Learning self-publishing is a challenge, but once you’ve learned how to publish your own books, you have an excellent skill which can earn income for you. New self-publishers, and even experienced ones, welcome help in many different areas of the self-publishing process.
Self-publishing pro: how do you get started?
A year ago, one of my writing students quit her day job, and then promptly became blocked. She decided that she had to go back to work. While she was job hunting, I suggested that she post on a self-publishers’ forum that she was ready to help others to publish their books. She managed to get some editing work right away.
Within a month, she had so much editing work that she had to stop advertising. When I last heard from her, she was back to full-time self-publishing, and doing a little editing on the side.
You can try a similar strategy to get your first clients; no need for a website unless you already have one. Investigate the various Facebook forums for self-publishers, as well as other online forums. However — this is important — do make a few posts to establish who you are first, so that people get to know you. Then by all means ask whether anyone needs help with self-publishing.
Now let’s look at some publishing areas in which you might consider offering services.
Self-publishing areas in which you can offer help
- Research services. Bestselling authors have always hired researchers, now self-publishing authors need help too.
- Covers. Not necessarily designing covers (but if you have the skills, go for it), consider offering help sourcing images, buying premade images, and commissioning designers.
- Editing: always a challenge for self-publishing authors. There are several different kinds of edits. Choose the one in which you feel most confident — whether that’s developmental editing or copyediting.
- Proofreading: always necessary.
- Formatting for print, and for ebooks. Many authors get hung up over this. They’ll love it if you can offer files which are ready to upload to Amazon KDP, Amazon Createspace, and elsewhere.
- Marketing help. This is a challenge for authors, always. You can offer basic help, as well as more extensive help. Basic help would include things like setting up a Facebook page and mailing list. More extensive help could include setting up Amazon ads, Facebook ads, etc.
Getting paid for self-publishing help
All creatives (writers, designers, photographers) are paid up-front. Obviously, this makes a lot of sense. You have a micro business, so you can’t afford to chase people who owe you money.
When you’re starting out, you can generate PayPal invoices so that people who want your help can pay you.
As your business builds, ecommerce solutions like Shopify make it simple for you to get paid for your self-publishing services, as well as to keep records for tax. Selz is a another option — it’s also simple and easy to use.
Selling services is a little different from selling goods, and Selz advises you:
To build your service business on Selz, you must be able to prove you have provided the service. This can be very easy. You could collect an email receipt from each of your buyers as proof. If you are delivering the service in person, you could collect a physically signed receipt.
With hundreds of thousands of authors who self-publish, your self-publishing services will be welcomed by your clients.
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