5 Self-Publishing Steps for Success on B&N

What are the self-publishing steps to sell your book with Barnes & Noble? Well, when self-publishing your book with Barnes & Noble Press, we want to make sure you are set up for success. We have plenty of useful tips to help. Whether you are starting out or trying to build up your readership, we want to make self-publishing easier with our 5 Self-Publishing Steps to ensure your book is poised for success on B&N and NOOK.


1. Catchy Covers

It has been said, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” But, honestly, the hard truth is that this often works better as a metaphor than in practice. And with books, there are just so many great ones to choose from so how do you make yours stand out?

The first self-publishing step is two-fold: a professionally created cover and an eye-catching design. Paying a professional designer to create your cover is a smart investment. It immediately conveys you take pride in your craft. And it shows you believe your self-published book stands up beside the traditionally published options.

An eye-catching design is more difficult. However, a good self-publishing tip is to always start with what is already selling in your genre. Take inspiration, see what works, what you like, what you don’t like, and come up with a few different design options that suit your preferences. And, if you’re still stuck, poll your friends, family, or fans. More feedback, whether good or bad, should still help give you clarity.

For more information on professional cover design check out our trusted partner 99designs.

Or, go more in-depth with our tutorial on Book Cover Design Basics.

And, if you are looking to refresh or update your covers, bestselling author Deborah Coonts details her 3 Reasons to Redesign Your Book Cover.


2. Editorials & Reviews

Now that your book is out the second self-publishing step is to generate interest. So, your book has a great cover and strong content. But how would a potential reader know how great your book is compared to the thousands of others out there? How do you make sure people are talking about your book? It’s important to solicit both editorial reviews and customer reviews. These reviews are important because it’s proven they influence consumer purchase decisions and sales.

If you’re new to self-publishing your book, getting reviews might seem daunting. Fortunately, there are options. Our partners BookTrib and Reedsy offer different paid marketing services for a professional editorial. Another option is to research book bloggers in your genre and submit your book for consideration. You can find out more about these practices here!

Importantly, once your book is available to readers you will want to collect customer reviews on your product page. Barnes & Noble recently launched a new way to leave reviews. But how do you get these readers to come back and spend time writing a review?

There is no denying the tried and true practice of asking friends and family to get you started. Or, if you already have established readers, make note of adding reviews in your mailing list and link back to your product page. Another method is to drop a reminder at either the beginning or end of your book to encourage readers to go back and leave a review. You could even create incentive with a giveaway contest of a free advance copy of your next book to the first person to submit a review!


3. The Blurb

Write the blurb they say. It’s easy they say. Um… how is an author expected to condense an entire novel into a few sentences?  We hope our third self-publishing step helps answer that question.

The dreaded blurb – or synopsis, or overview – is a typical thorn in the side of any published author. It’s simply NOT an easy task to condense an entire book down to a paragraph. And then that paragraph must be so engaging it helps convince a potential reader to click the “buy” button. So where do you start and what are best practices?

There’s no standard method. But a good recommendation is to first familiarize yourself with how successful authors in your genre write their blurbs. Look at traditionally published books and self-published books. Try to note any differences and distill what works and what doesn’t work.

From there, write down a few essential plot points to help wrap your head around the general premise of your book. Are there prominent themes you want to highlight? Or, perhaps, a strong character with a unique voice would pique interest.

For an author’s perspective, bestseller Robert J. Crane offers his 5 Tips for Writing a Book Blurb.

You can also check out our tutorial on copy basics to help craft a strong blurb.


4. Series & Metadata

Consistent series metadata is our fourth self-publishing step to success. Whether you are starting to write a new series or are twenty books deep, managing your series information and metadata is key to driving sales and maintaining sell-through.

Always make sure your series information – aka metadata – is uniform. Even the smallest difference like adding or removing the word “The” can throw off search results and impact discovery. And make sure to correctly number all the installments.

To help, B&N Press offers a “Manage Series” tool enabling authors to visualize and track the different titles in a series. This helps your readers find your books and improves sell-through across the series. You can check out our tutorial on the basics of metadata for more self-publishing tips.

A good way to generate interest in a series, whether new or old, is to highlight the first book. Many authors opt to make the first book in a series free, especially if there are already several subsequent books available. This way, a reader might feel more encouraged to check out the series and then buy the other books once hooked.

If the series is new or there aren’t a lot of books yet, it might be a good idea to try a price promotion. Discount the first book to 99¢ or bundle the early entries together for an enticing deal. To help you get started, our partner Reedsy has a few additional self-publishing tips on how to launch a successful price promotion.


5. Keep Going!

The final self-publishing step is to keep up the momentum.

There are always going to be new books out there. Between traditional publishing and self-publishing your book, competition is fierce and demand is high. While it might be hard to keep up, you should never base your writing strategy around the rat race. But, it’s helpful to keep in mind, the more you publish the more opportunity you have to grow your readership. The best way to do this is to build your author platform. That can mean establishing a mailing list and utilizing social media.

So keep writing, keep publishing, and keep up with your readers. They found you among all the thousands of other books and they value your stories.


Write on! And check out more self-publishing tips and resources with posts like 5 Tips to Self-Publish Your First Book.


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