Apparently it is the week of clickbait titles.
Welcome back to another self-publishing advice blog post – today I want to talk to you about some of the incredible services you can find online, tools which will help you not only to self-publish a novel but to get yourself working towards that goal.
All of these are services I use – not just ones that I’ve used in the past, but ones I use even now for managing my self-publishing. They cover getting published, producing a book, marketing, understanding sales, and general advice. Effectively, this is my toolkit.
So without further ado, here you are:
This first tool is not, actually, for self-publishing – it’s for getting published. But as for me that was one of the main steps on the road to self-publishing, it seems only right to include it here.
Duotrope is a directory of publishers who accept submissions. It tells you who’s accepting, what they accept, when they’re accepting it, how they’re accepting it, what they pay, and all manner of other useful information.
Through it I have found almost all of the places that I’ve submitted work to, including the ones in which I have been published. They’ve also just announced an additional directory for literary agents, which is exciting!
Now Duotrope is a subscription service, but it’s a very cheap one – just $5 a month, which works out to about £3 for me. I don’t regret the money that I invest into it at all.
I don’t use it as an editor for writing in – though you can, and its UI is lovely so you might like doing so. What I use is the exporting option. Mundane Magic was done this way, both for eBook and print (as you’ll notice in the copyright page – the acknowledgement is required, and a small price for a great tool).
You can also get professional editing services through this if you want. I got an external editor, but I used Reedsy to get several quotes and work out the breadth of options available for editing, which was invaluable.
I’m hopeful that soon they will expand with some more style options, as there’s only a couple at the moment – but would nonetheless wholeheartedly recommend it.
Marketing is tiring, and almost unmanageable if you do it all manually. You’ve got to be there at your computer whenever you want to post, and do it, and remember to, and if you’re posting at a good coverage of times of day this would be awful. So, instead, queue social media posts in advance!
I do this using Social Pilot but it’s not the only option out there. Be warned that most services like this are subscription based – but many (SP included) have a free option which gives you limited power. The good news is I’ve been using a free account for the past 18 months and I’ve only just reached the point where I need to upgrade.
With Social Pilot you can set a posting schedule (mine, as you might have noticed, is 1pm and 7pm GMT daily), then just queue up a post and it’ll go automatically into those scheduled slots. You can also post right away, which means you can do all your posting at once – no more entering things into every different social media platform!
It’s capable of uploading media, attaching gifs, allowing other people to come in and manage your social media, and all sorts. I strongly recommend using something like it.
Author Central/Amazon Author UK
You’ve published your novel, and it’s out there to the world. How do you know how well it’s doing?
Most distributors get their sales figures slowly, owing to the need to receive figures from every single seller that they distribute to – so relying on your distributor’s figures isn’t always the best. But maybe you know that most of your sales are going through Amazon (and let’s be fair, these days most of them will be, especially if you’re publishing digitally).
Fortunately, Amazon’s own data is much more up-to-date, and it also offers you some other opportunities. By signing up to their Author login and claiming your book, you can edit your author page and upload photos, leave a bio, and make sure all of your published books (if you’ve more than one) are linked together.
On top of this, you can then see some graphs – sometimes jaw-dropping, sometimes painful – of your sales ranking on Amazon. As a small-time author, I strongly advise not reading the number on your sales ranking, just looking at the curve of the graph!
Self-Publishing Advice Centre
Run by the Alliance of Independent Authors, the Self-Publishing Advice Centre is hands down the best website I have found for self-publishing help. Everything is covered here – every stage of the process, from writing to promotion. They have a blog which is regularly updated and contains brilliant tips from their members and more.
To get a taster of their work I suggest signing up for their weekly roundup, which is always a good list of the major things they’ve published this week on the blog, plus things found elsewhere.
If you found this post helpful and want to know more about self-publishing, let me know your questions! You can find me on Twitter and Facebook, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with enquiries.