NOTE: This week’s post about Self-Publishing Software comes from Dave Chesson, the Kindle Marketing Jedi behind KDP Rocket and Kindlepreneur.com
It’s always important to seek out a better way of carrying out your self-publishing process.
For most of us, there are many steps involved in creating a book.
From our initial idea research, through to our post-release marketing, we are required to adopt a number of different mindsets and the skillsets that accompany them.
Even if you choose to outsource some of the process, you still need to understand it well enough to specify your requirements and judge whether the work is of sufficient quality.
One way to make various stages of the self-publishing process more efficient and less time-consuming is to use software. Using the right software packages can save time, improve your capability and produce better results than you could on your own.
There are several stages of the self-publishing process that benefit from the use of software. These are –
- Researching your book idea
- Organizing and planning the book creation process
- Writing and editing the book
- Marketing the book prior to, at, and after launch
I will now explain my favorite software packages for each stage of the self-publishing process and explain how to use them in the most efficient way as part of a streamlined book creation process.
Better Book Research
One of the most important steps in finding a book idea which will be a success and make you money is to be meticulous in your initial research.
It’s vital to carry out a careful process of research to ensure there is sufficient demand within book marketplaces for books related to your idea. You must also ensure that you will be able to compete with the books that are currently on offer.
Sonar. Sonar is a free tool which allows you to check for keywords related to your idea on Amazon. You can enter an initial word and it will show you a list of suggestions.
If you carry out a keyword search on Sonar, you can see the data offered by Sonar is very basic. It is ok for a free tool to carry out very basic research related to your initial idea, but as you can see, the search volume data is imprecise. There is no way to know how many people are searching for your book idea using Sonar. You also are unable to judge how much money your idea can potentially make.
KDP Rocket is a book idea research tool which is much more powerful than any other free or paid option on the market. It gives you a much richer set of data as part of the idea research process. It also allows you to carry out extensive research on the competition for any particular book idea.
KDP Rocket shows you how many books are competing for a keyword on Amazon, how much books earn for that keyword, how many people are searching on Google for your book idea, an estimation based on reliable data on how many people are searching on Amazon for your idea, and how competitive your idea is.
You can use this data to judge how in demand any given book idea is and how likely you are to make money from it.
This competition analysis screen gives you information related to the title, subtitle, author name, age, keyword data, review data, price and sales data, for each book ranking for a particular idea keyword.
This gives you an accurate idea of how difficult it will be to compete for your book idea. You can spot opportunities based on a lack of keywords in the title and subtitle, for example, as well as low numbers of reviews. This can help you come up with a competitive approach and a tactical approach to your book title.
Researching a book idea is the first stage of self-publishing success. Using software gives you reliable data to write a book you know there is a commercial demand for. The cost of research software is nothing compared to the time saved on writing a book idea which doesn’t sell. If you sell only a few more copies of your book as a result then the software has paid for itself.
Better Organization and Planning
Writing and publishing a book involves many different phases.
Keeping track of everything, and ensuring schedules are adhered to, is a key part of self-publishing success.
Using Trello is a great way to plan out the different stages of your project and the tasks involved in achieving each.
Trello allows you to easily –
- Allow team access to a project board
- Create tasks cards to track the phases of a project
- Create checklists which team members can complete
- Set deadlines to ensure everything runs on schedule
Trello is a great way to keep track of the different phases involved in writing and releasing your book. No matter if you are working on your own, or involving teammates, Trello makes it easy to have a big picture overview of your book project and see where everything is at.
Improved Writing Capability
The core task of any writing project is still the actual book writing itself.
Considering the importance of the book, many writers still make the mistake of using a standard writing app such as Microsoft Word. While it may be fine to use a standard app for a short writing project, writing a full length book is very difficult unless you use a specialist writing app.
Once you have figured out the basic process of how to start writing a book, perhaps by plotting or outlining, you are likely to consider the best tool to use for the writing stage of your project. Book writing apps have numerous advantages over standard word processors. They are suited to longer projects as they make it easy to arrange and rearrange different chapters and scenes. Additionally, they allow you to design the finer details of your book, such as its layout.
