Top Five Things We've Learned While Self-Publishing
The internet is enabling more people than ever to share their work and make a living online. But many times venturing into things online lead to learning things the hard way. If you are considering publishing your ebook, here are a handful of tips that we have experienced which will hopefully be of help to you as a self-published author:
1) Formatting as you write can save you time.
Designating chapter titles and section/chapter separators are really all that you need to worry about. All other formatting is less critical and can often cause formatting problems when converting to ePub, Kindle or iBooks format. And formatting as you go can also help when generating the print version of your book.
2) Export as ePub first
When exporting your finished Word processing document for digital publishing, start with ePub and convert to other formats from there. Never start with PDF to upload to the Kindle or iBooks stores, unless you like paragraph/line break and spacing inconsistencies. PDF format should only be used for print or if your ebook has lots of graphic elements (which do not translate well for most e-ink Kindle users).
3) A professional editor is worth their weight in gold.
Hiring a skilled editor is critical. Editing isn’t just about running spell check. There are so many nit-picky details to publishing from punctuation to formatting. If you are the type of creative who has trouble sweating the details, it is advisable to partner with someone who does. A good editor will elevate your work to a whole other level.
4) The devil IS in the details - as is consistency.
Pay attention to every detail when uploading your ebook to Amazon and Apple’s stores. Consistency in your title (like using colon instead of dash) and author name (including “Dr.” or not) between the various platforms and media formats can either help or hinder you in search and product pairings. Taking time to set up your author page on Amazon, making it consistent with your ebook’s metadata (and with Goodreads' information) will help tremendously in your online presence as an author.
5) Managing everything yourself as a self-published author is well worth the effort.
Using ebook aggregators (websites that digitally publish for you) can save you time up front, but they will cost you in both royalties and control of your content. Amazon and Apple make it relatively easy to sell your book digitally with no middle man. It just takes some financial information and a little time. The payoff is usually well worth the extra effort in doing it yourself, given the tools available that help make self-publishing easier.
Speaking of digital publishing tools, stay tuned for a post about our favorite self-publishing software and services...
What have you learned the hard way when self-publishing that would help for others to know? Has self-publishing been a gratifying experience for you? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.