When I was in graduate school, a mentor told me that each book was like starting over. Each project has its own differences and challenges. I didn’t completely understand this until I started working on my second book, which explores the history of mannequins. Of course there were certain things that were easier about making this book because I had learned those lessons while working on Tattle Tales. However, when it came time to publish the second book, I realized that I had to do things differently. This meant another learning curve and a bit of frustration.
Being a writer, and especially a self-published author, means that you’re constantly learning. Besides developing your skills as a writer, you have to stay on top of all the new ways of marketing, publishing, and distributing. In the age of technology, the rules are always evolving and changing. Additionally, what works for one book may not work for the other book. I’ve listed some of the lessons I have learned from my second book.
The message of this post is to urge self-published authors to be flexible and open minded. I had a much different idea of my path when I started this journey. While I’ve always spent countless hours doing my research, I learned even more through my experiences. There will never come a point where I feel like I’ve learned everything there is to know about self-publishing. The reason I like to share my stories is that I’ve learned so much from other writers sharing their experiences and I want to pay that forward.
Things I learned
1.) Titles: I originally planned to call my book Talking Heads. I like titles that are creative, but sometimes being too creative can make your book more difficult to find on Amazon. Plus, readers may not be able to figure out what your book is about. In the end, I changed the title to Mannequins: Stories of the First Supermodel. This title is more straightforward and right away the customer knows what information I will be sharing in this book.
2.) Color palettes: This isn’t such a big deal for novels and other text-based books. This is important for photography books or any book that uses a lot of imagery. Purchasing a book is so much different online than it is in person. When people are searching for books on Amazon, they see small thumbnail images of book covers. Sadly, there’s a tendency to overlook books with less exciting book covers or very small title fonts. For my second book, I made sure that the title was large enough to read as a thumbnail. The second change I made was the use of bold colors so that the book cover would not get lost among a bunch of other books.
3.) Printing: While I was very comfortable printing a large quantity of books for Tattle Tales, I didn’t necessarily feel the same way for my second book. This isn’t because I don’t think my mannequin book is as good. However, I know that tattoo art is a popular subject right now. There aren’t that many books on mannequins, so it’s going to be more challenging for me to gauge the readership until I start marketing and selling the book. Sometimes when a writer wants to test the market for their book, they will try printing on demand (POD). I explore and explain this topic in more depth in another blog post.