We’ve been discussing in Mama Life how you can self-publish your book through CreateSpace and its print-on-demand services. It really is possible for you to publish your book yourself and it does not cost a lot of money. So many of my authors tell me about the thrill they get when their book arrives in the post – a physical book with THEIR name on it! What an achievement to be proud of.

Let’s look at the timeline for self-publishing. As a rule of thumb, I suggest you allow 3 to 4 months from when you’ve finished your final draft to when your book is published on Amazon.

Once you’ve finished your final draft, it’s time to send it to your editor/proof-reader. They will make the essential fixes to grammar, spelling and flow. While this is happening, you can be getting your cover done. Your cover is an ESSENTIAL element – it’s the first thing people see when they look at a book. Will it grab them? I suggest you look at other books in the same genre as yours. What covers do you like? What draws you in? You can have an illustration, a graphic, a photograph – talented designers can create what you envisage.

It’s good to have your cover done fairly early in the process because you can use that to market your book. It can be the image for your Facebook Page, your Twitter and your website. If you don’t already have any of these things set up – now is the time to do it. The earlier you start promoting your book, the more followers you’ll have when it’s time to publish. Like it or hate it – Social Media is a crucial marketing tool for authors.

In the 3 months leading up to publication day, you will be looking at potential venues for your book launch or book signing. You can have more than one – especially if the theme of your book is varied. Children’s authors often have lots of different options for book launches. Where do parents with children hang out? Libraries, play-barns, child-friendly cafés, independent bookshops, summer fairs, Christmas fairs…there is an endless list. Think about the audience you are trying to reach and have a book stall at the events they attend.

Offer to speak at the local Women’s Institute, networking events, conferences. Remember – think about your readers. Who are they and where are they?

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Another tip I suggest is tapping into a ‘national event’. For example, go to the website www.awarenessdays.com – there you will find listed every event that has a day or week or even month attached to it. Why is this useful? Because you can tag on to the news that is already being generated for that topic. Using hashtags on Twitter or stories in the local press…you might even find somewhere local that is having an event and your book will fit in nicely with them. It could be general – such as ‘National Share a Story Month’ or more specific such as ‘International Cat Day’ (if your book is about cats!)

Independent bookshops in your area are good sources of support. ‘Most’ of them like to support local authors and will be happy to help you put on a book launch. They will keep some of the profits from your book sales, but it is more about getting your name out there and letting people know about you as an author. That’s why I suggest it is important for you to have a website. That is one place that people can go to find out more about you and your book(s). You can have an ‘About the Author’ section, links to buy your book(s) from Amazon, reviews, your blog and a place where you can talk about your ‘next’ book. Your other platforms, such as your Facebook Page, should all be linked to your website. This is the core. Think of your author website as the centre of a wheel and the spokes from this wheel are Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Instagram, Amazon, etc.

Rather than having business cards done, why not think about having bookmarks to hand out? They can have your book cover on them, as well as all the essential information on how to find you. Your website, Facebook page, Twitter address…even the web link to your book on Amazon. They are colourful and a perfect item to handout when you are at events, bookshops or networking. I think in general, people are less likely to throw out a bookmark than a business card.

As your publication date draws nearer, you will have all of your platforms in place. You will be sharing bits about your book and your process of becoming an author, sharing your cover, sharing an Event link that you’ve created from your Facebook page for your book launch and sent out a couple of press releases. Be subtle on Social Media and people will engage and become interested in your book without you telling them to buy it. Remember – a picture tells a thousand words.

And finally…ENJOY it! You have become an author. Well done!

Read the full series in Self-Publishing here: https://www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk/author/susan-miller/

Susan Miller is the founder of TeamAuthorUK – the friendly and affordable self-publishing service. Her team can help with all aspects of self-publishing from editing, cover design, illustrations, CreateSpace, websites, social media training, marketing and PR.
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