Technology has changed many things, but none so much as the literary world. And for budding authors, the rise of eBooks, self-publishing and social media is a great way to get your works out there without any help from a publisher.
But where do you start? Author Laura Morgan, who recently self-published her first novel Stars Apart
, shares her top ten tips for producing an eBook.
1. Edit your book online. Use Google docs or another cloud-based editor - you don’t want there to be any chance of losing all your hard work. It’s also a simple way to share your document with your editor.
2. Invest in an Editor. You need your eBook to be as polished as any traditional novel. I met my editor, Katherine Fox, while working as an extra on Game of Thrones. We got chatting, it turned out she was a Communication Officers with a desire to edit a novel. It has been a brilliant partnership: not only did she vanquish all my mistakes, but she littered my novel with questions, leading me to produce a much tighter, leaner novel.
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3. Read your first drafts on your ereader. Visualising your novel as a whole is brilliant for the editing process. A great tool is nowebook.com. It allows you to convert your book as many times as you want, and the formatting is professional and slick.
4. Get your mum to read it. Mums don’t lie.
5. Work out your market. I found that it’s best to write your book and then figure out your market once it’s finished. I was lucky enough to catch Sara Sheridan’s workshop on PR for Writers. She gave an inspirational talk that provided me with a toolbox for marketing my own work. First step – condense your book into three words that most represent it. Mine are: vivid, compelling and sensual. Then work out all the genre and different marketing angles.
6. Commission your artwork. Your front cover is the only physical representation that you have. It is the face of the book. You need it to be eye-catching and instantly engaging. After my first designer fell through (always make sure you set a completion date!) I was lucky enough to be rescued by the incredibly talented Ciaran Hughes and voilà. I now have a beautiful cover that is splashed across all my business cards, postcards and posters.
7. Build a Website. You need a professional platform where your potential readers can search for you. If you haven’t done it before, allow some time and follow the steps carefully. I chose wordpress because it seemed a popular choice and has an array of lovely interfaces to choose from. Write a bio, get a good headshot and off you go.
8. Have a launch party. You've worked hard - you deserve it! This is how you create your local ambassadors. Invite everyone: journos, literati and anyone that has ever seemed interested, give them free booze – and party! At my launch I read an extract from Stars Apart, had a journalist friend interview me, which was followed by lively questions from the audience.
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9. If you are not getting rejected, you are not trying hard enough. I use this mantra to inspire me to try and make at least one marketing effort everyday – from a tiny tweet to a freebie at Christmas. There are so many excellent tools online: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Googleplus. Don’t be shy, start chatting and spread the word. eBooks are brilliant because they have no sell by date.
10. Enjoy it! eBooks are amazing because they can be accessed by anyone, anywhere. Getting feedback from my readers has been the best part of the whole experience. It feels so good to know that my five years of scribbling away has had the desired effect - a book that sucks the readers in and compels them to read to the last page.