Tag Archives: authors

Self-Publishing Shock: “My Book Isn’t Selling…”

Self-Publishing Shock: “My Book Isn’t Selling…”

I hate receiving messages like: “My book isn’t selling, what do I do now?” Writing a book is hard, self-publishing is hard too. The fact that you’ve written a book wins you huge kudos — good for you. Now it’s time to buckle yourself in, and look on self-publishing as a business.

Here’s the good news. Just because your book isn’t selling right now, it doesn’t mean that it will never sell. In traditional publishing, if your book doesn’t sell, in three months it gets pulped. In self-publishing, your book is available forever.

The self-publishing competition is heating up: accept it (this is good news)

Well over 100,000 new ebooks hit the Kindle Store every month. I just checked, and in the past 30 days, 107,691 new titles have been added to the Kindle Store.

So, if you’re just hitting the Publish button, and are then sitting back waiting for sales, you need to be aware of the huge competition, and do a little more.

I talked about slumping book sales in this post, and advised:

You can start with doing more marketing, yes. However, that’s a slippery slope. You can spend too much on advertising, more than you’re likely to recoup in sales. My advice to “help! my sales are dropping” calls from self-publishers starts with advising them to go back to basics.

That post has never been more relevant. It’s no longer enough to publish, now you need to actively promote your books — and sometimes even that won’t help. Authors are reporting that their sales from Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) ads and Facebook ads are woeful.

What’s an author to do?

Two things:

  • Don’t panic — business operates in cycles;
  • Get busy: be ready for the cycle to move upward.

1. Understand business cycles: you’re self-publishing, so you’re a PUBLISHER

Here’s the thing. Amazon’s Kindle set off a gold rush. Check the freelance marketplaces. You’ll find many “writer wanted” projects there.

Buyers are willing to hire writers to write books. They’re investing a few hundred dollars in each book,and are then publishing the ebooks on Amazon. They wouldn’t be doing that if they weren’t making money.

Please stop thinking of yourself as an “author”. Ditch your ego. Stop panicking and start thinking like a publisher.

Here’s how publishers think: they expect to publish duds, because no one knows what will sell. No one. As a rule of thumb, out of every ten books published, most will sell few copies. One or two might make reasonable sales. Out of a few thousand books published, one will be bestseller.

Depressing, right?

Not so. Self-publishing is a HUGE opportunity.

2. Get busy: self-publishing CAN be a gold mine

Look at it this way. Many thousands of authors are making great money on Amazon, because they’re writing good books, and are doing their best to promote those books. A few authors are making thousands of dollars a day; most are making nowhere near that.

However, when I see buyers hunting for people to write their books on the outsourcing sites, I know that opportunities exist.

So get busy: produce more good books.

Recall that you’re a publisher, and publishers publish more than one book a year, or one book a quarter. They publish as many books as they can.

Please realize that I’m not suggesting that you dump a lot of junk on the online book retailers. That helps no one. You’re wasting your own time. Write the best books you can, and keep self-publishing.

One dud book is nothing, and as we’ve suggested, it may take off next month or next year.

In the meantime…

Onward… 🙂

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly. More info →
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Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

$4.99
What If You Were Twice As Successful, Or Even THREE Times More Successful Than You Are Today? There's No Ceiling On A Writer's Income... You Just Need To Be Prolific. More info →
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Start Writing Your Novel Today With Super-Fast Prep

Start Writing Your Novel Today With Super-Fast Prep

In our fiction authors’ class, we discussed when you should start writing your novel. How much preparation do you need? Prepping a novel can take forever. You need character bios, an outline, and research too.

If you spend too much time on preparation however, there’s a good chance that you’ll give up on your novel. You lose your inspiration, and tell yourself that you’ll develop a “better” idea.

Several of the authors admitted that they’ve done this. One author said that she’d spent two years researching a novel, and had given up on it. She couldn’t face writing the book.

Short-cut your preparation for writing your novel

Let’s look at how you can eliminate procrastination, and build your motivation, by starting your novel quickly. More and better ideas will come to you while you’re writing.

Here are some strategies you can try.

1. Start writing immediately: no prep necessary

If you wish, you can start writing your novel immediately, without any preparation at all. Just start writing.

Bestselling authors Stephen King and Dean Koontz both use this “just start” strategy. Yes, your first few chapters will go slowly, because you’re developing your characters, and your story question, but you’ll be writing.

2. “This novel is about…”

With this strategy, you write yourself a letter about your novel. Start with the phrase: “this novel is about…”

The benefit of this strategy is that it gives you the impetus you need to write your blurb.

Essentially, your blurb becomes a mini outline. The benefit of this strategy is that you can look at the bones of your story. It’s easy to see if you’re missing an essential element, such as an antagonist, for example.

