A week into the new year, I chatted with a self-publishing author who’d decided to go back to freelance writing.
“My book sales tanked over the holidays,” she said. “I’ve tried everything, and I quit.”
I asked her what self-publishing success might look like to her. She responded with a grin: “That’s easy. Success would be if I sell ten thousand copies of every book I write… every year.”
She waited for a moment, then went on, “and without spending a fortune on advertising too!”
Self-publishing has changed over the past few years. Although it’s very easy to publish, it’s hard to get traction.
Self-Publishing success: set YOUR goals
Our conversation gave me food for thought, primarily about the publishing environment, and about setting writing goals.
Bottom line with the self-publishing business in 2019: you’ve got a worldwide audience. If other authors can launch books which make five figures in their first month, you can do it too. It might not happen fast, and it might take a lot of work, but you’ll never know what you can do until you TRY.
Task: set some goals which will help you to self-publishing success — and develop routines: see below.
Let’s look at some tips which may help.
1. DDT: Do, Don’t Think — routines have power
Many years ago, when I was raising three sons, running a business, and writing too, I created a little acronym: DDT. It meant: Do, Don’t Think.
Of course you need to think in the planning phase of a project, but when it’s time to execute, that time has passed. Now, you need to get it DONE.
You get things done via routines. Consider everyday tasks. You do them routinely. You don’t have to think about doing them, and you don’t procrastinate: you do.
After you’ve set your self-publishing goals for 2019, create daily tasks which will help you to achieve them.
2. Self-publishing is cumulative: use what you have (you always have more than you think)
I looked at the “I QUIT!” author’s publishing catalogue, and found areas where she could make more money with what she already had, and with minimal effort.
If you’ve been publishing for a year or more, look at your own catalogue.
- Expand on books you’ve published? That is, could you create an “advanced” version of a beginner’s book, if you’re publishing nonfiction? If you’re writing fiction, consider writing sequels and prequels of what you already have.
- Add additional formats? Such as, print versions, audio versions, PDF/ MOBI/ EPUB versions which you can sell on your website? If you’re selling well in a specific country, consider commissioning a translation.
- Bundle books? Authors resist bundling, fearing that they’re cannibalizing sales, and this can happen in some cases. Experiment. If a bundle harms sales, remove it.
Every book you write is an asset. Use what you have — do more with every book.
3. Diversify: you might need to dig many holes before you strike gold
I come from a long line of farm folk. Farmers know that when sales are great, they’ll tumble sooner, rather than later. So they diversify. They plant different crops. They improve their herds. They never, ever expect things to stay great, because they don’t.
Diversification is essential for authors.
You can diversify in any way you like. I suggested copywriting, to my author friend, and not merely because we’ve released a new version of our copywriting class.
How you diversify is up to you. Plant something different — it may become your best crop. Just remember, what goes up, doesn’t stay up.
Self-publishing and quitting… don’t
If you’ve invested time, effort and money in your self-publishing venture, persist. Take a break, sure. But remember that you have assets, and that you can always do more with them.
Create goals, and a routine. And most importantly, diversify.
Happy writing. 🙂
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