It may not be easy but it is worth it.

Before the advent of the e-book, self-publishing was for the author who wanted a few copies for friends and family members, vanity publishing.

Then along comes the e-book and publishing was changed forever. Now, anyone with a computer and a manuscript can publish their book for FREE. Just push a button and your story is out there on Amazon or B&N or Kobo or any of the others. And, you can even publish a paperback version for free.

What is so hard about that?

Well, have you downloaded a free e-book and been disappointed? Publishing a book is easy; publishing a well-written, professional looking book takes work. If you are self-publishing because you think you can get rich quick just let me tell you a few things I have learned.

A poorly edited book is hard to read. Nothing is worse than getting a bad review because a reader couldn’t finish the book.

Spend as much as you can afford on editing, a professionally edited book makes a much better impression than a book full of typos and grammatical errors. If you have to hold off on publishing to save up for a professional editor – do it!

Watch out for the dreaded plot holes. A plot hole leaves your readers feeling confused. Let some family and friends you trust to tell you the cold, hard truth read your book. Beta readers can also help with this.

Find a critique partner. Find someone who doesn’t normally read the type of book you’re writing. As much as it hurts, it’s better to fix problems before your book is published.

You can do this yourself or you can pay someone to do it for you. Poorly formatted e-books and paperbacks are another big turnoff. Most sites give you decent instructions on how to format your book.

Google it or find a message board. Make friends with indie authors on Facebook, Google+, or TSU. Most of us are more than willing to help.

You need a professional-looking book cover. If you’re cover looks like it was done by a fifth-grader it’s not going to attract any buyers. You book cover is usually the first contact you will have with a potential reader so make that first impression count.

Look around on one of the e-book stores and check out some covers. Remember, you cover needs to look good as a thumbnail. Shop around. There are a lot of cover designers out there. Some have pre-made covers that you can buy fairly cheaply or you can spend a bit more and get a custom design. If you have a larger budget you can even find a model and pay for a photo shoot. The sky is the limit.

Marketing your book takes time. There is no magic bullet that will instantly catapult your book to the top of the charts. You need an author platform (even if you want to publish traditionally you need an author platform).

Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the list goes on and on. Decide on your marketing plan and author platform before you publish. To sell books you must get your book out in front of potential readers.

Do your homework !

Self-publishing isn’t easy but it is worth it. When you self-publish you have complete control. You decide everything from the cover to the formatting to where it will be available. With some effort you can be proud of the book you publish.

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Radu Balas

Radu is the Founder of Publishing Addict and author of "Sell More Books Using Your Author Website | The Easiest Way To Brand, Build, Market, and Manage Your Authorship" Soon available on Amazon.