Should I Self-publish My Novel?
Self-publishing is a great option for many authors as the percentage of royalties received is the highest of all publishing options, but the choice is yours.
Of course, writing your novel is free, and uploading your novel is free to minimal cost as is obtaining your ISBN. However, unless you are an author, beta reader, editor, formatter, designer, and marketer, it can get expensive.
How Do I Find Beta Readers?
You can get beta readers for free, which is great, but make sure they read a lot of books in your genre. One place you can find free readers is Facebook. Join groups for readers in your genre and see if there are people interested in reading your novel for free. Another option is finding authors willing to do an exchange. The problem with an exchange is you have to read their novel and report on it as well, without being paid for your time. And time is a big consideration when self-publishing.
Think about paying a few people to beta read and ask specific questions you are wondering about. How well did you connect with my MC? Did you feel like you were in the novel? What did you find confusing? Are there any plot holes or problems that weren't resolved? Do you think the cliffhangers worked? Which cliffhanger was your favorite. Did my first line hook you?
Should I Edit My Own Novel?
Yes, you should edit your novel, even when you plan to hire a professional editor. Self-editing is difficult for many authors as they are too close to their work to see the errors. How often do you read something and skip over or fill in words because your mind predicts what should be there? This happens even more when you have written the piece and when you have gone through a few drafts. You become blind to the errors that your readers will inevitably pick up on. Professional editors are trained to find issues and suggest how to fix them.
Should I Make My Own Cover?
If you are artistic enough, sure. But first, research cover trends by looking at the best sellers within your genre. Although you want your book to stand out, you want to stick to the basic styles of the genre you write in. If you deviate too much, readers won’t know what your book is about. Your cover is the first impression of your novel. Sci-fi novelists don’t have pictures of people, and romances don’t have cars on the cover. If they did, people wouldn’t pick them up or click on the picture because they are confused as to why that novel showed up during their search.
Canva is a good option for e-books, but when it comes to paperbacks or hardcovers (which I suggest you avoid hardcovers), getting the spine and back to be lined up correctly for the size can be a trial. Consider hiring a professional cover designer.
What Should My Blurb Say?
Writing a blurb for your novel can be difficult. You may feel like you need to condense an entire book into 200-300 words or so, but you don’t. A blurb is a teaser that gets your readers to open the book and start reading. And you want them to read, right? So, introduce the MC and the setting, the tone, and a few words explaining the MC’s issues and problems they face in act one of your novel. Then ask the question(s) to hook your reader into opening the book.
Where Should I Publish?
Kindle Direct Publishing is easy, and free. However, IngramSpark and BookBaby are also good for low cost publishing. Anywhere you choose, check on the percentage you will get from e-books and print options, before you invest your time and money with that publisher.
I suggest you start with one and learn it well before trying others. And I suggest it be KDP, because Amazon is the highest seller of books in most countries. No, I don't get any kickback for mentioning KDP first; I just think it is the easiest, and there are video instructions for everything.
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