Tag Archives: self-publishing

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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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

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

How To Find Motivation To Write A Book: 3 Tips

How To Find Motivation To Write A Book: 3 Tips

“I want to write a book…” I’ve heard those words many times. The writer is motivated, but writing a book takes time, and real life gets in the way, so the motivation doesn’t last.

Suddenly you find that you have no time, because your day job is more demanding. Or something happens at home. You can’t work on your book for a week or two, and gradually you forget all about it. Six months later, you feel guilty because you gave up on your dream.

Change is uncomfortable. Your life changes when you write a book — it starts changing as soon as you start writing.

When you write a book, it takes time and motivation

I discussed how to create a writing habit here. The big benefit of turning writing into a habit is that you no longer need to rely on motivation.

Now let’s look at three tips which will help you to find the motivation to write a book.

1. Give yourself reasons to write: write down the benefits of writing a book

Your motivation is strong when you begin writing. You’re inspired, and words flow. You tell yourself that you can do this, and wonder why you ever imagined that writing was hard. Sooner, rather than later, you hit speed bumps. Then road blocks, and you tell yourself that you will write “tomorrow.”

You can avoid that by creating a list of reasons to write before you start writing.

How will your life change for the better once you’ve published your book?

You list may include benefits like: pride and satisfaction, the money you could make, and the opportunities a published book would bring you.

Writing a list of the benefits is vital. If you try to keep the reasons in your head, you’ll forget them as soon as your dream collides with reality. As we’ve said, your writing brings change. That change affects everything in your life.

Review your list of benefits at least once a week.

2. Drop your expectations: allow yourself to write rubbish

You can’t write a book in a day, or even a week. You have weeks, if not months, of writing ahead. Then, after your first draft is done, you need to do an initial edit of your book yourself, so that you can revise it.

You’ll hire an editor later, but firstly, you need edit it yourself, to make sure that your book achieves what you set out to do. In the heat of creation, all book projects morph.

When writing fiction, you bring in new characters. A main character takes on a life of his own. With nonfiction, you intended writing A, B, and C. After your first draft, you realize that you need to cover D and E as well.

Books are messy.

Important: expect messes while you write.

Please drop your expectations before you start writing. You can fix messes later, but unless you’re a true unicorn author, your writing will never go as expected. Be happy to make messes, and to write “rubbish”. The rubbish helps you to realize what you need to write.

Which brings us to…

3. As long as you’re writing, you’re writing a book correctly

No book you write is the same as another. No matter how many books you’ve written before, each and every book is a new adventure.

Take heart, because as long as you write, and keep going, you’ll finish your book. You’re doing it “right” — all you ned to do is keep writing.

Challenges which seem unsolvable will magically clear themselves up, either tomorrow, or next week, so keep writing. 🙂

Your motivation to write a book develops while you write

I’m usually working on six to eight book projects at any one time; my own, and clients’ projects. Some books are in the outlining stage, others in various drafts, and a couple are in the revision and editing phases.

If nothing else, I know this: motivation happens while you’re writing.

Often, I’ll think about a couple of my projects when I wake up in the morning, and realize that I truly, deeply, do not want to look at them today. I write those projects at their scheduled time anyway, because I know that my motivation will develop while I’m writing.

Yours will too.

Have fun with your books. 🙂

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.