3. Start with a genre trope

Every fiction genre has its tropes. That is, devices, or themes.

To see how this works, visit the Mystery, Thriller & Suspense genre on Amazon, and select the Mystery sub-genre. You’ll see that Amazon obligingly lists sub-genres of Mystery. They include: Cozy, Historical, Women Sleuths…

Scroll down the sidebar, and you’ll see Moods: Action-Packed, Fun, Romantic, and more. Further down in the sidebar, you’ll see Characters and Settings for the Mystery genre too.

In the Mystery genre, forensic investigation has become a trope.

The romance genre has dozens of tropes. Amazon lists them for you: Amnesia, Beaches, International, and so on.

When you start writing your novel with a trope, you save time. Not only do you use a device which is popular in your genre, you’ll find yourself with more ideas than you can handle.

4. Start with an image: day dream about it — “what if?”

This is my favorite method of writing your novel, FAST.

I start with an image — any image which captures my imagination. I look at the image, musing about the person, or people in the image. If the image is a setting: a gorgeous beach on a tropical island, or a high mountain pass in the Swiss Alps, I imagine someone walking, or running in the image.

Try this strategy yourself.

You can find images anywhere: in art galleries, in magazines, or even on Pinterest.

Have fun with writing your novel.

Starting your novel super-fast ensures that you’ll maintain your inspiration.

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels. More info →
Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly. More info →
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Inktera
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out our ebooks for writers.

Easy Fiction Writing: 4 Profitable Ways To Use Short Stories

Easy Fiction Writing: 4 Profitable Ways To Use Short Stories

This week’s blogging theme is short stories, here and on Fab Freelance Writing.

I receive lots of questions about writing short stories. Writers often find that writing a short story convinces them that they can write salable fiction.

For me, the biggest benefit of short stories is that you can grow them into novels without much difficulty.

You can expand short stories into novels

My favorite way to get more mileage from a short story is to develop it further, into a novel. I’m so fond of this strategy that I need to rein myself in. A ghostwriting client is far from pleased when I tell him that — oops, sorry, your short story grew on me. It’s on the way to becoming a novel. Please bear with me while I write something else for you… 🙂

As I suggested in From Writing Short Stories to Writing Novels: 3 Simple Tips, the primary difference between a short story and a novel is that a novel has more characters than a short story, and more depth to the characters.

Let’s look at other profitable ways to use short stories.

1. Short stories are the perfect introduction to your other fiction

On several of the online groups of which I’m a member, authors are complaining about their sales. Nothing new in that. It can be discomfiting when your Page Reads in KDP Select go down, or when your books stop selling, no matter how much advertising you do.

Here’s my suggestion if you find that your self-publishing income is dropping: write short stories.

Short stories make wonderful content for promotion, and you can write a short story in an afternoon.

From A Writing Income From Short Stories: 3 Vital Questions Answered:

Before you publish a short story, offer it free to your blog’s readers for a limited time. If you offer a “free short story a month” or whatever schedule you choose, it gives you a boost in readers — and increases sales of your other fiction. Important: REMOVE your short stories from your blog before you offer them in Select as an Amazon exclusive, otherwise you’ll annoy Amazon.

2. Short stories are fun part-time projects

We’re all busy. You may not have time to write a novel: write short stories instead.

A friend writes short stories in her “spare” time — the time she spends ferrying her three children around to their various activities. She sits in her car, and taps her latest story into her tablet. She reports that she’s managed to turn this time which she previously wasted into a real boost for her self-publishing career.

She publishes her stories on her blog, then when she has enough for a collection, she publishes them as ebooks (after removing them from the blog) in KDP Select. Some months her KENP Pages Read income is better than her sales.

3. You can bundle your short stories into books — your own, and others’

You can publish your short stories as ebooks individually; you can also publish them in collections — bundles.

Authors experience a boost in sales when they collaborate on bundles. Because the price of a bundled collection is low, their direct income from having a story in a bundle is low, or non-existent. However, with each author promoting the bundle to his audience, it extends authors’ readership — and builds sales.

4. Need cash? Visit the freelance marketplaces and bid on short story projects

Publishers are always looking for ghostwriters. If you enjoy writing short stories, you can write them for cash. Visit the freelance marketplaces. You’ll often find projects asking for short stories in various genres, particularly in romance.

Changing genres? Write short stories

My own favorite use for short stories is to use them as my own little focus groups. If I’m thinking of writing in a genre for a ghostwriting client, I write a short story first. No sales? That shows that that genre isn’t for me. It may be at some time in the future, but not right now.

Have fun writing short stories; they may add to your income, painlessly.

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

$5.99
Want to write short stories? If you answered yes, that's excellent… Here's why. Today, you can make money writing short fiction. More info →
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Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly. More info →
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Inktera
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out our ebooks for writers.