I cannot claim to be an expert on the dark art of self-publishing, or publishing in general, as this is my first attempt. However, I’m happy to share what I’ve learnt so far, and what I think works.
- The cover design
“Never judge a book by its cover”. Why not? Most people do!
I’m sure that famous authors such as William Shakespeare, Laurie Lee, Thomas Hardy, Emily Bronte and Charles Dickens, don’t need a striking cover to sell their books. Their books will always sell by the million even if published under a plain cover – just with their name on the front. But most of us are not famous authors; and need all the help that we can get.
Of course; word of mouth recommendation, is still the best form of marketing for our books, but when it comes to standing out in a crowded market place; having a well-designed cover is vital.
By all means, sketch out the sort of cover design that you think suits your story best; but having done that, please go straight to a professional designer. They know what they are doing. They will bring that all important objective marketing eye to the table and will produce something that not only captures the essence of the story within, but a design that looks professional and catches the eye of the potential reader.
- Editing and proofreading
There, their, they’re …
Most of us edit continually, as we write and rewrite, and by the time we have reached version nineteen of our story, we like to think that it’s a well-structured, perfectly honed, grammatically correct piece of work with no spelling mistakes. It almost certainly isn’t, and asking a family member or friend to cast an eye over the manuscript, is not the answer. They will of course spot a few mistakes; but they won’t find half of them and they won’t give you honest and constructive criticism; after all, they probably value your friendship!
Professional editors have seen it all before. They are practised at spotting fundamental errors and will give constructive criticism without fear or favour. That’s exactly what we all need.
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In et al ….
Don’t ask me. I don’t know. Hopefully, I will be able to give a considered opinion in a few months’ time; after Under the Yew Tree has been out there for a while.
What I can share with you; is where I have got to with all of this stuff up until now. I have set up a stand-alone website: www.johncharleshall.co.uk that goes live at the end of June 2017. It has all the usual information on it: About the author, Under the Yew tree, contact details and how to buy on Amazon and to get signed copies of my book. It also mentions work in progress with my next book: Oak before Ash.
The main point of the Facebook and Twitter accounts is to drive traffic to my website – and encourage people to buy my book! Again, unless you are a whizz at this social media stuff, and have plenty of spare time on your hands (You shouldn’t have. You should be working on your day job and/or writing!); get a professional to set it all up for you and to help with the initial blogging.
Of the book itself, initially, I aim to have a small number of hard copies printed for family and friends and some in reserve for signing. After that, we will see!