Self-published books are springing up all over the place. If you are an entrepreneur, having a book under your belt can boost your income exponentially. Books are to business in the millennium what business cards were to professionals 20 years ago.
In 2015, 727,000 self-published ISBN numbers were registered, meaning you run the risk of fading into the statistics unless your book is a clear masterpiece. Authoring a book reinforces your brand and position as an expert in your field. It is another element of publicity, a piece of your marketing collateral you can leverage to gain followers, readers and clients.
Books open up pipelines and partnerships and are another passive income source. But, if you do it wrong, without the guidance of experts, without impressive execution, you can wind up doing more harm than good.
I’ve assembled a list of tips to use whether you self-publish or use a publisher. One of the recommendations is to contract professional services where necessary. Tom Morkes, founder of Insurgent Publishing asserts, “Even if you are self-publishing, it’s worth your time and money to use a good editor. Books that have an editor read better.”
Follow these 10 tips to create a book that is a source of pride and opportunity.
Using a transcription service like Rev allows you to complete your rough draft in a flash. But, transcribing only begins the process of writing down the bones — thanks, Natalie Goldberg. You may speak effectively about events in your life — a fine, yet incomplete first step — but your book will be far more engaging when you add dialogue, internal thoughts and set the scenes.
Related: 5 Things This Self-Published Author Did to Sell Over 20,000 Books With Almost No Money
2. Use an editor
Once your transcription is complete, find a content and line editor, because no transcription service will accurately translate proper punctuation, illegible recordings, or possess the capability to flesh out your story.
3. Follow industry formatting
Don’t forget to include the essentials: Introduction, Foreword (written by an industry influencer), Acknowledgments, a copyright page with your ISBN number and a disclaimer, which prohibits others from repurposing, reusing, or reprinting your content. Make sure your book length fits within your category expectation. A reader will be intimidated by a tome. But, an easy-to-digest book containing comprehensive chunks of valuable information will FLY off the (virtual) shelf.
4. Never skimp on a cover
Set aside a budget between $500 and $1,500 for your cover. Your designer should present two to three designs that you will narrow down until the final iteration. People do judge a book by its cover — which influences your sales.
5. Format your ebook
Nothing is worse than a compelling paperback cover accompanied by a subpar eBook improperly formatted. Your spacing needs to be correct, the margins and gutter on-point. If you are self-publishing, you simply can’t skip this step. Readers are most attracted to eBooks due to their lower prices and immediate availability.
6. Research your self-publishing company thoroughly
You need to understand every step of the process and the order in which they are taken to confirm a knowledgeable team is at your disposable. Understanding = Agreement of the System.
7. Proof your book with an eagle eye
Ensure you take part in the proofing process as much as your editor does. My editors and authors share books back and forth until the edits are done, and then both editor and author proof the final version.
8. Remember your book hook
The book hook is written as close to the first sentence of the book as possible and explains why are you writing the book. It’s crafted to snare the reader. Non-fiction writers, consider your positioning. Are you a rags-to-riches story, a hardscrabble triumph? Are you an innovator? What is the number-one reason you wrote the book?
9. Remember chapter hooks
At the end of every chapter, keep your reader hanging on. It is a twist, an anticipation the reader can’t wait to dive into. Chapter hooks allude to coming trouble, wins, joy, surprise, devastation, or solutions. Hint at imminent events to create intrigue.
10. Read your book aloud.
Odds are, you will record your book for Audible or another audio platform. If you aren’t hiring a reader (which can be expensive), you can practice getting the words out. Reading aloud fine-tunes cadence and readability, so you’ll feel more confident in your final delivery.
When you follow these steps, your readers won’t have a clue whether you used a publisher or not to fulfill your creative aspirations. All they’ll know is your presentation is polished — and that you deserve the sale.
Original article appeared at Entrepreneur.