jon and Laura came in handy which allowed me to have that kind of detail readily available! Layout, editing and marketing is a whole other story but right on the “money” (and require quite a bit of it with a traditional publisher). I wish I had read this story before I wrote my book…but I’m happy with my book’s end result. Thanks so much for sharing this story with us!