Can you spot a self-published book? Does the cover give it away or is it the grammatical mistakes or something else? Here are some critical things to consider to make sure your self-published book doesn’t look, well, self-published.
Develop your hook.
A hook is more than a catchy description. It is what differentiates your book from all other books on the market. Take time to research and read previously published books and find a unique angle that makes your book stand out. Write something that no one has ever written or from a different perspective. Find the gap in the knowledge or told by an unexpected character.
Thoroughly research your topic.
It is one thing to know about a topic and an entirely other thing to write a book about it. A good story is not enough. Go deeper and find what others left untouched. If you are writing a murder mystery, visit the coroner’s office. If you are writing about buying and selling a house, research national, regional and local trends in the housing market. Get the facts even if you aren’t going to use all of the information you gather. Know more than you write.
Edit, edit and then edit some more. Repeat.
Get feedback before you publish. Once you have edited your manuscript beyond what you thought was possible, get beta readers to read it. Enlisting your spouse and siblings is fine, but go further. Join a critique group to give and receive honest, critical feedback. If the answer is, “It’s great! I love it!” keep looking for someone who can dig a little deeper. Finally, hire a quality editor to save you from the one-star club.
Know your weaknesses.
Build a team and spend money as necessary to present your book in a professional way. If you aren’t great at manipulating documents in Word, hire someone to format your book. Baffled by layout and design? Hire a cover designer. Surround yourself with people who succeed when your book succeeds. Don’t let the cost stop you from self-publishing your book. Think of it as an investment in your success.
Understand that writing a good book is work.
Take writing classes. Read books, blogs and watch videos to learn from the experts. Join writing and critique groups for tips and encouragement. Take your writing seriously enough to make it part of a weekly schedule. Although some teach that you can write a book in a weekend, you probably aren’t going to write a good book in a weekend. Be persistent. Write something badly and then keep writing until it works. You didn’t learn to read on your first try. It is the same with writing.
Take the time and the steps necessary to publish a book worth reading. Now, go boldly and write.