digital and print books

3 steps to self-publishing success

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I run workshops on how to self-publish.

At every workshop, usually within the first ten minutes, I’m asked this question: If everyone self-publishes, then won’t readers be swamped with crap?

I respond by asking all those in attendance if they’ve ever read a bad book.

Everyone nods.

I then point out that it’s traditional publishers like Penguin, Random House and Harper Collins, among others, who produce these duds and that if well-respected publishers release crappy books, should they be penalised and cease publishing?

Everyone agrees that this would be ridiculous.

Traditional publishers release many books each year. Some of these books are successful, but many are not. Why would self-publishing be any different?

A better question to ask is: How can self-published authors ensure their books are of the highest standard?

Here’s how in three simple steps.

1. Never, ever publish your first draft. Instead, leave it aside for a few weeks and do another draft. Repeat this step several more times.

2. Get a professional editor. There are manuscript services and editors online who are more than happy to read your book and give constructive advice at a reasonable price.

3. Learn design and lay-out skills so your book looks professional. Do not upload an eBook or publish a print-on-demand book before you have checked it for formatting and editing mistakes.

Independently published books can easily compete with their traditionally published rivals, provided self-publishers emulate the (mostly) high standards of the well-known and respected publishing houses.


Author: Sue Bell
Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.

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