Friday, 31 July 2015

Self-Publishing Your First Book

How do you go about self-publishing? What are the important things you need to know? How do you design your cover? What price should you charge for your book?

Melissa Brown self-published her novel Becoming Death on the 12th June 2015. Here are her handy tips: 


Your title needs to capture the reader's attention, draw them into the story and be clear on the cover. The title of a book should give a basic description of what your book is about. It should fascinate your reader enough that they have to pick up the book for a closer look. Your title should be a simple word or phrase that represents the primary focus of your book. You should try to sum up your book in five words or less. To choose a proper title, brainstorm the content of your book and create a word or phrase that sums up everything for your reader.

When chosing a title for your cover you should pick a font that is clear, readable and fits the tone of the book. As most books are shelved with spines facing out, your title is the book's first impression, so this is a crucial stage when you design a book cover. Your title's job is to get the reader to look at the cover of the book.


As much as they shouldn't, all readers judge a book by its cover. It's important to have a book with a strong, engaging cover as it is a to write a good story. While trying to decide on a cover design you should start with gathering ideas at your local bookstore or library; look at several new stories in your genre and compare styles, formats, graphics, and layouts. What do they have in common?

Decide whether or not to hire a cover designer. Designers can cost anywhere from £100 to £1500 depending on their level of experience and past success. Make sure to research, look at samples and get a quote from your designer before hiring them.

If you’re designing your own cover, here are a few tips:
Your title and author name should be big and bold, remember it will need to be read as a thumbnail on websites and in greyscale on e-book readers. Your title and author name should work aside your cover image not just be dropped on top of it. Your cover should focus on one central idea or character from your book. Less is more. Remember to extend your design to the book's spine and back cover. Think about how will these fit together, while still allowing for the blurb on the back of your book to be readable.

Book Blurb:
The blurb is the summary  that goes on the back of a paperback book, or the inside flap of a hardback jacket. Its function is to advertise the book, to hook a potential reader and make them curious about the story. When writing a book blurb it can be useful to start with a book synopsis and narrow this down so the focus is on the main characters and their quest/problem. A good blurb will not reveal the whole of the story, it should merely tease the reader making them want to continue reading the book. Because of the lack of words in a blurb, you need to use strong nouns and verbs to get your story across. It should be very similar to the summary you’d write in a query letter to an agent but don't give away the ending.
For most e-books $3.99 (£2.99) is a sweet spot. Cheap enough for people to buy without much thought and expensive enough for the author to make a good profit per book. For print books, you should try to price them at 2.5 times their production cost so it includes your profit as well as a good margin for the retailer which will be around 20%-50%. This will ensure that even if half your books sell you recover the total production sum spent on the book.

You should also promote your books regularly with free or discounted promotions for  a limited time to help you build an audience and your profile as an author.

Is the information about your book used in search engines and websites. The most common pieces of metadata about your book are:

· title
· subtitle
· author
· format
· publication date

Metadata can also include keywords such as your audience or genre.  For keywords, be sure to chose words not already used in your title or book blurb. The aim of metadata is to make your book easy to find for readers.

Internal Design/ Layout:
The  internal layout of your book should look as much like a traditionally published book as possible. This means including a title page, copyright page and your pages need to be numbered correctly (even numbers on the left hand side and odd numbers on the right hand side).

For print-on-demand books, you should try to make your page numbers divisible by 2. Margins should be set wide and with your gutter, the middle space, far enough away from the centre to make the book easy to read. You should consider the font you use for the inside and try to use a similar font to your front cover, so all text is of the same theme.

Common book sizes range from: 6 x 9, 5.5 x 8.5 and 5.25x 8. Internal layout can be done by professionals or you can purchase reasonably price book designed templates that allow you to follow a set layout in Word before converting it to PDF.

For more info about Melissa see the post below – “How To Be Successful with Crowdfunding.”

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