Now that you have your book and are ready to share it with the world, take a moment to think back to when you first decided to write.
How does it feel?
You did it. And regardless of what happens next, you can be proud of YOUR novel.
But, if you want to sell it to the reading world, you will need to publish it.
When you do this, you will be a published author.
Ebook, Paperback, or Hardback
As a self-published author, you won’t have an agent or publishing house deciding which path to take. At this point, it’s up to you.
In order to give yourself the best possible chance, I recommend doing all three.
I published my novel on Amazon for a few reasons, but below are my three main reasons.
- They are the biggest ebook retailer on the planet. 68% of ebook sales take place on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) according to about.ebooks.com
- It was very straight forward to do, and with a slight tweak to the manuscript file, you can upload for paper and hardback. I will make a walkthrough article for this soon.
- For ebooks priced over £1.99, you make 70% royalties, and 35% for £1.98 and below.
Other Self-Publishing Platforms
Amazon is not the only place to publish an ebook. However, if your sign up for KDP Select, you do sign up to an exclusivity agreement, and cannot publish anywhere else. That being said, below is a list of other ebook publishers to consider.
- Kobo Writing Life
- Barnes and Noble press
Currently, I have no experience with these publishers and cannot comment on their services with any authority. But there are many sights available online that can give you details. However, I will do some homework and write on them in future.
Paperback and Hardback
Despite people saying “books are dying,” I have had more paperback sales than ebook sales. This is simply because people enjoy holding a physical book.
With Amazon KDP, the royalty percentage remains the same, but only after the printing cost has been deducted.
A quick example:
A 300-page paperback with dimensions of 6”x9” will have a minimum listing price of £6.17. This is because the printing cost is around £3.70.
If you choose to sell your paperback for £7.99, you will receive around £1.09 in royalties.
To plug in your own numbers, take a look at Amazon’s royalties calculator
Publicising and marketing
The only way people will buy your book is if they know about it.
Several months before this step, you should’ve been creating social media accounts. In doing so, you will have promoted your book, engaged with readers and reviewers, and got your name out there as an author.
Being active on social media will benefit you in more ways than you realise. In this article I talk about making friends and relationships within the #writingcommunity. You will create a system of support with like-minded people who will help you succeed.
Now is the time to put all that to work.
Before your novel is available, you should be creating “hype” around the release date. You should already have ARC reviews in your pocket for the release day. And even be quoting snippets from some of your best reviews (along with the name of the reviewer).
If this is done right, your launch date should see some healthy sales that will give your book some momentum.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Writers and bloggers will almost always leave a review. This is because we appreciate how important they are. However, the average customer will read and move on.
If you personally know someone who bought your book, ask them politely to leave a review. Remind them that they don’t have to write War and Peace, and they don’t have to give an academic dissertation on your work. They simply need to tell others their opinion.
*A word of warning*
Never, under any circumstances, offer anything is exchange for a review. If you do, you will be in breach of your platform’s policies. They could remove your book from their platform or remove your account. And it will be very hard to get it back on there.
There is nothing wrong with gifting someone a copy for an honest review. This is what you do with ARCs. But anything more than this is unethical and wrong.
Word of Mouth
Talk about your book to those who are interested. How will people know you have a book out there if you never talk about it?
I have had several sales thanks to conversations with people who like to read. One lady in work said, “Any suggestions for a good Thriller?” I casually said, “Have a look at August–Lost on Amazon.” Well, she did, and she loved it. It wasn’t until she recommended it to another person in work that she realised it was my book.
Now, I get asked almost every week about when they can expect the next book.
That being said, avoid forcing your book into conversations. It still amazes me how some people can turn any conversation into “football talk.” Don’t be that person.
You have written a novel. Take a moment and appreciate your accomplishment. Every now and then, I smile when I remember those first few words going down on the page.
You can and should be proud of what you have done.
And never shy away from the fact that you are a self-published author. It is a huge thing to have done all this yourself.
There is still some stigma in the general public who think you have to be represented by an agent, or published by one of the big 5. But that stigma is dying away.
People are beginning to appreciate how much work, time and effort goes into self-publishing a novel. And you are someone who did it all.
Congratulations, fellow author.
You did it.