Self Publishing a Paranormal Book
Writing your own book is a huge learning curve. I had no idea how it all worked before I started, but thanks to the wonders of the internet I quickly learned. A lot of people have contacted me to say they felt so inspired by my true story, they are now writing their own. But once the manuscript is written they are faced with the same question…now what?
Well the first thing you need to do is to ensure your manuscript is in acceptable shape to submit to agents. ‘It’s not good enough for agents to consider, I just want to self publish’. Did I hear someone say that? I hope not, because if you are not confident that your book is not presentable enough to submit to agents then you should not be self publishing. I’m not saying they will offer you a book deal, it’s incredibly difficult for this genre. But it should be good enough for some full manuscript requests. My advice is to rest your manuscript for a week and come back to it with fresh eyes. While you are waiting, buy and read these fantastic books. If your book is non fiction it still has to have acceptable plot lines, story structure and developed characters. I did not have any of these books when I wrote ‘Paranormal Intruder,’ but I wish I had. They are a fantastic source for any writer. Here are just a few of the books you should be reading.
On Writing by Stephen King
The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks
The Art of Character by David Corbett
Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham
I also recommend employing an editor and a copywriter to help you tighten up your script. Although I employed both, I still run into difficulties in the U.S. as some readers leave reviews saying the book has spelling mistakes, when it’s just the difference between U.K. and U.S. spelling. Unfortunately I don’t know of anyway around this, although I know if you get a publishing deal then your publishers can ensure books are spelt in language appropriate for the country they are being sold.
Acorn Editing – My highly recommended editors.
Your manuscript is polished and ready. Now you need to devise a list of agents and get your synopsis and agent letter ready. Even if you do not get a publishing deal, a good synopsis will prove invaluable for your Amazon page. Check mine out here. I wrote it in two days. I’ve seen some awful ones on Amazon. My advice is, be professional. Do not write as if you are speaking to the reader, write in third party. Do not write that your book isn’t very good / well written unless you do not want to sell books. I’m not kidding, I have seen this written on Amazon more than once. Several agents emailed me to thank me for presenting my manuscript in such a professional manner. The links below will help. I recommend keeping a spreadsheet so you don’t end up emailing the same agent twice, and don’t mass email. Send only to those who may be interested.
The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook – I recommend the paperback version as you can make notes.
www.agenthunter.co.uk – A useful online tool.
Write a Great Synopsis by Nicola Morgan.
Dear Agent by Nicola Morgan.
Did you get a publishing deal? If so, yippee! Well done, tell us about it. You didn’t? Never mind, the good news is there has never been a better time to be an indie author. If you are self publishing you need to get a kick ass cover designed. Please ensure it looks professional. It is worth paying for. It’s true, books are judged by their covers. I highly recommend Elance, you can hire professionals here. Just make sure you check out their work first.
Goonwrite – You can also pick out a ready-made cover very cheaply here.
Now you need to get your book formatted for Kindle. I recommend hiring a freelancer, but if you want to try to do it yourself then I advise you read this book. In fact you should definitely be reading this book. It tells you everything you need to know about self publishing. I would love to write one myself, but I just don’t have the time. Maybe one day.
Self Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing – By Catherine Ryan Howard.
www.formattingexperts.com – Highly Recommended formatters.
If you wish to self publish I recommend you format for both Kindle and paperback. Your download sales will probably be higher, but some people still prefer paperbacks and there’s nothing like the thrill of holding your physical book in your hand. You should have a good idea of how it all works if you read Catherine Ryan Howard’s book but I also recommend checking out these wonderful podcasts which you can listen to anytime.
The Creative Penn – Joanna Penn – Podcasts, Blog and much more.
Next head on over to these sites to learn the basics. They are surprisingly easy to navigate.
KDP by Amazon – Kindle Direct Publishing.
Createspace – For Print Books.
There are other outlets such as Luluand Smashwords, but initially I recommend Amazon. I strongly advise you do not set up a shopping cart elsewhere as your sales with Amazon affect your rankings and the higher the rankings the better. If you want to sell your book through your site/blog you can, but do it by joining as an Amazon affiliate and post the link. Not only do you benefit from Amazon book sales, you also get a little bit commission back too. You can order in paperback copies of your book, but unfortunately it works out expensive with Createspace as they are produced in America and you have high shipping charges to the U.K. and a whopping duty fee on top of that. It works out much the same to just purchase them direct on Amazon, tick them as a gift, and send them directly to friends and family (although point out that they should be supporting you by buying the book themselves). You then get the royalties back, plus listed in the gifted section and sales rankings will benefit too.
Promotions – KDP Select
Amazon also run great promotions which mean a 90 day exclusivity period, but again, the exposure is well worth it. Many people launch with the free book giveaway but we went with the countdown deal due to the genre. We felt if we gave away our book we were opening ourselves up to a lot of negative feedback, as sometimes sceptics may download it for free just to give it a negative review, without even reading it. People who have to pay generally care about the content enough to read it, and the countdown deal worked well.
Just The Beginning…
There are all sorts of other things to take into consideration such as pricing, (check out your competitors), marketing, feedback and more. I hope to cover these in future blogs. There is enough content to keep you going here in the meantime. Good luck with your endeavours!
Are you thinking of writing or publishing a paranormal book? Have you any sites to recommend? Stop by and say hello. We would love to hear from you.
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