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  • Self Publishing Skills: 7 Skills for an Outstanding Writer

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    Books - Perfect Bound, Self-publishing

    What self publishing skills do you need to be a successful author? Once you’ve made the decision to publish your own book, your next moves involve printing, marketing, and distributing your book. To be successful, you’ll need a set of specific self publishing skills that will take you from “hopeful writer” to successful, self-published author.

    1. Book Design

    As a self-published writer, some of the most important self publishing skills involve a good understanding of book design and its importance in marketing and selling your book.

     Basic book formatting:  You must have basic word processing skills that will allow you to quickly navigate a standard word processing program like Microsoft Word. While you may be tempted to use one of the free word processors available, you may find that it limits your ability to send, edit, or format your book the way that publishers and printers need.

    If you’ve been using a free program, switch to a standard, paid program, at least for the definitive version of your book. Use a standard, widely accepted format that makes it easy to design your book, share it, and format it according to the requirements of online publishing platforms.

    Book Interior:  A readable book has the correct ratio of white space to text and pictures. It also uses headers, footers, indents, and other elements that make it readable. You’ll need a solid grounding in book design to make yours easy to read.

    Book cover: The cover is the most important part of your book design. Designing an eye-catching book cover is the best way to interest potential readers in your book. Any room in your marketing budget should go to hiring a professional book designer, at least for the front cover. If you are an artist—or have a friend who is willing to contribute their artistic talents—you may decide to design it yourself.

    There are also free online programs that help non-artists create book covers. If money is tight, you can still produce an attractive cover without professional help if you follow these basic rules:

    • Keep the design simple and clean.
    • Use bold, easily legible font.
    • Don’t mix different font styles.
    • Use bright colors and a single, eye-catching image.

    2. Self Publishing Skills Include Online Direct-to-Print Formatting

    Are you planning to publish your book online? If you want to make your book available on Amazon or Kindle Direct Publishing, you must use their specific formatting guidelines. Their formatting programs will guide you through the process of designing the book and even designing a cover. However, if you want your book to look professional, hire a graphic designer.

    3. Storytelling Ability for Self Publishing Skills

    Every successful author uses a compelling story that the reader can’t help wanting to see through to the end. Even if you’re writing a nonfiction book, you need a story that grabs the reader’s attention and keeps it until the end.

    Think about what the hook of your book is. Is it a wonderful plot full of mysterious twists and turns? Is it a simple solution to a problem some readers have? Does it offer new insights into a familiar story or famous person? Catching a reader’s interest and holding it is one of the self publishing skills that will help your book stand out.

    4. Self Publishing Skills: Resilience

    Writers must face a lot of potential rejection. As a self-published writer, you may not have to contend with rejection by a commercial publisher. However, you do have to deal with the opinions of your book from editors, pre-publication book readers, and friends. They may offer constructive criticism, and it will be hard not to take it personally. Try to remember that their only goal is to help you draft the best book possible.

    Once your book is published, it’s available for anyone to review. How will you deal with negative reviews? Some authors claim they never read reviews of their books, but it’s probably impossible to resist doing so. A better approach is to plan how you will handle any criticisms of your story, characters, viewpoint, or writing. Remind yourself that readers are entitled to their opinions.

    You may also deal with the loneliness of long hours spent at your desk. Maybe you let other relationships or responsibilities slide as you dedicated every spare moment to writing your book. Now, you’re faced with the task of catching up and repairing those relationships.

    Writing can be isolating and emotionally difficult. For this reason, you’ll need to develop the self publishing skills of resilience and fortitude. A good support system and a good attitude will help.

    5. Self-Editing

    Finishing your book is a fantastic achievement, but your work isn’t over when you get to the last page. Now, the next part of the journey starts. Leave your manuscript alone for a few days, and approach it with a fresh set of eyes. Be tough on yourself, and cut everything that doesn’t work.

    Every book needs a good editor. If you’re working with a professional editor, you get invaluable outside help shaping and polishing your story. If you’re on your own, you must develop strong self-editing skills. It’s one of the top self publishing skills every writer needs.

    To get good at self-editing, you need a good grasp of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Avoid the common writing mistakes that derail many writers. Keep editing until your book is ready for printing, but don’t get caught in a constant cycle of “one more draft.” You’ll reach a point of diminishing returns, where constant rewriting will just make the book worse and tire you out.

    What’s the right number? Most writers say that three drafts allow them to dedicate each round to a specific task:

    • Cleaning up major grammatical and usage errors
    • Rearranging blocks of text to create better flow.
    • Polishing the language sentence by sentence

    6. Self Publishing Skills: Belief in Yourself

    Writing a book is a huge leap of faith. It says that you believe in what you have to say powerfully enough to share it with the world. It says you know you’re good enough to tell the story that nobody else can.

    It’s also a leap into a huge unknown with lots of nagging self-doubt. What if the book isn’t good enough? What if people hate it? What if you’re fooling yourself about your talents?

    It’s easy to let these doubts nag at you, but you must develop a way to deal with them. Some writers use meditation and mindfulness techniques. Others make sure to have a go-to method for banishing negativity. Before you start writing, think about ways to get through these lonely battles with yourself. Here are some ideas to hone these self publishing skills.

    • Tell yourself that you’re a writer, and the proof is that you’re authoring a book. That sounds simplistic, but it’s amazing how well some positive affirmation can work. Give yourself permission to call yourself a writer. It’s not like “being a writer” is some exclusive club that only a select few are allowed to get into. All it takes is writing, and that’s what you’re doing.
    • Develop a writing schedule. Sticking to a schedule will add professionalism to your writing and help you stay focused.
    • Accept self-doubt without letting it derail you. So, you’re not perfect, so what? Tell yourself that you’re doing your best and you won’t know if the book is any good until you get to the end.

    You probably won’t write the perfect book the first time around. Like any skill, writing improves with practice, and writing for publication is an entirely separate skill from the writing you’ve done up to now. Belief in yourself is one of the best self publishing skills you can develop. It will get you through the tough times.

    7. Self Publishing Skills: Flexibility

    Becoming a successful self-published author means taking on many roles. You must learn design, production, printing, and marketing. You need the willingness to learn and to step into all these roles. These self publishing skills will help you prove yourself as a new author.

    Develop the Self Publishing Skills You Need for Success

    Becoming a successful writer means mastering many skills. You’ll need patience with yourself during the learning process, but there’s no doubt you’ll get there. If you want a partner in printing, work with an experienced company like Dazzle Printing, where we specialize in working with self-published writers. Check out our online printing calculators for a free quote.


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