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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Clemmer

7 Little Things Wasting Your Time: Self-Publishing 101

Self-publishing is a competitive industry, and if you don’t know how to optimize your work, you’ll risk falling behind compared to your competition and losing readers who prefer more active publishing schedules. But writing a book takes time. So does editing, and so does putting together a quality book.

When you hear about authors churning out a book every month, you have to ask yourself what steps they’re skipping and how they can spend such a short period of time on something that could take months or years to a newer writer. Some of these time-saving tips might surprise you.

Are you a slow typist? Or do you struggle with repetitive strain when you type too much too quickly? Learning fast typing is a good skill that will pay off in the long run, and even participating in frequent writing sprints is a good way to build your speed. Lots of writers take things even further from there. Dictation software has come a long way in the past few decades, and now there are a number of options available for writers who want to speak their text instead of typing. This method takes time to adjust to, but will save a lot of writing time later on, and your wrists will thank you.

You don’t need to write five drafts for every book. Neither should you need to submit to multiple editors when your self-editing job is done. If you’re familiar with the standard strengths and weaknesses of your writing and storytelling, you can speed the job up by focusing on the areas where you need extra work. Digital editors and proofreaders like ProWritingAid and Grammarly can also speed the time it might take you to iron out the rough spots in your draft.

When tweaking your later drafts, it can be a good idea to have someone else read your book. But it isn’t necessary to send your book to a team of beta readers, your critique partner, your spouse, your mom, and your dog. Too much feedback can stop a book dead in its tracks, and writing by committee is never a good idea. Instead, try to be very direct about how much feedback you want and on what areas. Don’t exhaust yourself—especially when your book is this close to being completed.

Formatting used to be a beast to tackle, especially if you wanted to put together a paperback or hardcover book instead of simply an ebook. Fortunately, ebook formatting is largely automatic on many platforms as long as you include easy-to-find chapter headings. Otherwise, your book should look fine if you use a template. A fancy custom formatting job isn’t necessary, but a clean one is!

Launch preparation doesn’t need to be exhausting, but it is a good idea to know what you plan to do for the first few weeks of your book’s release. A pre-order might sound like a good idea, but in most cases it isn’t necessary when you’re starting out. Surprisingly, your launch doesn't determine everything about your success----consistency when you publish does a lot more.

If you feel like you need to spend more time promoting a book than you do writing it, you’re overthinking it. Marketing shouldn’t be overly time consuming or exhausting—in fact, the best promotions should be energizing and make you excited to get back to writing. Instead of tackling every single type of book marketing tactic you can brainstorm, concentrate on the one or two methods that will give you the best return. If you’re new to publishing, find a slightly more successful author in your subgenre and try to learn how he or she handles marketing. The same tricks will probably work for you!

It’s a well-known conundrum among writers that you need to need to get reviews before you can sell a book, but you need to sell it before you get the reviews. And the process of getting reviews is a hassle—you can choose between haggling friends and family for a few words or hunting down book bloggers and reviewers who would like to give your book a shot. While Amazon bans the purchase of reviews (making it even harder for new authors to make it), there are plenty of readers out there who would be willing to accept a free ARC (Advance Review Copy) in exchange for an honest review. You can find these readers simply by asking around, and sites like Book Sirens and BookSprout also offer to simplify the process. After you get it set up, you shouldn’t have to spend any more sleepless nights hunting down another potential review.

What time-saving tips have you discovered in your writing career? Please sign in to share in the comments below or click on the blue button to join my group for self-publishing fiction writers on Facebook.


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