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Five Things You Need to Get Published
1. A Good Book. You have a couple choices here. If you write nonfiction, you need a book that contains information that people need to know or want to know. If you write fiction, you need a book that is entertaining and appealing. In either case, it could be a niche interest. In fact, independent publishing is the perfect vehicle for those books that traditional publishers may overlook. Traditional publishers rely on volume. With the economies of scale involved in independent publishing, it can still be lucrative to publish a book that appeals to only a small subset of readers.
2. An Editor. No matter how good a writer you are, you need an editor. Let me repeat that. No matter how good a writer you are, no matter how perfect your prose, you need an editor. I know professional editors and proofreaders who still have others edit their work. When it’s your own work, you are too close to it to identify all the issues. To put out the best possible product, you need to take a professional approach. Please, get an editor.
3. A Great Cover. Some people have the graphic design skills to create their own covers. Unfortunately, many people do not. Look at the bestseller list. Can you create a cover like that? If you can, go ahead. If you can’t, you might want to consider hiring someone to help you. There are low-cost options available. A poor cover will not entice readers to click on your book. Weird fonts, overly bright colors and simplistic layouts will identify your book as self-published. While there is nothing wrong with being self-published, your books, including the cover, should blend in with the other offerings and not being distinguishable upon first glance.
4. A Platform. This could consist of a variety of possibilities. You could have a website, a blog or both. You could have a Facebook or Pinterest page. Another possibility is actively participating on Goodreads or Twitter. Basically, you need a place for your readers and fans to find you. Your platform will inform your potential readers about your upcoming releases and give them a chance to get to know you.
5. A Marketing Plan. Though Twitter is a great tool, your marketing plan needs to consist of more than spamming links for your books. You might consider a blog tour, giving author interviews or soliciting reviews of your books from review sites. Another option is to become active in online reading groups or message boards. It is important to be an honest and active participant and not just an advertiser. Lastly, you might consider the judicious use of free books to introduce readers to your work.
These items are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s up to you, as an independent author, to decide how and where to invest your time. That’s both the beauty and the curse of this path. You have the independence to decide what to write, where it is sold and how to market it. However, you are also responsible for everything. This can be a huge investment of time and may even take away from writing.
I hope I’ve given you something to think about. Please share what you think is important to becoming an independent author.
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