I found a useful article in hubbie's PCPro this week. It talks about the pros and cons of publishing via Kindle and how to set about publishing yourself. The screen shots are at the end of the article so download them and you can read them properly.
They listed 7 points:
- Pick your niche
- Publish a great book
- Get the price right
- Multiple Media (add print books)
- Find an audience
- Stick to one platform
- One niche, multiple titles
Points 1, 2 & 3 are absolutely spot on. I would also add in, make sure you get a great cover that shows up well as a small image.
Point 6 talks about sticking with Kindle and how much hassle it is to get books on Kobo. I agree with the difficulty to get books to Kobo, B&N etc direct - especially when you are in the UK. BUT, using Smashwords gets around this by doing the hard work for you. Yes, you lose a little extra in royalties, but the guy writing the article is correct - you could be spending your time writing the next book!
Point 4 is a little tricky. Createspace is the system I use to develop paperbacks. Once you know how to use it then everything is cool, but you definitely need a professional cover or be able to create one yourself. And formatting the file is also vitally important.
Point 5 is the whole idea of finding an audience. This implies you don't know your audience before you start writing. In my opinion that is wrong. You should know your audience, your genre, at least some way, before diving in head first. When I started in MM I didn't know who some authors were, I didn't know all about publishers, but I made sure I learnt as much as I could.. and I learnt from my mistakes.
Point 7 is again really important. Building a back list of books will generate income when people check out your old books as they buy a new book.
In conclusion, other points I would add to this list:
- Get good cover art
- Write, write and then write - get a few books out
- Only look at self-publishing as an experiment that will have its ups and downs! You may be lucky and have a best seller, or not... For some the experiment will work but you can never take away the vital links to being with a publisher.