It is a lifetime dream for some people to write and publish a book telling their story to the world. Unfortunately, some people don’t live out their publishing dream because they don’t think they can afford to write a book. Cinquanta Cox-Smith, the author of “How to Self-Publish for Under $100”, breaks the process down of self-publishing, budgeting your books, the mistakes new and old authors make, and what it takes to be a successful author.
Many people want to write a book, but the idea seems far fetched to them. What motivated you to write a book to help people about self-publishing?
Cinquanta: “What motivated me to write a book on teaching others how to self publish was the many inboxes and questions I got daily about where to start or how did I become a published author. Because many times I would write out this long paragraph and try to help and give advice to others. I even did phone consultations and had people who would take advice from me and then turn around and asked me the same exact thing. I got burned out. I was tired of saying the same thing only to not see anyone make any moves. I decided to put all of my tips and all of my knowledge in this book.”
In your opinion, what is the number one mistake new authors make when they self-publish?
Cinquanta: “I will say the first mistake that I see new authors make is not building an audience first. You must have at least 20 people who are willing to read your work. Give some insight of what you’re working on to build anticipation for your release date. You must have your series almost completed or done when you release a book. With a follow up because people will be asking will there be a next book coming. Especially if it’s a short story. If you need to spread the timeline out, that’s fine , but having a series ready is always a plus. Also I see the mistake of covers and people wanting to get their work out so fast that they don’t properly market themselves or their books to gear up a lot of engagement to make the money back that they put into publishing.”
What is the best advice you can give an aspiring author who is on a tight budget?
Cinquanta: “You can absolutely publish your book for under $100! If you want to get your name out there, you can write a book every week. Breaking into short stories is a plus. Working in a genre that is very popular- sex and fantasy sells! Urban definitely sells, so if you want to start now by breaking in to the industry, I would start with short stories because you can write 20 short stories. Before you know it, you have 20 books already there before you release your first novel. That way, you can build an audience and collect emails. You know who’s buying your book because now you have people who you can target. Also you can see which book sales are better. This is just like a little general insight to help you work smarter and not harder. Making money from your short stories will eventually fund your debut novel with whether it’s a 50k to 150k word book.”
What do you want your book to teach new and old authors?
Cinquanta: “I want this book to teach veteran authors that even though they’ve been in the game for some time it’s OK to try new ways. Sometimes you don’t know everything. I want this book to teach new authors that it’s going to take some time, and if you’re serious about writing in your craft doing it the right way the first time will benefit you so much more then doing it the wrong way the first time.”
It can be pretty tough to write a book if you don’t know the proper guidelines. How important is it for authors to research self-publishing on their own?
Cinquanta: “It is very important for others to do their research. I wouldn’t say that rules are constantly changing, but the industry is constantly changing so you need to constantly have questions written down that you want the answer to. The questions that you feel you asked the most are the things that you need to research at least monthly to make sure that you’re still following the correct trends or if there’s an easier way to get something done that you don’t know how to do it.”
Who influences and inspires you when it comes to writing?
Cinquanta: “The number one person who influences me is Shonda Rimes! I absolutely love Grey’s Anatomy and I am a very very very VERY big fan of Shondas work. It’s just the way that she turns a story and takes you through this emotional roller coaster with Meredith. I am completely tied to this series and if it ends, I think I may have a heart attack. I also love Kimberla Lawson Roby. She is an amazing author and I love her Christian fiction writing. I love her story about Rev Curtis Black. I’ve been reading the series since I was in high school and I read every single book of hers, so I would say these two women who possess that black girl magic are very inspirational.”
What are your goals for 2017 and how do you want your new book to contribute to it?
Cinquanta: “My goals for 2017 is to be able to guide new authors with my book and to also kind of be a helping hand for any young author trying to break on the scene. I know sometimes we get stretched too thin. People asking how to do things and we get overwhelmed. I really want this book to be able to change lives I want this book to be a staple in every authors home I need What I poured into this to be shared. “