December 15, 2014, was a day that I will never forget. It was the day I finally got to hold a physical copy of my novel in my hands. Seeing my name on the cover and flipping through the pages to read the words and the story that I had put together was unlike anything I had ever experienced in all my years of writing. After several rounds of edits, some amateur bouts with Photoshop, and a lot of formatting help from Amazon, I finally achieved a lifelong goal of mine by publishing my very first book. And you know what? Self-publishing was easier than I imagined.
Websites like Amazon and CreateSpace have made it easy for anyone to be able to see their finished novel in print or electronic format and even provide a platform to begin marketing and distribution. With a DIY approach, you are in complete control of everything: the cover art, the price, the final edits, etc. It gives you the total freedom and final say over what your book will look like.
But is that always the best approach in self-publishing?
Issue #1: Spelling Errors
So your first draft is done. You’ve completed what is arguably one of the most difficult steps in writing a novel. You’ve told your story from start to finish, you’ve gone over it several times to make sure everything sounds exactly how you want it to, and you hand it over to a friend or family member to read and provide feedback, feeling anxious and excited about sharing your story. That is until your reader discovers a spelling mistake.
No worries. Just a typo. A simple mistake. You overlooked it, so it’s conceivable that your readers will as well. But then your friend finds another spelling mistake. And another one. And then there’s a sentence with a word or two missing. And another sentence that doesn’t sound right no matter how many times you read it out loud.
It’s easy for you to miss mistakes in your writing. You’ve written, rewritten, and read through the passages so many times that your brain may not register the typos or fill in the missing words without you even realizing it. That’s why it’s always important to have another set of eyes look over your work. Especially, a set of eyes that have never seen the story before. And while your mom or your best friend may be eager to check out your story, you’ll get more out of going to a professional, objective, third-party editor.
Spelling and grammar are vital tools when it comes to the legitimacy of your novel and, ultimately, your overall reputation as a writer. If you self-edit and self-publish a book peppered with grammatical errors, it will take your readers out of the story and make it difficult for them to take you as a serious writer. Take time to research for a professional editor to go through your work. Many will offer different types of editing services such as copy editing (spelling, grammar, typographical errors) and line editing (continuity, characterization, tone). It can be pricey at times, but in the end, it will make your novel all the more enjoyable to your readers.
Issue #2: You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover
We all know that feeling. You’re perusing through the shelves at Barnes and Noble, your eyes scanning book after book, unsure of what new paperback you want to bring home and add to the ever-growing collection on your too-small bookshelf. As you pass over cover after cover, your attention suddenly diverts, drawing you to a novel sitting right on display, prompting you to pick it up, read the summary on the back, maybe even page through the first chapter. After a few moments, you’re satisfied with your choice and head to the register to purchase. We have a winner!
Though it is true that the plot, characters, and writing style are what keep us invested in a story, the cover art is ultimately what draws us in. What is it about that particular book that initially caught your eye? Is it the bright colors? The beautiful scenery? The elaborate costumes of the main characters? Whatever the case, it intrigued you enough to pick up the book and examine it further, finally deciding to invest your time in the story. Now imagine that same book had a bland, boring, ordinary cover. Something slapped together with basic images from the internet or drawn in a way where you can’t tell if the main character is riding a horse or a giant dog.
Your cover design is another instance where seeking out a professional can boost your book’s sales. Ask an artist or a designer. Think about the sorts of things that grab your attention. Now think about the most interesting aspects of your book. Maybe your setting has a waterfall that we find out leads to a mystical fantasy land. Maybe your main character has iconic tattoos that prompt readers to learn more about her mysterious past. Either way, your book’s cover is the first thing people are going to see. And with the right pictures and designs, you can hook them into your novel without them even reading a word of it.
Issue #3: Your Manuscript Was Not Ready for the Digital World
While there may still be many readers out there that prefer reading an actual physical copy of a novel, it’s no secret that the digital market of ebooks is growing more and more every day. If you want to provide your novel with the widest outreach of potential readers, then you’ll need to publish digital as well as physical versions of your book. With my self-published novel, I had several readers ask me when the Kindle version would be available, but since I had no knowledge of how to convert my novel to an ebook format, they were unable to read it. Fortunately, there are plenty of tech-savvy software programs available to help convert your manuscript to a more convenient reading method. Calibre, ZamZar, and Any Ebook Converter are a few of the most popular. And of course, we at ebooks2go can professionally publish your ebook for free. Check us out: https://www.ebooks2go.net/how-to-self-publish-a-book.
It’s Okay to Ask for Help
There’s no denying that self-publishing is a useful and helpful way to get your name and story out there. But if being a successful author is something that you want in life, then it needs to be done correctly. You can still publish your story your own way, but it doesn’t hurt to ask for help. There are people who know the industry, who have been in your position, and who know how important that first novel is. With their help, they can turn that little idea you jotted down in a notebook one afternoon into the next best-selling masterpiece.
Aspiring authors are always welcome to turn to eBooks2go for guidance and support. Let us help you make a winning impression with readers. Visit our website today to learn how we can overcome your self-publishing hurdles together.