Before self-publishing my three children’s books, traditional Canadian publishers bought and produced 14 of my books. I sold more than 135,000 copies in the North American French market. I first thought such huge success could help me find an American book agent to sell my manuscripts to well-known publishers. I was totally wrong.
Canadian and American book markets are totally different. Being rejected many times, I started my self-published author journey. From reading a lot of books, blogs and articles on self-publishing, I learned the do’s and don’ts of award-winning books. I self-published my children’s books Parents for Sale, Are You Eating My Lunch and Strike at Charles’ Farm. In the last two years these three children’s books won more than 15 international awards.
Here are my top 10 winning tips for self-published authors.
1. Think as businessmen.
A book is a commercial product. It has to be well written, well produced and marketed. Imagine a shoe store. If you want to sell lots of shoes, you must sell a perfect shoe, give flawless customer service and offer unique goods. Success is a team business. Work with the best professionals in the business to help you maintain control of production.
2. Hire a professional writing coach.
At first, I was collecting publisher rejection letters. Then, I took lessons with a successful writer. We worked on my manuscripts for a year. In 2012, I was invited to sign my three newly released books at the Quebec International Book Fair. Talent is not enough to seduce traditional publishers. Learning and following market rules is mandatory in order to be successful.
3. Read many books.
Before writing a book in any style for any audience, read a lot of books. Read old classics as well as recently released books. Read about how to write a book. Study reader’s needs and get prepared to answer questions in non-fiction books, or tell a great story with fiction. Public libraries, book stores, and electronic markets offer more books than you can read. On the web, I clicked on many book previews before self-publishing my own books. I visited book award websites to learn the types of books the award programs were honoring.
4. Select the right self-publishing company.
To produce a well written, and well-designed book, self-publishing can cost a lot. There are many rules to follow. Based upon your previous experiences, many well-established companies will offer self-publishing packages, where you have several options to choose from. Or you can do everything on your own. Since these were my first books in an untamed new market self-publishing packages were best suited to me. I really appreciated the relationship I was able to develop with my self-publishing book consultant.
5. Design your author’s website.
As I had written several books, my marketing consultant advised me to design one website about me as an author instead of a website for each of my books individually. This strategy serves me well as I can add any newly released books to my existing website. I also have a separate French author website for my 14 books which are written in French.
6. Hire a professional editor.
If you want to ruin your book, publish it with mistakes. Readers will easily detect them and close the book. In the children’s book market, teachers will reject books with spelling mistakes. Don’t hesitate to hire professional editor before publishing the book.
7. Hire a professional publicist.
Your book is on the market. Your journey starts. Selling books in a highly competitive market is not easy. My book publicist helped me design my author’s website, publish press releases and find the best keywords for the SEO (search engine optimization) to help readers searching for children’s book in my case on the web. Because of the multiple books I published, I decided to focus on branding a meaningful author’s name and not in book titles. I picked “Dr. Nicole” as a name with an appealing logo as the trademark. I wanted to be a children’s book writer associated with a professional pediatric medical background as support to the educational profile of my books.
8. Start your marketing as soon as possible.
Marketing starts very soon. Publish blogs; write on your social media about your book. On my website, I announce future books and I offer coloring pages of my books which kids can print. These freebies are well appreciated by fans.
9. Design an awesome book cover.
As a self-published and newcomer author, I knew that my book covers were my only chance to seduce readers looking for a children’s book on the web. Professionally designed book covers helped me win awards and sell many books. My book designer applied my nice-looking Dr. Nicole logo on the right corner of each book.
10. Use your new book to market all your books.
I used my self-published books to market all my books and awards. I listed them on the first page of my books instead of the last one. This first contact tells my readers that I published many books and received many awards.When buyers open the book preview on the web, they first read this list. Taking advantage of this free publicity increases your credibility. I also thank readers for choosing my book and invite them to write an honest review.
11. Produce an audiobook of your successful book.
Audiobook market is exploding. Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of the game with your book. Select your audiobook producer carefully . For my audiobook Parents for Sale, I hired two professional actors to read the book over a background of music and sound effects. The result is much more appealing than an audiobook read by a single actor without background.
Dr. Nicole is a Quebec family medicine doctor writing children’s books by passion. In the traditions of Walt Disney and Dr. Seuss, this multi-award-winning and bestselling author breathes life into inanimate objects and wildly entertaining characters that engage children in powerful ways. Through the parent/child interaction, her works develop a love for reading while helping children develop the most important skill of all - critical thinking.
Dr. Nicole’s books are available on:
• Parents for Sale (book and audio book),
• Are You Eating My Lunch?/Manges-tu mon lunch ? and
• Strike at Charles’ Farm/Grève à la ferme de Charles
My French books are available on www.NicoleAudet.com
• Félix and Boubou his magical doctor suitcase (8 titles)