So, you’ve written the great American acim. Your Mom thinks it’s the best thing since War and Peace. But how do you know if it really is ready to be published?
You don’t have to go the traditional route by submitting it to a gazillion publishers who are just going to say, “While the premise is interesting and the writing is engaging, your submission doesn’t quite fit into our line.” Today, you can self-publish your book in a matter of minutes. But is your book really ready for readers?
Here are some tips to get your e-book ready to be published:
• Do you have an engaging title? Try it out on some of your friends-the honest ones please. Sometimes a title alone with turn people off and they won’t even bother reading what your book is about. On the other hand, a great title will draw readers in.
• Have your e-book professionally copy edited. This might be the most important investment you can make. Remember, you’re expecting people to pay to read what you’ve written, so you want to give them the best product possible. Even New York Times bestselling authors are edited. Several online editing services specialize in editing e-books at a cost-effective rate, so choose carefully and pick a company that specifically offers copy editing services.
• Read your entire manuscript out loud. This is one of the best ways to tell if your writing flows properly. If you stumble over a section, or if a sentence is written awkwardly, reading it aloud is one of the best ways to discover it. Your dialogue should sound natural, your prose should flow nicely.
• Do you have an engaging description? The description of your book is simply a basic plot summary. But it should make someone want to read you book. Take a look at other summaries of books you bought. How were they written? What is it about the description that makes you want to buy that book? You’re trying to entice a reader, so don’t give them too much information-or too little. By reading your summary, they should immediately know your book’s genre, whether it’s women’s fiction, horror, or a true crime story. Pick a book that is from a similar genre to yours.
• Is your book too long or too short? Of course, the length of your book greatly depends upon the type of book you’ve written. A memoir, for example, can be much shorter than a work of fiction. However, to be considered book-length fiction, most published books are at least 40,000 words and no more than 150,000; most are somewhere in the middle. There are exceptions, of course, depending upon the genre and subject matter.
• Have you done basic fact checking? Just because you’ve written a piece of fiction doesn’t mean you can play with reality. Unless you’ve written a fantasy or paranormal, stick with the facts.
• Unless you’re good at graphics, you should consider having book cover professionally designed. Yes, it’s an e-book, but a good cover will entice a reader and get you more sales.
• Consider a basic website to promote yourself. People who read your book and like it are going to want to know more about the author. A basic bio, your book information, and information about your next project are always useful to readers.
• Determine your price. Traditional Mass Market paperbacks retail for between $5.99 and $7.99, but the author typically gets only 10 percent of that amount per sale. With e-books, the author receives 70 percent. So if you price your book at $1.99, you’re actually making more money per sale than an author published through a New York publisher. Plus people are willing to spend a small amount of money on an unknown author.
• Do know how to promote your book? Look for e-book forums, contact sites that review books to see if they can review your book. Get on Twitter and Facebook and get the word out. Join a writer’s organization. Most genres have associations where you can meet and mingle with other writers. Consider offering your book for free for a limited time to get some reviews of your book on the site and increase word of mouth.
This is an exciting time for you, but self-publishing is filled with unknowns and obstacles. The best way to be successful is to take yourself and your writing seriously and put in the necessary time and money to do it right.