As you know, and as we love to talk about all the time, the best and worst thing about self-publishing is that the author has all the decision-making power.
While this is fantastic for a number of reasons–(e.g. authors get all the profits)–it can be detrimental for other reasons–(e.g. the editor wasn’t properly screened because the author didn’t know the right questions to ask). As we also say all the time, the time has come for authors to stop making mistakes in the publishing process! There are too many beautiful, well-made, movement-making self-published books out there that are still being discredited by the stigma perpetuated by the shortcuts of other authors. It’s time for YOU, the author, to take the time to educate yourself to do it right; it’s not only fair to the hard-working self-publishing community, but it’s giving your book the shot it needs! To educate yourself, below are the five types of books you’ll need for self-publishing the right way, as well as our favorite selections!
1) The Writing Book
This book is for those at the start of the writing process to get the practice to be a seasoned writer. Writing prompts are fantastic way to engage those writing juices and get the mistakes out of the way! Our favorites are The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction by Brian Kiteley and The Write-Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing by Bonnie Neubauer.
2) The Revision Book
This is the book writers would use after writing the “CFD” (“crappy first draft”), that I-have-all-80,000-words-in-a-Word-doc-and-they-all-suck stage where every single book in the history of books has started out. Our favorites for this stage are The Portable MFA in Creative Writing by the New York Writers Workshop, On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Knowlton Zinsser, and On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.
3) The Wake-up Call Book
Yes, the writing process is a devilish process, and what else is there once that’s done and thought to be perfected? WAKE-UP CALL TIME! It’s time to examine the greater marketability of your book and wake up to the challenges you might face in public reception. To that end, there’s one fantastic book I recommend: 77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected by Mike Nappa. This is coming from a royalty-publishing perspective, and in looking at the 77 reasons, about 30% of them have to do with how you wrote the book and 70% have to do with the marketability of your idea. Sounds pretty important for any author, eh? Regardless of how you publish, you need those lessons of how to reach your audience as well as how NOT to reach your audience.
4) The Process Book
If you want to self-publish, you’ll need a library of books to help you get there! This is the book with the checklists, the list of questions, the instructions for each step so that you can visualize publishing from beginning to end. A few books we recommend: Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter, The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Marilyn Ross, The Well-Fed Self-Publisher by Peter Bowerman, and last but definitely not least The Indie Author Revolution by none other than our very own self-publishing star insider, Dara Beevas! (Coming October 2012.)
5) The Marketing Book
This last book is admittedly the one you’ll go back to again and again the first year after you publish, and then new editions with fresher information will come out and you’ll hopefully trade up! This is because modern marketing is never constant; new sites, methods, and tools are being developed for your use all the time, and to make the most of them you must stay on top of them! For the time being, there are three fantastic books we recommend, but be sure to check for new editions in 12-18 months: The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe by Jeff Bennington, The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, and Content Rules by Ann Handley and C. C. Chapman.