Here are my 5 key tips for writers who are self-publishing collections:
- Write your bio in the third person. I could probably spend an entire blog post on bio writing (o, wait a sec, I did), but be sure to write your bio in the third person. Just pick up a few books at the bookstore or library to use as a model.
- Have a designer design your cover. Of course, this advice is coming from someone who's designed both of his chapbook covers, so do what I say not what I do. Some of the cover designs I saw in the earlier round shocked me--in a bad way.
- Use your spine. By spine, I mean your book spine. Populate your spine with information, such as the title of the book and your name as the author. Blank spines will get lost on bookshelves.
- Secure endorsements. Take the time to send an early proof to a reader or two and request an endorsement of your book. Use a quote or two (citing the source) on the front and/or back cover of your book. Also, this might go without saying, but reward your endorsers with a complimentary copy.
- For more information... It's amazing to me how few writers in the earlier rounds--and even in the final round--did not include ways for readers to continue the conversation with the writer. At a minimum, I feel a self-published writer should include an e-mail address, URL for a website and/or blog, and mailing address. Don't treat your self-published book as the end product; it's part of your writing platform.
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