Regular readers of this blog will know that for the last few months I have been sharing the journeys of some self-published, indie authors.
They have shared with us the highs and lows of their experiences, from having to learn new skills and discovering a whole new world of online marketing.
Although all have shared that there are low points, the majority are success stories, maybe not in that they are all multi-award winners with a case of bestsellers under their belts, but every one has overcome something to achieve their dream of being a published author.
I asked all the authors involved if they had any advice for others looking to start their journey and a staggering 70% said that the main thing to do before you publish your manuscript is to ensure you have a great editor:
Pauline Barclay, author of six self-published novels says, ‘Always use a professional editor, never assume you can do it yourself.’
Stephen Enger, who self-published his first six books and is now traditionally published for his last five (Endeavour Press and now Bookouture), says, ‘I wish I’d spent more time seeking professional editing support for those early books. The stories are good, but the quality of writing is not as strong as it perhaps could have been.’
Conrad Jones, who has self-published seventeen novels told me, ‘Editing is king! Finding a good editor/ proofreader is everything.’
You can read their full interviews by clicking on their names, and search #SelfPublishingCaseStudy to find more advice from other authors.
There was lots of other advice given too, when I asked Rachel Amphlett, self-published author of fifteen crime thrillers, what she wished she’d known before she started on her journey, she told me, ‘You really need to sit down and prepare a business and marketing plan rather than leave everything to chance. In fact, if you’ve only got one book available, I’d wait until the second one is ready to go before you publish, simply because that way you can maintain your visibility on the retailers’ websites.’
While Alan Jones credits his success to date to the help of book bloggers, stating, ‘I wish I’d known about Book Bloggers and Facebook book clubs. The limited success I’ve had so far is almost entirely down to them.’
What I have seen from this #casestudy so far is that self-publishing isn’t, or shouldn’t be, a solo journey. Although you may have spent hours and hours locked away with your manuscript, getting it out into the world isn’t something you should attempt on your own. There are a whole host of people who can help you ensure that your manuscript is practically perfect, that your cover is current and eye-catching, that you get the exposure online you need to reach potential readers. But you have to put in the effort.
Don’t hit the publish button until you have built up an online presence and made sure that your book is the best it possibly can be.
Make a start on these while you’re writing. Start chatting to people in Facebook groups or on Twitter. Start researching editors and finding out what you are going to need to save to pay for their services. Start saving now so that when you are ready you are in a positon to hire the editor you want.
Take a look through the other case studies, they are filled with some invaluable advice! And, if you’re an indie author who would like to share their journey, click here for the questions.
I’ll leave you with this piece of advice from Louise Ross, bestselling author of the amazing DCI Ryan series: