This week’s guest post is the wonderful Suzanne Rogerson, author of Visions of Zarua, sharing her tips for self publishing 🙂
15 Tips for Self-Publishing (the second time around) by Suzanne Rogerson
First some back ground on me;
When I self-published my first fantasy novel Visions of Zarua in 2015 I was a complete novice. The ebook was published in November, and then after a hasty change of heart, I published the paperback in December.
It was an intense time but I was lucky to have the support of my editor, Alison Williams, to answer my many questions and the rest I researched on the internet.
Situation to date;
I’m trying like mad to finish the final draft of my next book The Lost Sentinel – Book One in the Bloodlines Trilogy. Very soon it will go for its first full beta-read, a nerve wracking time that I’m sure doesn’t change whether it’s your first book or your twentieth. I’ve been thinking about the things I’ve learnt along my self-publishing journey and what I’ll do differently the second time around. Here’s what I’ve worked out…
1. Don’t be nervous
I’m not nervous about the process anymore – the mystery and the fear factor have been wiped away by experience. I know there are still difficult choices to make like choosing a cover and getting the blurb right, but to actually publish is easy enough. Any problems with things like formatting can be researched online.
Of course publishing a second book comes with its own set of worries. My main ones are will people who enjoyed Visions of Zarua like the new book as much? Can I ever find a cover that’s better than my first book?
2. Build your social media platform ASAP
When I started in July/Aug 2015 I only had a handful of followers. Now I’ve reached over 3k on my blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads etc. It’s been a long process and involved a lot of computer hours. I’ve started reviewing books, taking part in things like the AtoZ blog challenge in April, photo challenges and I try to join in with various # on twitter.
There are two big dangers I’ve found, it’s addictive and it sucks up a lot of writing time. But I’ve really enjoyed it and I’ve made connections all over the world.
3. Pay for a professional edit / proof read of the final book
I’ve never skimped on this one and never would. I don’t trust myself to catch every typo.
3a. Make use of the proof copy sent by Createspace (or your chosen paperback publishing platform)
It’s brilliant to hold your novel as a proper book. And reading it this way is perfect for picking up those last minute errors. I found a couple I’d missed when I published my ebook.
4. Set up the pre-order as far in advance as you can.
I had a month to promote last time, but with very few followers I didn’t have the reach to make much impact. This time I hope it will be different.
5. Have a cover reveal and blurb post, asking other bloggers to repost it. Make sure there are pre-order links included.
6. Send ARC copies to reviewers during the pre-order period and ask them to post their reviews as close to the publication date as they can manage.
This is a big one for me. The first time around I didn’t know anything about reviewers and sending them ARC’s. It’s a brilliant way to get some reviews on Amazon soon after the book goes live.
7. Start the pre-order price at 99p with a view to increase upon publication
I think people are more willing to take a chance on a new book when it’s on offer. I’ve certainly pre-ordered plenty of books this way.
I didn’t do this the first time around and think it was a mistake. It’s less about the money, more about the numbers you can sell.
8. Set up giveaways galore
There are Goodreads giveaways for paperbacks, Rafflecopter for ebooks and whatever else you want to include. I’ve also run one on my own site picking a winner from those who left comments.
9. Release the paperback and ebook at the same time
Some people prefer a proper book, so there’s no harm in giving them the choice.
I thought the paperback would be too expensive for people to buy, but I’ve been proved wrong. Plus there are features on Amazon like matchbook to be taken advantage of.
10. Publish with kindle select
This time around I’ve decided to hold off publishing via other platforms. It didn’t work out very successfully with the first book. I had very few sales after the initial pre-order period. Plus preparing the document for Smashwords, with its difficult formatting requirements, took forever.
I’m hoping to make use of the Kindle Countdown Deals and free book promotion days.
11. Don’t be afraid to shout about it
I’m still working on this one!
12. Run a blog tour before, during or straight after the release of the book
You can use professional companies to run a blog tour for you, but I found it relatively easy to set up one myself.
13. Incorporate other skills to make your book publication more unique
I love photography and found I could copy a passage from the book onto my pictures via Microsoft Paint. Using the right pictures with the right excerpt can provide an extra incentive to pick up the book.
14. Add extras into the books back matter
I can now add reviewer quotes for the previous book, along with its blurb and to buy links.
Excerpt for future books – As my next book is part of a trilogy this will be a great opportunity to have a teaser chapter at the end of book one.
15. Don’t expect too much, too soon
I don’t know if this one is possible. I’m a writer after all and I have a good imagination. Selling in the thousands, agents and publishers ringing me up offering 6 figure book deals…
Who knows, maybe one day!
Extra ideas others might like to try – Facebook party. Launch party locally. YouTube videos.
Connect with Suzanne on her social media
Suzanne Rogerson’s book – Visions of Zarua
Two wizards, 350 years apart.
Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past. An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.
Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.
Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.
The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?
Hope you enjoyed this article, especially if you are ready to publish or considering self publishing in the near future. 🙂