When I initially decided to become an author the first thing I had to consider was whether I should self-publish or go traditional. I looked at self-publishing as it allowed me to target an international market. Let’s face it, getting a conventional publishing deal from a local publisher is near impossible and most of them operate like a vanity press. The other downside to local publishers is that they give preference to books about local subjects rather than consider the wider reading genre that many prefer. Thus self-publishing was the better option and where my steep learning curve began.

Self-Publishing: Do your Due Diligence

Research, Research, Research! I can’t stress this enough. Hopping into self-publishing without all the pros and cons can be detrimental to the success of your book. Quite a few persons claim you can self-publish at the click of a button and magically you will turn into a best seller.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. It takes hours of editing, formatting and getting that right cover design before you can even get the book published and this is before investing time in marketing and gaining reviews. You should always carefully research every possible avenue before self-publishing.

Self-Publishing: Exchange Rates and Budgets

With your research done, the next step would be the cost of getting your book to readers. If you plan to reach a wide audience, chances are you will be using on-line services outside of the Caribbean. Logic dictates all fees would be either in US or UK dollars. Budgeting should therefore, be done in the currency these services are offered. Planning to spend $500 in your homeland’s coinage only to discover that your 6.5 exchange rate brings you to less than $100 will definitely put a wrench in your plans. Your budget should be feasible and done on a monthly basis in order to spread out the expense. Because let’s face it, your first self-published book is not going to be profitable until you’ve written your second and third book.

Self-Publishing: Using Paypal and VTM Cards for Payments

Ninety-five percent of your transactions will be conducted via the Internet. To do so you will need a Paypal account and a credit card. I’m not sure how banking works for every Caribbean island but where I am located credit cards can be an additional debt if you’re not careful. As an alternative, I recommend employing a prepaid or VTM card. With this card, you have minimal banking fees and you can use it to sign up for your Paypal account. There is also the added benefit of limiting your spending habits to only the amount you’ve budgeted.

Self-Publishing: Free Book Promotions can be a Bonus

With self-publishing, there will be a lot of offers to market. However, before you jump into the paid promotions you should always explore the free options first. This way you get a better sense of what marketing work for you and your book and you avoid losing funds, from your limited funding, on advertising that may not work.

Self-Publishing: Beware of Fool’s Gold

You’ve published your book. If you did it right, then you started out with a peak in sales that has you grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat. Weeks have passed and incoming purchases are on a steady decline or have flat-lined altogether. You look around and find a promoter offering an easy way to increase sales. You think this is what you need. Only to realize, what they offer is a series of expensive upgrades that do nothing that you or another reputable company could have done for a quarter of the price. Don’t fall for the hype. Being a self-published author is hard work and to be successful at it, you must put in the long term effort. Be wary of anyone promising instant success.

You can do it too!

Self-Publishing my book has been a journey one with ups and downs. In the end, I don’t regret what I have learned or the route I have taken. I do hope that when you decide to take your quest these tips are helpful to you.

Written by D.H.Gibbs
D.H. Gibbs is a Fantasy and Children’s author from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. You can purchase her books or find out more about her upcoming works from her website dhgibbs.com
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