I am not exaggerating when I say that I’m constantly messaged on my Instagram from other authors wanting to self publish a book. How do you do it?
My answer to them is, don’t focus too much on how to actually self publish because that’s already out there for everyone to find out… Write your book, print your book, sign up to Nielsen’s books and Gardners so you can offer it to stores and try to sell it alongside on Amazon. Writing, printing and selling the book is only the beginning and actually a tiny part of being an author!
The real work and success comes the other side, marketing it and you!
Finding your niche whilst staying contemporary is my first big piece of advice. The niche will be a way to engage with specific communities and make YOUR book stand out. For example, my children’s book The Heavy Bag focuses on grief. Some may think that this restricts me… it doesn’t! It has meant that I have linked up and collaborated with charities such as UNICEF, schools, grief groups, festivals and therapists and let me tell you… the grief community are a group of wonderful human beings… they have shouted about my book from the UK, across Europe and over the ocean to the US. But, to get into stores you need to be contemporary because that is what they want! ‘Saleability‘ End of.
So, research what makes a book contemporary and bullet point these points in your request to them. And yes, it’s that easy! Email stores and ask them to stock your book. And don’t be restricted to the UK because stores across Europe have English sections! I contacted around 20 stores a day in the beginning.
Talking of Europe… my second big piece of advice to you is to get your book translated!
For two reasons. The first is obvious, you can promote it in a different country and language but the second reason is more of a strategic plan…! This could get your indie book in with publishing houses because a lot of publishers have a foreign rights department so if you can first get your book translated by a friend into a different language then your next step is to approach publishing houses foreign rights’ departments and offer them the English version for THEM to translate it into another language. It only takes one foreign publisher to take up this idea and then suddenly others are interested.
I have now sold The Heavy Bag to SEVEN foreign publishing houses because I own the rights to everything… The perks of being a self-publisher.
My final piece of advice is to market YOU… link EVERYTHING back to you. Your writing is wonderful, your book is amazing but the bottom line is stores, readers, publishers and potential agents want YOU, you are the face and brains of the book and you will be behind all the other books you have planned. So, you get up every single day and say to yourself “What do I need to do today?” Contact 5 people a day, whether this is people to collaborate with, agents for your future books, stores to stock your current book or media to feature you. It’s hard, it’s monotonous, it’s tiring and even deflating some days but it WILL pay off!
So, once you’ve done the easy part of writing the book, the hard work begins. Good luck!