Having been through the self-publishing process twice now, first with Chook Tails and then with a book about the local history of the community which I live in, I have the following recommendations for chicken lovers who just might want to publish a book about their feathered friends or any other topic for that matter.

Firstly, getting a book printed is only part of the process. It then has to be sold. Both require effort and money. My first book was a flop for many reasons, but mainly because I didn’t market it. Described on air as ‘quirky’ by one ABC radio presenter, the book obviously had some appeal.

Secondly, a saying often repeated by successful self-published authors, is “You can judge a book by its cover.” And this is exactly what the public does. They usually look at both the front and back cover and, if it doesn’t grab them, they move on. If you only have limited funds, ensure that your front and back covers are as good as they can be. Make this one of your priorities.

Thirdly, all too often I had to caution myself not to rush the process. Each book has its own timeline. Ensure that editing is done by professionals, that the book is the best it can be in the circumstances, and that the sort of people you hope will buy the book will hear about it. Let your audience know it’s on its way!

Fourthly, seek out organisations that represent independent or ‘indie’ authors and whose aim is to assist you to produce better books and reach more readers. The Alliance of Independent Authors is one. It does cost money to join, but it is well worth it for the assistance you get from start to finish.

Finally, be prepared to spend money before you can make money. In other words, if you want to be an independent author, don’t give up your day job yet!