Day Three: Self- Publishing Cheat Sheet

In recent times, there has been growth of self-publishing and many authors are choosing that mode of publishing over the traditional one. It was therefore imperative that this topic was part of the programme. Participants were tasked to generate a list of ten things you should know before going into self-publishing with the guidance of the facilitators.

Here is the list which was termed the Self-Publishing Cheat Sheet by Otieno Owino;

Audience.Know the audience you are writing for. And what genre works for that particular audience. Research the audience and know what marketing tools can work for them. As an exercise, each of the participants was asked to identify the age range of their audience.

Budget/Capital. Have a budget for the entire process of publishing. Know how much you are going to use for each stage. And then get the capital to fund the publishing project.

Marketing tools.Know which marketing tool is going to work to give you maximum sales for your book. Is it pre-sale/pre-orders of the book? Advance Readers Copies that you can give to book bloggers and book tubers as a ploy to create buzz about the book among readers. Word of mouth, testimonies from people that have read your work. Festivals, book markets. Social Media which is a perfect tool that you can use to market yourself and your book.

Give the process a realistic timeline.Understand that it takes a lot of time for a book to come to production; so giving yourself and the process a realistic timeline should give you less pressure. Give each stage of the process enough time. Don`t you rush it.

Understand the Book Cycle.The book cycle is an important part of producing a book. Understanding the mechanics of each stage of the cycle helps you produce the best work possible.

Mental preparation. Self-publishing is a long and arduous process and having the mental preparation for it is key otherwise you might get overwhelmed by everything.

Work with professionals.Do your research and know which people you want to work with. People who have a few years of publishing under their belts. From editors, to proof-readers, to printers.

Structural Editing.As a person going to self-publish, you can’t be your own editor and neither can someone close to you. You’re too close to the story you have written, therefore, having a person that can do structural editing for you is a must. This person is able to tell you what is and isn’t working for your story.

Copy Editing. Copy editing is a different art altogether. Having a copy-editor go through your work to make it better is an absolute necessity.

Distribution plan.You need to have a distribution plan in place for your books. Are you going to be selling the book yourself? Or are you going to bookshops and different book sellers to help you sell the book? This is different from marketing.

As a self-publisher, you need to understand that your book is competing against books that have been published by traditional publishing houses so your book has to be up to that standard.

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