Self-Published Your Book? What’s Next?

In Part 1, I showed you how to prepare your book, proofread it and how to publish it to Amazon and Smashwords. So what happens next?

PAYMENT
You want to get paid for sales right? So now you need to go into your Amazon or Smashwords accounts and enter your payment details and complete their online tax interview. If you live in the UK and hope to sell your work, you should have registered as self-employed with HMRC and they will have sent you a Tax Identification Number. If you haven’t done so, then you can call them or get a form online. If you live elsewhere, then you need to contact your local tax office for advice.

TIP: At the time of writing, as I understand it, if you register as a self-employed writer (UK), you can offset relevant expenses against any income, but if you class it as a hobby then you can’t. In time, if your earnings are below a certain amount, then HMRC may decide that it is a hobby, but initially it’s worth registering. (Always seek advice).

If you have your Tax Number (TIN) then:
For Amazon – You will be able to complete a W-8BEN tax form online during the tax interview in your account, where you will input your TIN in Part1, Section 6. Amazon will not let you publish until this has been completed.

For Smashwords you have to post the W-8BEN form to them in the USA and you can choose to either be paid less 30% tax or defer payments until they receive your form.

Pretty straightforward, but if you are not a UK resident, then there is plenty of help on their respective websites.

NOW WHAT?
Well you’ve sorted your financials and you’ve published your ebook, now it’s the real hard work – the marketing – and here are just a few tips.

SET UP PROFILES
On Amazon you need to join Author Central and set up an author page. This is where you can promote yourself, it shows your books and you can link to your tweets and have discussions with readers and put a link to your website. TIP: Amazon have a separate Author Central for .com and .co.uk, so you need to set up in both.

On Smashwords – again go and set up your profile. You can also opt to do an Author Interview, whereby there will be automatic questions and you can choose to answer or skip whichever ones you wish.

There are other places where you can promote yourself, and don’t be afraid to do this. Don’t feel that you’ve only published one book and you’re not big enough yet for all this. Perception is key. If people see you as a professional, confident author, they will have confidence in trying out your book.

GET REVIEWS
Ask people to review your book. Even if you only get a few, some is better than none. Personally I don’t agree with the various groups on Facebook that do review swaps – you give me 5* for mine and I’ll do the same for yours – as I believe reviews should be genuine. If your friends have bought your book and they liked it, then I can’t see why you can’t ask them for a review. However, if they make the review look personal or obvious that they know you, Amazon has been known to remove them, so be careful.

DO A MAILSHOT
If you have a website and a mailing list, send out a mailshot and promote on your website. If you don’t have your own site, but you blog for people, ask them if you can write a blog post and put a link to your book.

SOCIAL MEDIA
Promote on Twitter and Facebook, but be careful about this. Too much self promotion is frowned upon. You need to build relationships with people rather than shove things in their faces. People tend to respond to ‘book release day – feeling nervous’ and a link, rather than ‘please buy my book’ over and over.

Write some posts about how hard or easy you found self-publishing, or some other relevant topic, with a link to your book.

There are also groups on Facebook such as Promote Your Books and Nook & Kindle Readers and others that give you opportunities to do so, but personally I feel many of these are just authors listing books and I’m not sure if anyone buys from it. You are better off interacting in groups that perhaps let you promote on a Friday only. Get to know people, chat on other’s posts and then promote your book on promo day.

BLOG
If you don’t have a website/blog then consider getting one. There are plenty of free ones out there such as WordPress. If you blog once a week/fortnight and build traffic, while keeping a page listing your books. People will eventually notice and may take a look at it, because they enjoy your blog posts. This is much better than saying ‘buy my book’.

It is an ongoing process and most authors hate it, but a necessary part of promoting sales. If you choose to also produce a hard copy of your book, then there are other options, such as buying a stock of books and going to book fairs and writing festivals or offering to do signings in librarys and bookstores (if they’ll have you) or even at your kid’s school fete where you donate part of your sales to school funds.

TIP: Download Mark Coker’s free Book Marketing Guide for further guidance on how to market your book.

A PRINTED VERSION
I haven’t yet done a printed version, but I can point you in the right direction. If you used Amazon for your ebook you are halfway there and their people for printed books on demand is Createspace. The text should be fairly simple as you have done the hard work already, but you will have to consider the spine and rear when it comes to the cover, so you will need to make some changes to the cover you used for the ebook. Here is a useful step-by-step guide I found at the Mashable Blog. There is also Lulu.com and other similar sites that you may wish to consider.

Good luck with your project.
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