Lifesaving Tips for Self-Publishers

Here are some hard-won lessons I’ve learned and want to share with you.  They will make your life much easier!

Make your work available as an e-book. This can be easy if you use an outlet like Lulu.com or CreateSpace. Some places, like FastPencil, will let you create and edit online so you don’t even have to stay at home with your word processor.

Price your e-book fairly low.  Remember that you don’t have to work at all when you sell one.

Be aware of current costs of books and don’t price too much below or above the going rate. Above and people won’t pay, below and they’ll say “what’s wrong with it?”

Use a beta reader. The more eyes, the better. You will ALWAYS find something that needs fixing.

When formatting, use full justification when you write. If the print lines up nicely on both sides of the page, it will give a cleaner, neater look. If you don’t know what this means, find out.

When submitting your work, pay attention to the final size of the page and pick a font size that will be readable.  Also, pick a font that is easy on the eyes, such as Times New Roman. A common size for books is six inches by nine, it helps to set your page that way in the beginning so you don’t have to make a bunch of changes later.

Use good word processing software so you can make your work look its best, such as Libre Office. That’s free to anyone with an internet connection.

If you are designing your own cover, avoid clutter and make sure you use an image that is high enough resolution to look good in printing. The company you are working with will tell you the minimum resolution required for images. There’s free image editing software out there, it’s called GIMP and it’s excellent. Like Libre Office, it’s open source and virus free. Both programs come in Windows, Mac, and Linux versions.

Don’t forget to leave room for the barcode and ISBN on the back of your book, if you design that space in, it will look much more finished.

Write what you love, write what you know, and never ever write something you don’t know about without expert help. That is, talk it over with someone who knows the subject and then listen to what they have to say!

And finally, don’t pay for any services unless you know exactly what you are getting!

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