As the holiday season winds down, a new sense of excitement is in the air. This is the year that you’re going to publish a book. You’ve thought about it for months, maybe even created goals around writing, networking, and creating a fan base, but you still haven’t published a book. We get it—life happens, and maybe writing isn’t your full-time job. Now is the time to take a leap and go for it. For all of you aspiring authors ready to take the plunge, we’ve put together a list of New Year’s Resolutions for writers that will make your dream to publish a book in 2020 a reality.
1. Set Goals for Writing and Publishing
In 2020, don’t let writer’s block stand in your way. It’s time to make an action plan—and stick to it. Make sure it’s realistic; not everyone can commit to writing every day. Be honest with yourself and set quantifiable goals to hit a specific number of words on a consistent basis.
A lot of people self-publish for different reasons. What’s yours?
- Do you want to publish one copy for yourself just to say you did it?
- Are you trying to catch the eye of a big-time publisher?
- Maybe you want to start a self-publishing business and sell your book and others?
These are all valid reasons to publish, but it's important to outline your expectations before you dive in head-first. Your end goal will determine the amount of work you need to put in.
2. Find Your Optimal Writing Environment
This is different for every writer! Some of you may prefer the ambient noise of a coffee shop; others might work better in a quiet home office. Find a spot to write that allows you to focus and hit your writing goals.
Pro Tip: carry a notebook everywhere! Ideas will come to you, and inspiration will strike in the most unlikely places. Don’t be caught without a notebook or pen handy!
3. Read, Read, and Read Some More
The best writers are readers. You don’t have to stick to your own genre (expand your horizons!), but you should be aware of the trends within your genre and keep them in mind as you’re planning your book.
4. Research Your Subject Matter
When you publish a book, you are automatically categorized as an expert on the subject. This might seem obvious if you’re writing nonfiction, but it applies to fiction as well. If you’re writing a novel about a plane crashing on a remote island – do some research on aviation and geography!
5. Find and Determine Your Audience
Who’s going to read your book? What media do they consume outside of books? Where do they shop? Ask yourself questions to help further identify your audience and build your author platform.
6. Create a Book Marketing Plan and Timeline
Your book marketing strategy should include a specific timeline to make the most of your book launch and reach more readers. If you don’t have time to create the marketing plan yourself, you may consider evaluating book marketing services to help you.
7. Build Your Following
Challenge yourself to connect with your readers at multiple touchpoints. Research local events and seek out speaking engagements. Engage with your readers through social media marketing and use email marketing to provide additional value to your loyal followers. There are plenty of things you can do to grow your author platform—so many that we even offer a free online course on the subject.
8. Get Involved in Your Writing Community
Most book communities provide ample opportunities to connect through conferences, online boards, social media profiles, and more. Follow influencers, share others’ content, ask for feedback, and volunteer. There’s a lot of value in surrounding yourself with people who can point you in the right direction. A well-constructed network creates a strong foundation for achieving success at every stage of the self-publishing process, from writing to book marketing to sales—so get out there and make some friends.
9. Connect with Your Local Bookstore and Library
Visiting your local bookstore or public library is a simple action that will help you build useful self-publishing connections. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to immerse yourself in your reading community!
10. Research New and Bestselling Books in Your Genre
Take note of competitive titles, price, format, and trim size. What elements, outside of the content, are readers in your genre looking for? What types of book covers do they have? What back cover copy is being used, or keywords are you seeing in the book descriptions online? How are these books being shelved in stores?
11. Learn More About the Business of Book Publishing
Keeping up with your publisher education can only help build on your publishing success. IngramSpark offers a suite of FREE publisher education to help inform your publishing success. Feel free to check out our free online self-publishing courses on popular publishing topics, listen to our self-publishing podcast, or subscribe to our blog.
12. Optimize Your Book Metadata
Metadata matters! Book metadata consists of information like your title, author bio, book description, price, subject codes, trim size, publication date, etc., and there’s a way to optimize each one for the best results.
13. Hire a Book Editor and Cover Designer
Most writers are not professional editors or book designers. Seeking out self-publishing experts helps eliminate bias against self-published authors and take your book from good to great.
14. Self-Publish A Book in 2020
Ready to take the plunge? Find a platform that provides what you need to achieve your goal (Hint: you shouldn’t have to look too far) and go for it. Whatever you choose should offer the following:
- Formats to match your book printing needs
- High-quality book printing options, from color to black & white
- Distribution to your entire audience, anywhere in the world, both online and in stores.
- Additional support to help you achieve all of the above
You can round out your publishing knowledge with IngramSpark’s how to self-publish course. We're happy to help you create a quality book with a full book distribution deal that allows you global reach, reputation, and value. You have all the tools you need to succeed; now’s the time to do it!
Nothing is more rewarding for an author than holding the finished book in your hands. Writing a book is no easy feat, and publishing a book is an additional challenge, so you should reward yourself for your hard work – you earned it!