Although the halcyon days of the Kindle gold rush are over, self-publishing still provides great rewards, even for a brand new author.
Just a few days ago a jubilant author who’s been writing for less than a year sent me an email message with a screen clip. In the first 18 days of November, her two books (I promised not to mention the genre) earned over a thousand dollars. At the rate her sales and KENPC are going, I can see her doubling that thousand within a few weeks.
Until November, her books were selling just a few copies a month. Then they took off.
Self-publishing is STILL a goldmine, if…
Why did her books suddenly take off? She’s been doing all the usual things like building a list, and spending a little money on Facebook ads. Mostly, the gods alone know, but two things she did are clever.
Here they are:
- She’s writing in a very popular genre, and is following genre tropes which readers love;
- She’s writing a series.
So let’s look at some self-publishing tricks especially for new authors. Established authors can learn from them too.
One thing I should mention… if you’re a new author: be patient. Overnight successes can take quite a few nights until they happen.
1. Write in a popular genre: the more readers, the more potential sales
Pay attention to your genre. Popular genres like romance, with all its sub-genres, have masses of readers who love to read, and are hungry for new books and authors.
What if your favored genre has few readers?
That’s OK. As long as you believe in yourself (see the fifth tip), and write characters YOU love, keep going. Who knows, you might be an author who drags your genre out of obscurity. 🙂
2. Write in a series: each book sells the others
Yep. Write in a series, as soon as you can.
If you can’t — you’re not sure how to turn a book into a series, or your mind doesn’t click and go hey, this world could support a series… Write short stories.
I love writing short stories for the marketing benefits, and also because I can play with many different worlds and characters. Most of my novels had their seed in a previous short story.
3. A little marketing really does help: it can be minimal
Whenever I mention “marketing” new authors have lots of objections. They don’t know how, they don’t want to blog, etc.
As I’ve always said, a little marketing can go a long way. You needn’t spend hours on it. A few minutes a day is fine.
4. Use your back matter to promote your books: add an excerpt
Use the back matter of your books to promote other books.
I’m always amazed when I mention this to authors (established authors, as well as newbies) and discover that they aren’t doing it, because it’s so simple.
When you’ve written the second book in a series, edit Book 1 to include the first scene or two of Book 2 in the back matter. Also at the end of Book 2, mention “Book 3 coming soon” and add a link to your website or Facebook page.
When Book 3 comes out, edit Book 2, to provide an except of Book 3 in the back matter. And so on and so forth.
It takes just 20 minutes to edit a book, and republish it.
5. Believe in yourself: write in a genre which is fun for you
Which genres of fiction do you read for fun? If you’re not reading a genre with pleasure, you’re unlikely to be able to write successfully in that genre. Your reading tells you what readers of the genre want.
When your writing is FUN for you, it’s likely to be fun for readers, as well. Please don’t torture yourself, trying to write in a genre which bores you, or which you actively dislike. It won’t work.
(Bonus tip) Avoid freebies and 99 cent ebooks
“Free” isn’t a guarantee of anything, least of all readers. Today, readers have so many freebies offered to them that they no longer trust “free.” They tend to look on 99 cent ebooks as trash too.
If you’re uncertain about pricing, price at the upper levels of the indie authors in your genre.
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