EDITS. This is a major, MAJOR concern. So many Indie publishers seems to sweep this aspect under the carpet. A properly published book that is acceptable to the reading community is one that has been properly edited. By properly edited, I mean, a manuscript that has been gone over for not only punctuation, spelling and grammar errors, but also, concept, plot and cleanup polishing. What are those last three?
- Concept. Have an editor go through the manuscript to make sure that the concept - idea - is fully realized and presented.
- Plot. The editor will make sure that all threads within the manuscript are resolved or at least explained so the reader is satisfied when the book ends.
- Cleanup. An editor doing this will make sure that superfluous words like "that," "as if," "said," and other heavily repeated words are corrected. Example? The wind carried a scent as if bacon had fried. There is no "as if" -- The wind carried a bacon scent. Also, that person will make sure the sentence structure varies for the reader.
Editing can be by the author but a professional, a paid professional, should do a final pass of edits. You mom, your teacher, your best friend can do edits, but always use a paid professional for the last edits to get a really clean and professional look to your manuscript.
FORMAT. You must make sure that the book is properly formatted. Don't use a lot of fancy fonts. Keep it simple and clean. I purchased a book and the author had taken the liberty to use a "funky" font to give the appearance of Elf-like writing. At first, I liked it but as I continued to struggle to read the strange font, I found myself getting eye strain and headaches. The author had an email address to use for contact. I contacted and informed the author that a simpler font would be highly appreciated. I didn't ask for a refund of the book but did receive a personal copy of the newly released version in what appears to be a Times font.
When you get the proof of the book or ebook - go through EVERY page and make sure that each page is formatted correctly and meets what you expect to be the standard of your readers. Remember, what they see reflects on you, the author.
BOOK COVER. This is the first impression you have to grab the reader. A poorly designed book cover can the death of the book for sales. Think about it. What FIRST attracts you to a book? You can't tell me it is the words inside. It is the cover. Then it is the back (or inside flap) blurb about the book. And finally, the first few pages of the story. So, if the cover is bland, most readers will skip over best written book without any hesitation. I do graphics and have designed 'some' of my book covers. But I find the better covers are usually those done by a professional. Book cover designers can be hired for anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars. I personally know of three cover designers I would use who charge a very fair price for their work, most of the time the price is UNDER $100. You don't serve $1000 a plate dinners on recycled paper plates and drink champagne from plastic cups. So don't cheat yourself with a poorly designed book cover.
BACK PAGE. This is the 2nd most important aspect of getting the reader to purchase your novel. Again, the best story written can be overlooked simply because of poor word choices on the back page blurb. If you've spent the money to get your novel professionally edited, paid for a superb book cover - don't blow it with a trite paragraph on the back of the book.
NOW you're ready to publish your book by yourself. I wish you good luck. Another question is - How's your marketing skills? Well written, extreme editing, fantastic cover and a clever back page blurb will help in the sale but now you need to hustle it and that is part of marketing... another day's topic.
Until next I ramble on...