Self-Publishing And “Real” Publishing: Tips For New Authors

Interested in self-publishing? It’s a popular topic in our online writers’ group. We’re online-only for now, until things get back to normal.

One of the benefits of being online is that we can support each other through this global madness.

Self-publishing—the big question: is it “real” publishing?

An aspiring author in the group asked: “Self-publishing’s not real publishing, is it?”

Some years ago now, there was a stigma to self-publishing. That’s gone. Today many bestselling authors self-publish their books.

A good portion of our group’s members are unpublished and want the dream: to be traditionally published, so that they can see their books in their local bookshop.

Let’s look at how to get started; you can choose your publishing model later.

Start by thinking about your genre (category.)

1. Which genre? Write to your strengths

Popular genres like romance, with all its sub-genres, have masses of readers who love to read, and are hungry for new books and authors. The mystery genre is popular too.

What if your favored genre has few readers?

Write it! Today, genres are multiplying. Readers will find you, whatever you write. However, pay attention to your meta data (description and keywords.) Ask beta readers which keywords they might use if they wanted to find your book.

2. If you want to sell, write a LONG series

The more books in a series, the more gateways you have to your writing. Many bestselling authors write long series… for a reason.

The reason? Readers. Remember that with self-publishing, your books will stay available for as long as you wish. No more three-month availability, as with trad publishing.

3. Discover marketing, and choose a form of marketing you enjoy

Do you have a not-so-secret Facebook addiction?

Create a Facebook page for your author persona. Yes, do this even if you haven’t completed your first book. Prospective readers will accompany you on your publishing journey.

Did you know that way before Diana Gabaldon published the first Outlander book, she was an author on the CompuServe Lit Forum?

TheLitForum.com is a descendant of the discontinued Compuserve Lit Forum, which I’ve been a part of since the late 1980s (before Outlander was published).

Diana published snippets of Outlander there, to gauge reader reaction.

E.L. James is another author who won fans early, long before publishing, with fan fiction.

It’s never too early to share your writing. Not only will you win fans, you’ll build your name. The biggest benefit? Readers will make suggestions which will improve your book.

Good luck on your publishing journey, whether you choose trad publishing or self-publishing.


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