by Evelyn Lafont
So you’ve written a book! Good for you—give yourself a nice pat on the back and go eat some chocolate. And you’ve decided to self-publish your book, you say? Inspired by the success of other self-published authors, you’ve decided to get off the query train and instead take your future into your own hands? Again, I say awesome.
Hey—what’re you doing? I didn’t say, “Now go sit down and reward yourself with chocolate.” Uh-uh. As a self-publishing indie author, you’ve still got work to do.
1. Find beta readers. I don’t know about you, but I think that just about everything I do is genius. Hell, even my poopie is like a beautiful, doe-eye colored water lily straining against the confines of its porcelain cage. Beta readers help you figure out whether or not OTHER people will think your book is good and can indicate whether or not it has a chance to make it out there. They can also help you figure out what is, and isn’t, working from a reader’s perspective.
2. Hire an editor. It is almost impossible for an author to perfectly self-edit his or her own manuscript. I’m sorry, you can argue all you want, but it’s true. Editors help you figure out which darlings to kill, how to clarify your message, and point out inconsistencies in characters and plots. They are vital.
3. Hire an artist. You need a hot cover, not a hot mess. I don’t know about you but when I use Photoshop to try and do my own graphics, it ends up looking like I wanted my book cover to feature the ass end of a monkey. Not cool, and not going to help you look like a pro.
4. Hire a proofreader. Editors don’t always catch all the spelling and grammar errors you’ve made, and they surely won’t catch any made after you incorporate their edit suggestions. Hire a proofreader to go through the book one last time before you publish.
5. Get a layout designer. If you read on an e-reader, then you probably know what it’s like to deal with the author who didn’t properly layout his or her MS. In a word, it is suck. It takes you right out of the moment as your eyeballs become busy playing hide and seek trying to figure out where your next paragraph or sentence begins.
6. Market your book. Once you’ve done all the above (and I do mean ALL of it), now you have to spend the rest of your life marketing your book—oh, and not to other writers, but to readers. And not just any old readers, readers who actually like the genre your book is a part of.
I’m sorry self-publishing authors, but there will be no chocolate for you.
Evelyn Lafont is an author and freelance writer. Her debut novella, The Vampire Relationship Guide, Volume 1: Meeting and Mating is available on Amazon , Barnes and Noble and Smashwords .