In writing about creating credibility with a book, I realized I have TWO standards to go by based on experience, and a caveat.
First, the caveat: A book created for credibility without taking at least a minimum of best practices into account can BACKFIRE, or actually cost you credibility. There are pretty good and painfully amusing examples. When I explain what I consider a “healthy book” just consider those elements NOT being present in the “unhealthy” one, and you’ll understand.
A “healthy book” is simply one that has all it’s basics IN. Self-published authors write about this all the time. These basics include:
* A great title
* A researched subtitle
* A fitting author name
* A professional front cover design that uses curated imagery, fonts, and colors, with good contrast
* Great sales copy, also known as book description or “blurb” – Remember, “copy” is writing that gets someone to take a particular action.
* Proper / relevant selection of categories
* Proper setup – for example, to make sure bookstores will carry it
* Ease of ordering
* Good writing
* PROFESSIONAL EDITING
* Customary, professional interior design and elements
* More than 10 reviews (on Amazon), averaging over 4 stars
But that does not mean the book is optimized yet for purposes of credibility. And by credibility we mean usually, professional credibility, which can mean as an author, as someone to be offered media appearances or higher rates, etc.
A common strategy for self-published authors is to use a launch to jump-start reviews. And it’s a good purpose. And a great time to do it, too. With that in mind a lot of authors start off with a 0.99 strategy at launch (on their ebook, and “free” I’ve found does NOT help).
A “seasoned book” then would have all of it’s basics in but perhaps 60 to 90 days out also have:
* WIDE distribution
* All formats (ebook, paperback, hardcover, and ideally an audiobook)
* More than 25 reviews on Amazon (15 is considered by Amazon to be “retail ready,” and the more reviews the better)
* Set at least at a “comparable” retail price or higher for the previous 60 days, so it can be effectively discounted for promo sites like BookBub
There is so much more you can do with your book once seasoned, whether a stand-alone title or as part of a series!
If you consider the criteria for creating a seasoned book, you might get there sooner than 60 to 90 days, of course, depending on your energy at launch and other factors.