Over the past couple of years, I’ve received numerous messages from local writers looking to begin the self-publishing journey. Sometimes I’ve been able to answer all their questions in detail, and other times I’ve had to be more brief (because of time constraints), but every time, I’ve wished that I had all the answers written out somewhere already! Plenty of self-publishing and marketing advice exists online, of course, but it’s written mostly from an American perspective. In South Africa, we have different publishing challenges (like Amazon refusing to pay royalties into our bank accounts, and South Africans being unable to publish directly on Nook Press). It isn’t quite so easy to find the answers you might be looking for.
So that’s what I’m doing now, in the form of a series of blog posts (not because I suddenly have more time, but because if I don’t make myself do it NOW, it may never happen!). If you’re a reader or a non-South African writer, you can feel free to skip these posts (or not, if you find them interesting anyway 🙂 ).
As an introduction to the information I’m going to be focusing on, let’s look at the process of creating a book …
WRITING THE BOOK
This step is no different for a writer in South Africa as opposed to anywhere else in the world (duh). Story structure, characterisation, style, grammar … it’s the same here*, and if you’re looking to self-publish a book, I assume you already know all this writerly stuff.
*Except for those pesky minor differences in spelling (colour/color, realise/realize, defence/defense, counsellor/counselor) and certain words (petrol/gas, boot/trunk, jumper/sweater). But again, this isn’t about where you live, but about where your story is set and who your target audience is.
PREPARING THE BOOK
The majority* of this step is also independent of the country you live in. You can hire editors, proofreaders, formatters, and cover designers from anywhere in the world. (Most of the professionals I’ve worked with do not live in South Africa.) Communication, payment, and delivery of final digital products can all take place online. There are also plenty of free tutorials online that will teach you how to format your book or use graphic design software, if you’re a DIY kinda person.
*I consider obtaining an ISBN to be part of the book preparation step, and that is different in South Africa.
EVERYTHING THAT COMES AFTERWARDS
This is the stuff I’m focusing on! The stuff that can have a uniquely South African flavour (not flavor 😉 ). In the next few weeks, I’ll be expanding on the following topics:
- Copyright, ISBNs & Barcodes
- Which Platforms to Publish Your Books On
- Royalties, Tax Stuff & How To Get Paid
- How to Sell Print Books Locally
- Marketing Ideas
- Continually Learning
- (Added based on feedback) List of SA Editors, Artists & Formatters
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