Whenever a fiction writer decides to self-publish their work, they can be so excited at the prospect that they slip up on some of the most basic details. These details can make all the difference between success and failure. Here’s a checklist of essentials which go beyond the mere writing and contribute to the bestseller status of a book.
1. The Cover
People really DO judge a book by its cover. It has to be as good as anything you would see on a store shelf, or side by side with your book on Amazon. Don’t skimp. Unless you are a professional artist and book designer, hire a pro on Fiverr.com. Check out their portfolios to make sure their style is in line with your vision of what your cover should look like. Discuss your ideas, and make sure your contract allows for revisions.
2. The Proof-Reading
The book should be as error free as possible. Make sure you have at least one person other than yourself read over a printed copy of the book, not just a digital one. Word’s spelling and grammar checker are useful, but not perfect.
3. The Editing
It can be tough to judge your own novel, especially if you have been slaving away over it for months. A professional editor, or a friend who loves to read, can make sure you have a powerful beginning and ending. They can also look for inner logic in the novel, such as characters, situations and settings. You would be amazed at how many characters’ eyes start out brown and end up green by the end of the book!
4. The Marketing Copy of the Book
There are two forms of marketing copy that will appear on or in the book:
* The "Blurb"
* The teaser copy
The "blurb" goes on the back of the book and sometimes on the first page inside the book as well. It is like a summary of the story and should entice people to read it.
The teaser copy can be on the back as well, and/or on the first page inside the book. It should be a dramatic excerpt from the novel that draws the potential reader into the story.
5. The Marketing Copy for the Book
A lot of different marketing copy can surround the book. For example, the blurb and teaser will appear online in most cases. You might even include them in a promotional package to a book reviewer. Once the reviews start to come in, if they are good, you can quote from them to help market your book.
If you know any prominent authors or agents who might be kind enough to take a first look and write a comment or two, or even a foreword, this would also be incredibly useful for selling more books.
6. A Great Author Biography, Website/Blog, and Social Media Presence
Readers love to feel they "know" authors and that they are accessible, not hiding in a cave writing all the time. In order to convey that you are a real person, write a great biography, include a professional headshot to use as a promotional photo anywhere you need one, and create a great website or blog to showcase your work.
Have a page at all of the most important social media sites and interact with fans regularly, and you should have no trouble making sales.
Herb is an author, speaker, retired college professor, and retired Army Reserve chaplain living in South Florida.
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