The Elements of Style: 5 Things Self-Publishing Authors Should Be Doing to Attract Book Buyers

Writers and publishers have tried for centuries to crack the code of which books will resonate with readers. In all that time, we have all learned one thing: There’s no sure-fire way to take a manuscript from obscure to mega-hit.

But the fact that the desires of book buyers remains a mystery doesn’t mean you can’t actively take steps to improve your book sales. There are a few tricks every author can and should employ to attract buyers:

  1. Hire a cover designer. A strong cover that grabs attention and conveys the mood, genre or themes in a story can be your strongest asset in reaching out to readers. While there are templates on the market that can help an author put together a cover, custom design from an artist with specialized training in design principles, and experience in publishing, will produce a far more effective cover. A professional custom cover can pay for itself with increased traffic to your book online that can also translate into increased sales.
  2. Write compelling copy for your back cover. The text on the cover must sell the book quickly. The back cover copy is often the same marketing text used on sales pages for Amazon’s and Barnes & Noble’s websites, so compelling wording is vital. Some authors have a natural sense for cover scribing – but others do not. There’s no shame in that! Cover scribing is a narrow specialty; if you’re not “wired” that way, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a writer with experience in book marketing.
  3. Focus on beauty on the inside. Interior book formatting can vary greatly depending on the genre, and the content and other factors may need to be specific to the author’s message. There are widely accepted industry standards; however, many factors such as a font style and size, headers/footers, page numbering and graphic elements, can and should be tailored to the specific character of your book. These elements are useful in conveying your ideas more clearly and enhancing the reader’s experience.
  4. Hand over editing to a pro. Whether you’ve written your first words ever or you’ve been churning out novels for decades, you need fresh eyes – on every book. It’s far too easy otherwise to overlook errors or avoid making the painful cuts necessary to tighten up your book. A professional copy editor is a writer just like you, but usually has additional training as an editor, publishing expert, English language professional or other expertise. As such, a copy editor is in a unique position to view your manuscript with fresh, unbiased eyes and make changes that will make a good book great.
  5. Illustrate your point. Any book can benefit from professional artwork. From the book cover to key chapters in the body, illustrations can bring life to the vital elements of your story or reinforce specific information in your text.

Make use of these five tips, and you’ll be well on your way to a bump in sales.


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“I am very happy with my book and the experience was awesome. My Outskirts Press reps had so much knowledge and ideas that helped to create a beautiful book.”

Angela M. Smith lends you direct insight into her life and the situations she has had to address in relationships in Lost & Found. We have all been through some type of drama that makes you stop, think and write about it. Knowledge is learned.

A poet in her own right, Angela M. Smith has confronted the most delicate topics of her life. Lost & Found has that life journey that you travel, taking you from one moment in time to another. Angela’s poems take you through her life as they happen, from “Calm Down Mother” to “Climb Until You Rise,” you are sure to be captivated by the stories behind some of the poems.
– Angela M. Smith, author of Lost & Found

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