There is no definitive instruction manual for self-publishing.
… and certainly no quality control, so it is very easy to make a fool of yourself.
Publishing a book has gone from exceedingly difficult, frustrating or expensive to just about free and an absolute cinch in almost the blink of an eye. The traditional agency model is under threat, and vanity publishers are looking for where their next buck will come from as independent or self-publishing has suddenly become front and centre of the market.
No matter what you want to write about, you can jump from your book being a word processor document on your laptop to a published ebook in less than a few minutes. How about in paperback in less than a day?Within a few short weeks, you can have your paperback and ebook on sale in almost every country on the planet.
Self-publishing is fantastic news for those, who just a few short years ago were would be aspiring authors. Now there’s no need to would be or aspire. Just push the button, and you are instantly a published author.
Easy, fast, and also a terrific way to make a fool of yourself just as quickly
And a laughingstock.
The problem is that there is no definitive instruction manual for this new publishing process and certainly no quality control. A beautiful story can die a horrible death if the first page contains a spelling mistake. Or worse, mistakes. Typos like that/than is/it there/their just to name a few classics, bounce off the page at a reader and say, ‘close this book now’. A cover that looks like it was produced from a bad scan of a Polaroid is another reader killer, as is a poorly written blurb or bio.
Ebook formatting woes
Then comes the difficulties involved in formatting a manuscript for different book formats and ebook standards. It may look super in pdf, but a disaster in epub. Readers like good typography. That’s what makes a book readable in either electronic or paper editions. If a book is uncomfortable on the reader’s eye, that’s the end of reading and enjoying your book.
Self-publishing with the dream that you will sell your book is just that. A dream. No one will buy it until they know about it. With millions upon millions of books available, how will yours get noticed? Then even if you do get a prospective reader, if your Amazon sales rank is down in 4 millionth place, will they buy it?
How will you market your book?
Do you have a marketing plan? If the answer is no, don’t embarrass yourself and your great story. Wait. Go back to the drawing board and create a plan that is realistic and achievable. Or if you’re not sure, ask for some help. Avoid the possibility that you will make a fool of yourself.
Independent or self-publishing is a great innovation, but it is all too easy to publish rubbish. So many poorly prepared good stories (and very bad stories including spam books) are now clogging up ebook stores. But this presents an author with an opportunity. If you want your book to stand out, take your time, get some advice if necessary and give your book its best chance to shine. Because once you make a fool of yourself, it is a tough assignment to get your credibility back.