These are just a few brief reflections on self publishing a book. Technically I suppose I didn’t actually self publish because I published in the name of my employer and I got funding for the printing. But I did all the tasks involved with publishing the book (Words for Wellbeing) right up to ‘Press Ready PDF’ stage so all the printer had to do was create the cover (to my design), print the inner pages and covers, bind the books and deliver. And I am doing most of the marketing and sales.
So here are my reflections in no particular order:
If you are publishing in the UK you will need an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) which you can obtain from Neilsen. You have to buy a set of 10 for around £120.
You can save money on the printing if you publish the book yourself. I did the bulk of the work in Microsoft Word and then used Acrobat Professional for the final stages and to produce a press ready PDF to send to the printer.
Choose your printer with care and try to get a personal recommendation. I went for a local company (Stramongate Press) and met with them for quite a detailed discussion and to see some books they had printed for other people before going ahead. They did a great job. personally I liked the experience of working with a relatively small company.
There are two main book suppliers in the UK – Gardners and Bertrams. You need to send them each a copy of the book with a good letter as soon as you get the copies delivered. Booksellers such as Amazon, and most bookshops, buy through Gardners/Bertrams.
The British Library in London must be supplied with a copyright deposit copy of every book published in the UK. There are 5 other copyright deposit libraries in the UK and Ireland that are also entitled to a copy of every book published in the UK but they do not always take up that option. Consider writing to the coordinating library in Edinburgh to alert them to your book (I did this and all 5 libraries have taken a copy).
This will not apply to all books … consider whether the book has appeal to a niche market such as (in the case of Words for Wellbeing) health libraries. You might be able to get a newsletter aimed at librarians to offer a book giveaway on your behalf.
Do a good press release and target some newspapers and magazines – the ‘smaller’ the publication the more chance you have of getting a mention. Don’t forget radio stations too, especially if your book has local interest.
Consider doing a book launch – possibly in conjunction with a local independent bookshop.
For those of you who are on Twitter … consider a book giveaway on Twitter. The best way to do this might be to target a particular ‘chat’ on Twitter (investigate # tags to find one that is relelvant to your book). Include a link to information about the book in your Twitter profile and Tweet about the book occasionally. Don’t overdo tweets about your book – few people are interested in following people who constantly promote their own work or business. Make sure most of your tweets are interesting and NOT about promotion, and make friends with re-tweets. You may have 200 or 600 followers or whatever but one of your followers may have 20,000 followers – quite an audience if they decide to re-tweet one of your tweets.
I might add some more reflections at some point.