Welcome back to my series on how to self-publish! You should have already done most of the preparation for your book if you have been reading this far – if not, the other stages are:
- How to Self-Publish Your Book, Stage 1 – Preparation
- How to Self-Publish Your Book, Stage 2 – First Steps
- How to Self-Publish Your Book, Stage 3 – Resolving Issues and Interior Design
- How to Self-Publish Your Book, Stage 4 – Reviewing, Design and Indexing
- How to Self-Publish Your Book, Stage 5 – Preparing EPUB Files and Proofreading
As you can see, there’s a lot to be done to self-publish a book! All of these are links, so click on any you’re not sure about. If we review what individual tasks you have done:
- Finalised the title and subtitle
- Started some marketing, which should now be well underway
- Invited feedback on your manuscript, from a beta reader or otherwise
- Had your book copy-edited and reviewed this
- Written a creative brief for the front cover
- Hired a designer for the front cover or have done it yourself
- Have done or hired out the interior design and reviewed this
- Added acknowledgements, a dedication page and author bio, if you chose to
- Have done or hired out the design for the back cover and spine (if needed for a print version)
- Have an index for your book (if necessary)
- Created the EPUB files
- Have had your book proofread, or possibly done it yourself
In this stage, we will be looking at some of the final considerations to make with your book, including making sure you are fully prepared for publication with final versions of the book description and author bio for using in promotion and sales material. We will also focus on other metadata such as pricing and categorising your book on your chosen platform.
You will have already written your book description and should have multiple versions of different lengths so that you can tailor them to the platform and purpose. Now is the time to have another read through them and check that you have included all of the information you want to and that they seem intriguing to a reader.
You may also want to include a version of your author bio, for example, on your Amazon author page. This will allow you to be more personable to your readers and build your fanbase. If you create your author page well, it should also allow readers to easily find other books you have written. If you can, include links to your social media and website.
Categorising Your Book
You should also have decided what category your book will be part of. Obviously, there are some very general ones that you will probably have known very early on, such as historical fiction, informative, thriller, crime and so on, but there are also many more sub-categories. For example, what period of time is your novel taking place, is it a how-to guide, is it dark or lighter in tone and is it detective crime or a drama?
All of these questions (or whatever is relevant in your genre) will help you to sub-categorise your book. These will then branch off further, allowing you to make your choice even more specific. Take a look on your chosen platform(s) at what genres you can choose from and how these are sub-divided, then work from there.
The reason for this is to give your book the best chance possible. On one of the publishing platforms, select your chosen broad genre and see how many results there are. There will be a lot, which means that the odds of someone finding your book just based on this are quite low unless your book is right at the top!
Now try selecting a subgenre. Chances are there will still be thousands of results, depending on your chosen platform, so there’s still only a low possibility a casual browser will find your book. Keep trying to narrow your search down, according to your book, until you start getting fewer results. Then, your book will have less direct competition and will have a much better chance of being noticed.
Of course, make sure that your chosen genres and subgenres do actually match your book! Readers will feel misled if you have misrepresented your book in this way, leading to poor reviews and them being less likely to buy a book by you in the future if it didn’t match their expectations.
If you are unsure what genre your book falls under, it might be worth asking some trusted friends or beta readers what they think. This can give you an outsider’s perspective, making it easier to decide if you have things right.
Pricing Your Book
You will also need to consider what price you will be selling your book at. Remember that you can vary this, especially with ebooks, so whatever you choose now doesn’t need to be final. You can change according to demand and promotions. This is one of the advantages of self-publishing – you have the flexibility to make business decisions like these.
What price you will be selling your book at is up to you and will largely depend on what genre you are publishing in and how much of a following you have that you know will buy the book. You may decide to first introduce it at a low price, such as £0.99, to gain initial sales as soon as it is published. You can then gradually increase the price until you find the point where sales start to tail off, meaning that you have found the optimum price – the highest it can be and still have people buying it.
You may later decide to reduce the price again, for example, if a sequel is released and you want to encourage readers to buy the full series. This can also be a good marketing tool.
I hope you are getting on well with self-publishing and your book is coming on well. Next time we will be focusing on uploading your ebook and preparing for print. Thanks for reading and good luck!
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