The full title of this should be ‘why self-publishing is better than traditional publishing’ but that seemed a little long and clunky. In essence though, that is the basis for this article. The dream, as we all know, is to get a publishing contract with Random House for £1 million, they deal with all the marketing and then Steven Spielberg options your book for his next film. It can happen, but it’s rare. Far more common is the struggle to get people to buy your book, read it, review it and tell others about it. However, it can be the route to a very happy life earning money and selling books.

How can you do it though? The secret is in the thought process that goes behind finding readers. You have to start with the book. It has to be a book that you want to read; one that you think fills a gap in the market and will be appealing to readers. It has to be your book, not a copy of someone else’s style. With that in hand then you’re in with a chance. That goes for non-fiction as well as fiction.

The second part of the process is the marketing. Think about the book from the readers perspective. They have eight million books to chose from on Amazon. Walk into any Waterstones and they will be confronted with thousands of books to choose from and even your local independent bookshop will have hundreds to tempt them. So how does yours stand out? Is the cover original? Is the blurb snappy and gets their attention? Does the title shout ‘buy me’? You’d be amazed at some of the titles we’ve heard. How about the book itself? Does it feel like a book should? You won’t necessarily know what it should be, but you will know when it’s wrong. Starting the book without a blank page before the title page is a give away that the book is self-published. The copyright page (title page verso) should look the same as a traditionally published book, not a few lines lost on a page. In short, your book must look the business. It’s the most powerful form of marketing you can have.

Other than that you will need your metadata up to date with Nielsen, your social media sorted, a website for you as the author and be in contact with the local press to let them know about your activities. This is some of what you have to do and do it all daily. Never stop marketing.

Finally, there is the selling. Choosing the right price for your book is imperative. A business book often sells for more than a novel. If your book has 300 colour photos in it, don’t sell it for £6.99. One of our books costs £25 and sells because the photos are great and the book is well-produced. Make sure there is margin in your book to make money. This is essential if you want to sell your book in bookshops. A bookshop will want between 35% and 50% of the cover price to sell your book and if they sell enough of them this will still be a good margin for you. I would avoid supermarkets for the time being, until you have established a good fan base as you’ll almost be giving your books away.

You should be selling your books on Amazon (obviously), but also with Smashwords – in ebook format anyway. You should be selling them through your website. We sell our authors books through our website as well, taking just £1 to process an order and the rest goes to the author. Get yourself booked onto local book festivals, literary events, open mic nights and assemblies or networking meetings. You should be looking for every opportunity to sell your book.

Do all of this and you will know why self-publishing is better. The reason is that every penny earned (minus your costs) is yours. You won’t be earning pennies per book, you’ll be earning pounds. All you have to do is the hard work. Every day. That’s every day. There is no rest (unless you’ve booked a holiday, of course). Becoming an author is becoming self-employed. If the work is done, then the rewards are great. It’s no different from any other pursuit. Be smart, word hard, keep to the strategy and focus on building your readership.

As always if this has inspired more questions contact us at 3P Publishing on 01536 560410 or email andy@3ppublishing.co.uk. We look forward to hearing from you.

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