They also have planning features such as cork boards that allow you to map out your book and ensure you cover all of your intended topics. There is a range of different book writing software, so there is something to suit you no matter whether you use a Mac or PC, or are looking for a paid or free option.
It’s common for the later stages of the writing process to involve collaborators. It’s not advised that a writer edits their own work and perhaps the most valuable investment a writer can make is the services of a pro editor.
Working with an editor involves producing several drafts of your work as changes are made and approved. This often involves sending a document back and forth, and it can soon become confusing as to which is the current version of your book. Using Google Drive allows you to collaborate via Google Docs, allowing for edits in the cloud to take place. It’s easy to track the changes that have been made and saves the tedious process of emailing a document back and forth.
More Efficient Marketing
Marketing your book is often the difference between success and failure.
Some of the common processes involved in marketing your book include –
- Contacting influencers within your niche ahead of launch to generate publicity
- Reaching out to reviewers to get advance reviews of your book
- Managing your social media presence
- Tracking your book sales
- Building and contacting your mailing list
There are many different options that exist within the world of author software which can help you with each and every stage of the book marketing process.
You can use a specialist outreach tool such as Ninja Outreach to discover and contact influencers within your niche. This is a superb way to find people who are likely to want to promote your book and manage your contact with them. This allows you to streamline your outreach efforts through the use of features such as templates and auto follow-ups, allowing you more time for other marketing tasks.
You are likely to make use of a number of different social platforms to promote yourself as an author and to generate a social buzz for your book. Logging into each platform manually and creating content for it is time-consuming and distracts from other matters. You can streamline your process and save a lot of time by using an app such as Hootsuite.
Hootsuite allows you to manage all of your social networks from within a single app. This allows you to schedule a batch of content across all of your platforms in one go. You can also manage responses to engagement with your content within the app. This is a time saver and allows you to handle all of your social promotion in a single session each month.
Building your author mailing list is a key aspect of establishing a long-term platform as an author. Building a list allows you to promote your new work to people who are the most likely to want to buy it and help you in other ways such as by leaving a review.
When you are just starting out, you should consider using a basic tool like Mailchimp in the early days of your list. Mailchimp is a good solution as you don’t wish to incur extra expenses when you are just starting out as an author. Mailchimp also integrates painlessly with WordPress so you can sign people up to your list straight from your author website.
Marketing is a sink or swim activity for authors. Gives yourself every advantage possible by leveraging the best software out there. This allows you to market in the most efficient and effective way possible, reaching the maximum number of people across the maximum number of platforms, building your long-term author platform in the process.
How To Use Self-Publishing Software From Start To Finish
Now that you know the different types of self-publishing software, and how they can make your self-publishing process more efficient and effective, it’s time to explore how they can be used in an integrated process, to create a book from start to finish.
Use the software to gain an advantage in the following stages of creating and publishing a book.
- Research your book idea. Gain quantified data to ensure there is demand for your book idea, you stand to profit from writing and releasing the book, and you have a competitive strategy in place from the start.
- Organize your project. Plot out the time needed for each stage and set deadlines. Budget the costs you will incur along the way.
- Write your book. Using a specialist app, you are able to plan and rearrange your work painlessly, gaining time in the process.
- Edit and revise your work using a cloud collaboration tool. Perfect it until it is ready for release.
- Track your marketing and outreach efforts using marketing software. Analyze what is and isn’t working and allocate your resources accordingly.
I’d love to know about the self-publishing software that has given you the best results.
Is there anything I’ve missed? Is there a stage of the publishing process you know a great software tool for that isn’t mentioned here?
Please let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to respond!
Dave Chesson is the creator of KDP Rocket, a powerful keyword research tool that can help you improve the marketing and ranking of your books on Amazon and beyond. Find more at kindlepreneur.com.