Over the past year, I've been asked for tips on self-publishing. The ugly truth is that sometimes I'm just flying by the seat of my pants.
One thing I do is sit back and watch others - meaning I read books and blogs and forum posts on anything and everything about digital publishing. I take what makes sense to me and use it, following the lead of those who've gone before, but with the realization that what worked a year ago or even few months ago to gather momentum, may not work tomorrow.
Recently, I've come across a few authors who have done a fantastic job of gathering information on self-publishing in the digital age and the importance of social media for authors. They've already said it all so much better than I ever could. So rather than reinvent the wheel, here they are:
Let's Get Digital, by David Gaughran
"This guide contains over 60,000 words of essays, articles, and how-to guides, as well as contributions from 33 bestselling indie authors including J Carson Black, Bob Mayer, Victorine Lieske, Mark Edwards, and many more. It covers everything from how the disruptive power of the internet has changed the publishing business forever to the opportunities this has created for writers. It gives you practical advice on editing, cover design, formatting, and pricing. And it reveals marketing tips from blogging and social networking right through to competitions, discounts, reviews, and giveaways. If you are considering self-publishing, if you need to breathe life into your flagging sales, or if you want to understand why it's a great time to be a writer, Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should will explain it all."
Let's Get Digital is a comprehensive look at the advantages of writers going direct to readers. For information on where to download this book, or to grab a free pdf, go to David's blog here. He was kind enough to include the story of my path to publishing along with 32 other indie authors, but you can learn something from each and every one, as well as gain inspiration.
Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author, by Zoe Winters
"This book is relatively short for its subject matter, weighing in at a little over 47,000 words. There is no filler, just straight talk in Zoe’s typically blunt writing style. If you’re tired of people selling you rainbow farts and butterfly dreams and want to know how to think and act like a business person, create a solid plan, and become an indie author, this book is for you."
If you're considering self-publishing an e-book, this should be the first book you read. It's concise and understandable, especially if all the publishing jargon is new to you, but it really hits the important points without a bunch of fluff.
We Are Not Alone: The Writer's Guide to Social Media, by Kristen Lamb
"Kristen's method is simple, effective, and helps authors find ways to harness the imaginatin used for writing and employ this creativity to build a solid platform designed to connect with readers. This system is designed to change the writer's approach, not the writer's personality."
I'm including Kristen Lamb's books because I think social media is the most misunderstood and misused aspect for many indie authors. Kristen not only gives guidance on what to do, but what NOT to do. Like, don't tweet 20 times a day that you have a book to sell (those are the first Tweeters I tune out and sometimes even un-follow.) Even for those of us who are inherently shy (moi), this book will help you more effectively and efficiently use your time.
None of these how-to books can replace putting in the time (usually years) that it takes to properly learn the craft of writing, commit to writing a whole book and then hammering it into shape, but once you've gotten to the point where you're ready to nudge your baby out into the world, they have all the information you'll need to set you well on your way.
So to all you hopeful writers out there - good luck!
P.S. If anyone has suggestions for similar books that they recommend, please feel free to share them in the comments!
Happy reading and writing,