Beginner’s Tips for Aspiring Authors and Publishers

  • Read all you can about self-publishing. There are many different aspects of the business to consider before you even start writing your book.
  • Join St. Louis Publishers Association (SLPA), Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), or other professional publishing associations.
  • Research your market. Be sure your book fills an existing need.
  • Compare. Spend a couple of hours at a bookstore studying books that are similar to the one your plan to write. Check for price, size, number of pages, overall appearance, and tone.
  • Know who your target market is and how you’re going to reach them.
  • Enlist the help of other professionals, especially in areas where you lack expertise.
  • Get several bids for each job—printing, artwork, and such—you’re going to have done by an outside contractor. Get references and be sure terms are in writing.
  • Find out from those with some experience what questions to ask BEFORE getting those bids.
  • Hire someone else to edit your manuscript, regardless of the strength of your editing skills. Writers are not good editors and proofreaders!
  • Make every effort to send an error-free book to the printer. Correcting your errors during the printing process will be very costly.
  • Have your book cover professionally designed.
  • Send bound galleys or advance copies to reviewers and possible endorsers several months before you go to press.
  • Be sure your distribution plans are in place BEFORE you get your books back from the printer.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask “Would you explain what that means?”
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