There's a lot to consider when you take the plunge as a self-published writer. Perhaps "taking the plunge" isn't the right phrase, as diving in may not be the best tactic. If you are eager to get your work out there, there are probably a few things you need to consider before rushing to print. There are things you just have to do when you self-publish. You spent a lot of time writing your book. You need to look after it. Treat it right. Give it the respect it deserves. Carefully think through what you plan to do next.
Proofread & Edit
You have spent a lot of time, crafting your poetry, story or biography. Don't rush in to getting it printed before you get someone else to read it. Even if you are on a tight budget, you need to get someone to proofread your work. This can be someone adept who you trust with checking grammar, punctuation and all manner of typos. If you can afford it, it is advisable to get proofreading done professionally or to consider employing an editor. You need to give your book a chance at success. Writers associated with traditional publishing houses, will, as a matter of course, have an editor to look at context and meaning. Don't go to all the trouble of writing a book, only to see typos or mistakes in the finished product.
Your book deserves to be marketed in the right way. Again, you may not have the resources of a big agency, but there are many things you can do. Build up a social media profile before you publish your book, if possible. If you haven't had the time or the experience to do so, make sure to make use of the free publicity you can rustle up online, when you do publish. Start engaging with writers and readers. Use Facebook, Twitter, online forums and try to get a website up and running. Part of looking after your writing is making sure that you get it noticed online.
Think seriously about your cover. It really is worthwhile to factor a professionally designed cover into your costs. A cover is what leads people to your book. Again, you are treating your work right if you at least give it a cover it deserves. It needs to be something that is easily read and that catches the eye nad fits the genre. This might sound obvious but you need to remember that it may be viewed online in thumbprint size, or it may be among thousands of others on a shelf. Some self-publishing authors make the mistake of not having the title stand out, of having too much text on the cover or of having an image which they think is relevant but which the reader just doesn't get. Talk to a professional. It is worth it in the long run.
Publish at the Right Time
Choose the right time of year to publish your book. Do some research. Is there a particular time of year that your kind of book sells better? Are you going for the "summer reads" or Christmas market? Is your book relevant when the schools or colleges start back? It's worth having a look at when the best time to start your marketing is. It's all about maximising the potential sales of your book.
Go, On. Have a Launch
Always celebrate your book's release. Have a launch. It's a great way to garner some publicity and some great shots for your social media accounts, local papers etc. It is also the place where you will sell your first copies.
It's important to look after your work once it's written. Don't publish before you are absolutely ready. Make sure your book is the way you want it before you see if in print. Probably one of the most important things to do is pat yourself on the back. Not everyone can say that they have had the dedication and self belief to publish their own work. Enjoy it.