Always happy to talk about writing!
So you are going to self-publish your first book and want to know something that will help you? While not an expert by any stretch, I have published works and read the works of others and happen to have some things to share with you.
Self-publishing is not, as most know, a reason to settle for less. Self-publishing, while bypassing traditional publishers, does not and should not mean a book is less professional.
When someone reads any sizable amount of Indie books, sooner or later a book will appear before them that is amateur-ish. Perhaps that sounds judgmental, but readers want to know they are not wasting their time with misspells, bad formatting, repetitive sections and the like. These all add to a bad experience in which the reader loses faith in your story. The person you hope will read and enjoy your book has every reason to then put down your work and move on to something else. Even the casual reader can tell when the story has, "been worked hard on", when it rises to a level of class and professionalism; or when it doesn't deserve their late, sleepless nights from reading your intriguing story.
So when I say self-publishing is not a reason to settle for less, I mean that we as authors and self-publishers need to be sure the end product is top notch. This goes without saying, but how sad it is when some turn to self-publishing as an easy way to churn out books. This waters down the perceived talent among those who self publish. What can you do to put out quality work?
1. When entertaining your idea for a story, think about it A LOT. Think about possible plot issue, characters and so forth and write everything down, no matter how trivial it may seem to you.
2. Write everyday. Author Janet Evanovich has a great audiobook titled, HOW I WRITE. In it she suggests writing every day as if it were your job. Among other reasons, it keeps the juices flowing.
3. Don't bother family/friends for their opinions.
4. Read it, read it, read it.
5. Self edit. Then rewrite and self edit some more. Do this many times, then reread everything to be sure there are no plot issues.
6. Get a professional editor/proofreader. For the record, having someone to go over your work with a fine-toothed comb is perhaps the best thing you can do.
7. Get a professional cover design.
8. Whether paperback or ebook, get a pro to format the interior for you. This will make all the difference.
There are people that know more about writing than I, and surely they can give you some words of wisdom. But if you want to put your work out there, if you want it to have a level of professionalism so that readers won't put it down and move on, these tips will help you.