5 Ways to Save Money while Self-Publishing
Self-publishing comes with expenses, but not all publishing expenses were created equal. If you’re starting out in self-publishing and still looking to get established before you more seriously pursue it, here are a few tips on how you can save money.
1. Start with a goal and focus on that.
Often you’ll have several goals for a book: money earned, copies sold, quantity and quality of reviews, etc. All of those are important, but you can’t get everything at once. With your early books, pick one or two main goals and focus on them. You could buy promos to increase sales or get a membership to a review site to grow your number of reviews. Early on it’s more important to grow your following than to sell books, so make sure your first books make it easy for people to jump on board. This can mean multiple formats, aggressive distribution, or a free first book. Having a single goal will give you more freedom to invest in methods that help it and weed out distractions.
2. Find a mentor.
You don’t need to hire a book coach, although you certainly can. Meeting with an author who is more successful and further along than you are can help you make informed publishing decisions for yourself. You might not be able to pin down a household name, but getting involved in self-publishing communities or reaching out to an indie writer you admire can make it easy. Many authors are willing to share their tips, tricks and recommendations—and they might even have a few blog posts or worksheets that they have invented to help themselves or others. Another idea is to make a list of writers you admire and learn everything you can about their processes. Self-publishing varies from author to author, and you might find that the system that works for you isn’t the same as what you see others do. But it is much easier to move forward with confidence if you can observe someone else at work and learn to imitate what you can.
3. Get a critique partner and/or beta readers.
Not everyone can afford a professional editor right off the bat. Fortunately, there are ways around that dilemma. If you choose an AI editor like ProWritingAid, you can be a little more relaxed in getting eyes on your book. If possible, get a team of readers together who are willing to give your draft a sample read-through and recommend changes. Otherwise find a critique partner and swap manuscripts. Unlike an editor, you won’t get a break from your work because you’ll have your own project to mark up. But good critique feedback is comparable to an editor and an effective way to catch what you might have missed when you were writing. Editing your writing yourself is always a popular option, and good before you share your manuscript with others. Unfortunately, even if you have professional skills in catching errors in print, you won’t be able to see everything in your own writing and still need to find someone else.
4. Don’t worry about advertising your book. Optimize it instead.
Advertising can eat up any budget you throw at it. When you’re starting out, there are usually better ways to spend that money. First, you need to examine the impact your book makes when a potential reader sees it as a thumbnail on the page. Is the cover attractive? Does it convey the right mood for the genre? From there, look at your description and first few pages. When the time comes to publish, choose effective keywords that will make you stand out and do your marketing for you. All of the listed impressions of a book are easier to gauge if you pull up a few similar competing titles and use what you find as a basis for how you prepare your own books.
5. Think Long-Term.
How you invest in your book depends on what your plan is—and more than just your plan for that book. What are your plans for yourself, as an author? Some people write with the aim to publish only one book or series. In that case, it’s worth going the extra mile to make sure those books are the best they could be. You want to make a strong impression on readers, and these books are all you’re going to have. If you’re looking into self-publishing as a full-time career, you’ll need to adjust your expectations to fit. Start with an easy project rather than an epic release and focus on building up a backlist of books so that readers who discover you in the future can easily cut back and read your earlier works while they wait for your next release.
How do you manage your spending when planning a book launch? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below. You can also join my group of self-publishing fiction writers on Facebook for further discussion by clicking on the blue button below.