The Must Have List

Before I hit publish on my first book almost three years ago, I did research. Lots of it. So much in fact that I was bursting at the seams. The first thing I checked out was how to actually go about self-publishing. I asked questions, Googled non-stop, and I found a fountain of information.

I reached out to authors I had heard of, indie authors who were out there publishing book after book. It was scary at first. Talking to people who had hundreds of books, but I found that once I put myself out there, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I asked for help. The worst they could say is ‘no’.

With my debut novel ready, I was nervous, excited, and anxiety twisted my stomach into knots I never thought would unravel. It’s never easy hitting that button. Publish. And even after doing it countless times, it doesn’t stop the doubt creeping in.

This post idea came from a conversation I had with a lady who wanted to self-publish her first book. She asked me for advice about how KDP works, what she needed to do now that the book was finished. And I’m going to break it down into steps.

  1. Find BETA readers. These can be book bloggers you follow or even other authors. They can give you an insight into your book that you can’t see. Plot holes, possible confusion within a timeline or even character’s personalities, etc.
  2. Find an Editor. This is a must. No author can self-edit their book. I know because I’m speaking from experience. I attempted it. I learned from my mistake. Yes, editors are expensive, but if you want to put yourself out there, if you want to take a step into this world and build a career, then put your best work forward. There are many editors out there who offer affordable rates. Chat with other authors and find out who they use, get recommendations. If there is one thing you spend money on, then an editor HAS to be it.
  3. Find a professional cover designer. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s what we do. Scrolling through Amazon, don’t we click on the covers that catch our eye. Don’t you look at some covers and automatically one click because they’re just beautiful? I know at times I’m guilty of that.
  4. Promotion. You cannot put a book out there and expect it to sell. I mean, uploading your book to Amazon is great, but how would people know it’s there. Your book is among millions of books in the store, so you NEED to promote. Post your purchase links along with the cover, or a teaser on social media. If you do have a budget to work with, then hire a PR company to handle a blog tour, include the review option so you have reviews up on Goodreads and Amazon when your book goes live. You need to get your book in people’s faces, so… Promote. Promote. Promote.

I won’t lie to you, there is no shortcut. This isn’t easy. It takes hard work, determination, and perseverance. There aren’t any quick fixes. You need to put in the hours to see the rewards. What I can tell you is that it’s so worth it. There’s nothing like the happiness that you feel as seeing readers love your words.

Lastly, don’t be scared to reach out to authors who have been doing this a while. Take their advice and follow it. Don’t be let down when you look at the above list, there is a lot that goes into putting a book out there. It takes a team. Build your team slowly, make sure you have people that you can trust. And don’t be scared of creating your online presence. People, readers especially want to see the author behind the words. They want to get to know you, so let them.

Good luck!

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