So you want to self-publish your very own animal-rights -themed book? Wonderful! Books are an incredible way to inspire people to be more compassionate toward other animals, and self-publishing is a fantastic way to share your work with the world. But, self-publishing can also be a challenging endeavor. I should know: in 2013, after having worked for more than a decade in the television industry, I decided to leave that career to follow my two great passions in life—animal activism and storytelling. Not only did I successfully publish the first book (Persimmon Takes On Humanity) but I’m also in the process of publishing my second book, Vincent and The Dissidents. I want to make sure the experience doesn’t take the same toll on you, so here are four valuable tips to help you navigate self-publishing.
1. Self-publishing takes time … and money
The first thing any self-publisher should know is that the process can take up to a full year to complete and can cost anywhere between $6,000 to $8,000. That might sound overwhelming, but the reason for the lengthy period is because there are a multitude of time-consuming tasks to accomplish. To help with funding, try raising funds through a crowdfunding campaign. The animal-rights community is marvelously supportive, and they want to see vegan entrepreneurs and businesses succeed (they generously helped me fund the publication of Vincent and The Dissidents).
2. Know when to outsource
One of the best ways to ease the stress of self-publishing is to hire professionals to complete tasks beyond your capabilities. Hiring pros can get costly, but they’re worth their weight in vegan ice cream because there is an array of issues you’ll encounter as a self-publisher. For my team, I felt it was essential to hire as many vegans as possible because I wanted to support their businesses. Also, I knew they would best understand the animal-rights message in my books. The first role I knew every self-publisher needs to fill was the editor position. My first and only choice was my wife because she’s led an accomplished career advocating for animals, so I knew she could ensure that I represented animal-rights issues properly and effectively (she’s also an amazing writer). Next, you’ll need a copy editor. This person’s job is to fix grammar and punctuation errors. The third step involves the interior design. For instance, when a reader opens a book, the layout should feel like that book’s genre. The final step is the cover design. Of course, you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but everyone does, which is why getting this perfect is vital. Now that you know this, consider hiring the vegan designers at raven + crow studio or vegan artist L.A. Watson. In order to save money, you might be tempted to handle one or more of these tasks by yourself, but don’t!
3. Where to publish
Many books sold online are done so through Amazon.com, and you want to be where the customers are. The cool thing is that you can publish a print version and eBook for free on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing. When you publish, you’ll get a chance to pick subcategories (aka, genres) for your book. The fewer books in a subcategory, the more chance your book has of standing out, and it’s better to have your book No. 1 in the smaller “vegan” subcategory than No. 75 in the larger “Vegetarian & Vegan” subcategory.
4. Don’t be shy
Your book is finally published. Now what? Positive reviews on websites such as Amazon and Goodreads are crucial to encouraging people to buy your book. The best way to obtain them is to kindly ask for a five-star review from every person who tells you they enjoyed your book. You might think you are bothering people, but often they are happy to do it. Remember, the more people who read your book, the more people who will be inspired to be vegan, so you should never be shy when marketing your book.
Christopher Locke worked in the television industry for over a decade before pursuing his passion project of writing The Enlightenment Adventures, which includes two books so far: Persimmon Takes On Humanity and Vincent and The Dissidents.