Not to walk all over traditional publishing houses, but if you really want to publish a collection of poetry; short stories; or even your very first novel, you could try a different route that has become more popular over the years. With several writers ready to use this method, especially those who are just starting out, self-publishing is a great way to initially get your first project out. I was happy that I was able to get my name published in not one, but two collections of poetry. With that being said, the factors that come into creating a successful book launch is quite exhausting. The word ‘self’ in self-publishing does become quite literal. If you are ever considering following the path of self-publishing, there are a few things that you would have to consider, in order to make your publication a successful one.
Firstly, pay attention to what you want to publish. What is it that you want your readers to see? Is there a theme? Is there a format that you would like to follow? This is very important if you want your book to become a page turner. Secondly, something that I found really helpful was having a second set of eyes look over my finished manuscript. Having a big fat manuscript is daunting and it is possible that you may have looked over a few typos or errors when formatting your script. It is always handy to have someone who is able to criticise well, edit and proofread your manuscript.
Covers. It’s okay if you do not have any Photoshop skills to work out how you want your cover page and back-cover page to look. Canva is a handy online tool which can quickly edit and fix your book cover. They also have a dedicated section called ‘book covers’ which gives you different formatting options. It takes time – weeks even – to come up with a perfect cover and something that you feel could represent your first published work. It would also be handy if you could use public domain pictures or commissioned pieces for your cover.
Finally, something I came across that was tricky was the marketing and promoting techniques – trying to understand how to reach my audience and approach them with my book. It is something that one has to keep in mind when it comes to self-publishing. The best way that I have overcome this is to try and first promote your publication in small independent art collectives, cafés or even bookshops. The more people it reaches, the more chance of catching the eye of larger chains of bookstores.
That being said, self-publishing is not as scary as it seems, especially if you are trying it out for the first time ever. It may seem daunting at first, especially when you know that you have to put a lot of work in, but in the end, it could turn out to be the best thing that you have ever done.