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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

IWSG: 5 things you need to do before self-publishing

This is a monthly event started by the awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh and organized by the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Click here to find out more about the group and sign up for the next event.

Huge apologies to the group, as I have taken one long hiatus. I took the summer off on purpose, as summers are always busy, but I confess that the past two first Wednesdays of the month slipped right by me unnoticed. Ugh, where did time go?

Anyway, I'm back and I do have something to post today. Lately, I've had many emails in the form of: "Hey, I see you're an indie writer. There's this book I've been meaning to publish, what's your advice?"

And while my response would be, "Let's meet for lunch because this is going to be a loooooong conversation," I did manage to put together 5 Extremely Important (yes, capitalized) things every new writer should take the time to do. Here they are:

1) Shop for a really nice cover: the only books with awful covers that sell have a lot of sex; so either put steamy hot scenes in your book, or invest in a nice cover.

2) Be smart about categories and key words: these are important to make sure your book gets the maximum visibility in the Amazon categories.

3) Tell people about your book: Use all platforms to advertise the book launch. Start a little earlier with cover reveals etc. to generate some anticipation. Don't just say, "Hey, I wrote a book." Tell people why they should read it. What's new about it? Why is it compelling?

4) Start building a mailing list: the best way to do that is by offering a free story and then advertise the "offering" on FB groups and book blogs. You can see what I did here.

5) Offer free review copies of your book to book review bloggers and readers who are willing to post a review on Amazon on launch day or shortly after. This last point is of utter importance. The sooner the book starts garnering reviews, the better.

So those are my 5 "essentials" so to speak. Truth is, there's no "winning" formula. But until you get out there and try it, you'll never know what works and what doesn't. Speaking of which ... I have a new book coming out next week. ;-)


  1. I select my books based on the cover first, so it is important.
    Welcome back to the IWSG!

  2. You're coming off hiatus, and I'm going on it. :(

    Good list! (Assuming the writer has done his or her due diligence with the writing and editing.)

    IWSG #115 until Alex culls the list again

  3. Great advice. Especially number one. A good cover means I'll pick it up.

  4. Glad to see you and I agree with all of your tips. Mailing lists are something I've been postponing because they look so daunting. Mailing lists and street teams--ugh.

    Anna from Elements of Writing

  5. Love the tips, Great post. Glad to see ya on 1st Wed again, missed ya.
    Juneta Writer's Gambit

  6. Good tips. A good cover is so important. With so many books being released every day (every hour?) we have to do everything we can to make ours stand out. Glad you're back.

    Best wishes,
    Diane IWSG #92

    1. yup, so daunting when you think about how many books Amazon publishes every day ...

  7. These are helpful to even traditionally published authirs, but the one thing we don't have much control over is the tags and categories. I can offer key words but my publisher picks the categories, which means my books aren't narrowed down enough so they can get noticed and I can't change that. Excellent tips!

    1. I know, and I confess I've grown attached to the idea of being in control of those things too ... truth is, the best of the two worlds is to be a hybrid author and have one foot in each door.

  8. Great tips! #3 is something I'm always reminding myself when it comes to my webcomics. (I'm always afraid I annoy people when I post about my work, which keeps me from marketing it as much as I should.)

    And how exciting that Athel will be out in just a week! Best of luck with the release! :)

    1. thank you Heather, there's a link to your website in there too! :-)


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