The Do's and Don'ts Of Self-Publishing Your Nonfiction BookAug 29, 2023
As an upcoming author, you hold the power to educate, inspire and impact your readers and potential clients with a powerful book. But as you already know, with power - come's great responsibility. You have a responsibility to yourself and your readers to create a well-researched and trustworthy book.
I've created a list of do's and don'ts when self-publishing your book. When you follow the dos, you build a foundation for your book that resonates with readers and stands the test of time. Simultaneously, you'll need to avoid the pitfalls when writing (and publishing) your book. Take it from me - I've spent tens of thousands trying to do it properly, and I wish I had this list before writing my first book. I would've saved a fortune!
- Extensive Research: Thoroughly research your chosen nonfiction topic to make sure what you're communicating is accurate.
- Build a writing habit: Creating consistency is key to getting your manuscript written. Read my article here on how to build a writing habit.
- Establish Your Authority: Establish your expertise in the field through your writing, credentials, and experiences. Readers need to trust your insights. Do this in the introduction of your book.
- Provide Value: Your nonfiction book should offer practical, actionable advice or information that benefits your readers. Aim to solve problems and address the needs of your reader.
- Organise Thoughtfully: Organise your book logically and coherently. Use clear headings, subheadings, and chapters to make it easy for readers to navigate.
- Cite Sources: If you're presenting data, research, or information from other sources, properly cite them to maintain credibility and avoid plagiarism.
- Create a Strong Introduction: Craft an engaging and informative introduction that outlines what readers can expect to learn from your book.
- Use Examples and Case Studies: Incorporate real-life examples and case studies to illustrate your points and make your content relatable.
- Include Images/Tables: If applicable, use charts, graphs, images, or infographics to visually enhance your explanations and make complex concepts more understandable. The easier to read, the better off your readers'.
- Include a Call-to-Action (CTA): Share Call-to-Actions throughout the book. Whether it's encouraging readers to take specific actions or providing avenues for further learning, you're the expert and overdeliver on what you're teaching them.
- Find a cover designer in your niche: Places like Reedsy are great to narrow down a designer. Have a look at their previous work and seek a quote. Some designers may charge a lot more, but there are also options like Fiverr if you're working on a smaller budget.
- Set realistic goals and habits: From the beginning, set a realistic time frame for writing, publishing and marketing. Depending on other commitments, if you write one hour a day, five times a week, you can have a manuscript completed within 6-8 weeks. Allow at least that amount of time for your manuscript to be edited, formatted and proofread before publishing.
- Invest in professional editing. To really add a professional touch to your book, hire an editor. Again, editors can charge a lot, so be sure to work within your budget and understand that they usually charge high rates from their experience.
- Format your book for print and digital: Vellum or Atticus is excellent software for turning your manuscript into a to-download/print book file. Find simple formatters or hire someone to create your book files that you upload to Amazon.
- Seek professional advice: To not overspend and gain an understanding of the self-publishing process, be sure to reach out to a professional. They'll be a book coach or someone specific to your problem.
- Plan your marketing strategy: Marketing should begin before your book is published. Let people know you're writing a book and start gathering readers willing to leave a review before launch.
- Build a launch team: Your team may include colleagues, clients, friends and family. Get them to read your book before it is launched, and ask them to leave a review on Amazon the day your book launches. This gives social proof and boosts visibility in the Amazon marketplace.
- Don't Sacrifice Accuracy for Drama: While nonfiction can be engaging, avoid exaggerating or distorting facts to create drama. Maintain integrity and credibility.
- Don't Overwhelm Readers: Nonfiction books can sometimes get technical or dense. Avoid overwhelming your readers with jargon or overly complex language. If there's one thing my editor has taught me, it's that being able to show instead of telling goes a long way. Nonfiction should be simple and easy to read.
- Don't Plagiarise: Always attribute ideas, quotes, and information to their original sources. Plagiarism can damage your reputation and lead to legal issues. I include my sources at the back of my books. Sources include any research, websites, articles, interviews, books or journals I've attributed.
- Don't Neglect Design: Even for nonfiction, a well-designed book layout and cover are essential for grabbing readers' attention and conveying professionalism.
- Don't Be Inconsistent: Maintain a consistent tone and style throughout your book. Inconsistencies can distract and confuse readers.
- Don't Skimp on Marketing: Promote your nonfiction book effectively. Utilize online platforms, social media, and other marketing strategies to reach your target audience.
- Don't Skip Reviews: Before publishing, seek feedback from the launch team you've built and ensure they're ready to write a review when the time comes.
- Don't Overlook Legal Considerations: If your nonfiction book includes legal or medical advice, consult professionals to ensure you provide accurate information without liability risks.
By following these do's, you'll be on your way to creating a nonfiction book that reflects your expertise and resonates with your target audience, delivering value and making a positive impact in the world.
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