Note: This is a post meant for writers who are interested in self-publishing. You can find more articles on self-publishing here.
In this series of self-publishing posts I’m doing, I wanted to make sure to touch on an important topic for indie writers: professionalism.
While self-publishing has grown into a legitimate and respectable market, there still remains a stigma among many writers and readers. Often, people shy away from self-published works, saying that they’re garbage. To be fair, there IS a lot of self-published garbage out there (that’s inevitable since ANYONE can self-publish).
But don’t forget, there’s also plenty of professionally published works that stink. Just because a book is published by a professional publisher does not guarantee that it’s good. To dismiss all indie works is extremely short sighted.
For those of us that take self-publishing seriously and take every measure to make sure we’re putting quality work out there, it can be frustrating to have our work stereotyped as garbage just because SOMEONE ELSE wrote something horrible and vomited it up onto the internet.
So today I’m issuing a call-to-action for all you indie writers out there: be professional!
I mean it. Sure, you might be doing all the formatting and editing and cover designing on a minuscule budget, but make sure you write a QUALITY piece (this means having others look at it objectively before you publish), have a gorgeous cover, and do everything in your power to make your readers (these are your CUSTOMERS) happy.
I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret secret: Being unprofessional makes you and your product look bad. And it makes all us self-published writers look bad. Would you want to buy a book that looks like the cover was designed in MS word in 5 minutes? Would you leave a good review for a book riddled with typos? Probably not. Take your time and make sure you’re putting out a great product.
Another not-really-a-secret is this: If you put out a professional-level book, you will get more sales and more positive reviews. This keeps your readers happy, loyal, and willing to invest their time in more of your stuff. That’s the point of self-publishing, right? To get your work out there? You want to do everything you can to stack the deck in your favor.
So what do you need to do to be professional about your publishing? My friends, it means you have to go the extra mile. Yes, get a designer to do your cover (you can get professional-looking covers done at Fiverr for $5!) if you’re not an amazing graphic artist. Definitely have people you trust tell you if your work is worth publishing or if it needs edits. Eliminate ALL typos or grammatical errors. Format your book nicely, market it appropriately, and always go out of your way to make your readers happy.
So be professional. I don’t know how else to say it. Be. Professional. Do it for yourself, for your fellow indie writers, for your sales, your reputation, and – most importantly – your readers. Present something you’re proud of. Hold yourself to the same standards that a traditional publishing house would hold you to. Then go even further than that.