What to do if you're not David Walliams, you don't have a big publisher to propel your Aweful Auntie to the top of the Christmas sales tree, but you're still determined to make your book a success?
Self-publishing has come a long way in the last few years. Over 30% of the top 100 books on Amazon are now self-published and more than 18 million of the books bought by UK readers last year were written by indie authors. So much has opened up and there is support on every level.
One of the best sources of support I found early on was the Alliance of Independent Authors, which is a non-profit association of the world's best self-publishing authors and advisors. Many of the (better) decisions that I made, were based on their excellent advice, from where to find the best editors and how to price an ebook promotion, to where to track down good online reviewers and how to make an audio version of your book.
Competitions are another area that's opened up and there are now dozens which welcome self-published books. These include the Guardian self-published book of the month, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, The Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and The International Book Awards. A comprehensive list of other competitions can be found here.
But it's the spirit of cooperation that is really thriving. Writers' collectives are proving to be increasingly powerful, with authors sharing skills and information as well as helping to promote each other. 6 - 10 members seems to be the best number and it's a huge plus (for promotional purposes) if they are writing in a similar genre. Triskele Books and Notting Hill Press are two successful collectives currently proving that together, writers can make a much bigger impact.
Another great source of support is Awesome Indies, which promotes independently published authors as well as providing reasonably priced editing services and manuscript appraisals. You don't have to use their services to be eligible for their promotions, but every book they take on and recommend to readers, needs to be of the highest possible quality.
The importance of quality - particularly when it comes to editing* and proofreading - cannot be overestimated. Many great writers have self-published at one time or another, including Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Ernest Hemingway, Leo Tolstoi and Virginia Woolf. If we aspire to stand alongside them, we need to show that a self-published book can be just as good as a traditionally published one. By doing this, those book industry barriers will continue to come tumbling down.
*On that same note of editing, next week I'll be interviewing Sarah Vincent, an author and editor of ten years at Cornerstones, one of the UK's leading Literary Consultancies.
To catch up on the previous self-publishing blogs in Huffington Post, click here.
For more advice on Getting Published, go to www.hattieholdenedmonds.com
Hattie's debut novel Cinema Lumière is out now and available on Amazon and at all good bookshops.