Monday, August 3, 2015

The Do’s and Don’ts of Self-Publishing From a Mostly Loser, Sometimes Winner

Being an indie author ain’t easy. With new indie books being released every day, it’s pretty hard to get noticed. So hard, in fact, that one might think, what’s the point at all? Well, the point is that you love writing and you want to continue doing it. But how are you going to get the attention you so rightly deserve? Well, I haven’t totally figured that out yet, but I’ve found a few strategies that have and haven’t worked. So, let’s get right to them!

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DON’T: Go to Pitching Events

Writer’s Conferences are a great place to meet fellow authors and learn what other stories are out there. But attached to many of these conferences are pitch slams, where agents sit behind tables and listen to your pitch. Some people like to think these are the most important parts about the conference, but they’re mistaken, since they’re more likely to be struck by lightning than to have their book picked up at these events. Sure, the agent might request to see some of your pages, and sure, they’re very nice about listening to your jumbled words. But in the end, they’re more than likely not going to do anything with your book, and you just wasted your time memorizing your synopsis. You’ll have better a chance in the slush pile.

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DO: Have a Goodreads giveaway

Are you on Goodreads? If not, then that’s a problem, since readers LOVE goodreads. If you are on it (Good for you), there’s a feature called Goodreads giveaways where you can put copies of your books up for people to try and win. When I put one of my books up, I always make sure to thank the participants and give them another chance to win the book on my blog. You wouldn’t believe how many people come to try and win. I’ll tell you what, It’s a hell of a lot more people than who normally visit my blog, that’s for sure.

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DON’T: Even bother releasing books on Nook, Kobo, or iTunes

I know it might feel like a missed opportunity, but you will likely not sell a single book on Nook, Kobo, or iTunes unless you’re Brad Thor, Stephen King, or Harper Lee. That’s mainly because people have to actually search for your book to find you, and why would they do that if they don’t even know who you are? Instead, just put your book on Amazon and enroll in the KDP program. Amazon is a search engine at its heart, and people might stumble upon your book by accident by searching for random things. You have a much better shot on Amazon, so just use that. It’s the best decision.

DO: Put a call-to-action in your books

Remember what I just said about Amazon? Well, unless you have a lot of good reviews, you’re going to get buried on their site. So why not put a call-to-action in your book at the end that asks people to review your book if they enjoyed it? You have no idea how many more reviews you’ll get just by asking nicely for people to put them.

DON’T: Use Facebook Advertising

Facebook might seem like a great place to find new readers, but it’s not. This is mostly because not all of your posts go to your friends and followers. You might think, well, why not try advertising on it then, but there are better ways to attract new readers that are actually free, namely what I’m going to mention next.

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DO: Start a mailing list

Mailing lists are free if you use a service like Mailchimp. Remember what I said about using a call-to-action? Well, set up a website like this that gives readers something free for signing up, and then place the link in your book at the beginning and at the end. Shout out to fellow author, Nick Stephenson,for coming up with this brilliant idea.

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DON’T: Do giveaway sales on Kindle without pairing them up with other promotions

When you use the KDP program on Amazon, you can have certain days where you put your book up for sale to entice people to download it. But here’s the thing. If you just release your book for free or 99 cents, some people will find it, but you are limiting your potential. When you do these sales, find a site like Bookgorilla, Read, or the crème de la crème, Bookbub (Good luck getting picked) when you do your sales to maximize your profits. Try to do multiple promotions at once to get mega clicks.

DO: Get your name in the local paper Local papers love writing about local authors. They’re the kind of fluff pieces that fill space. Well, given that all you pretty much have to do is email the editor and tell them that you write books in the area, why not do so? It’s easy. Here’s mine. Bingo, bango. Your name now has more prominence on Google. How about that?

DON’T: Try to shove your book down people’s throats

It may seem like a good idea to constantly mention that your book is on sale, or that people will love your story, but it’s not. People don’t want to hear “buy my book, buy my book” over and over again from a megaphone. Instead, do some of the steps above. They’re a lot less annoying.

DO: Focus on doing book signings Once you get your name in the paper, you can take it to all the local shops and show that you have a presence in the community. Once you get in the habit of doing book signings, you meet more people and sell more books, even if it’s just a few here or there.

So there you have it. I’m still not rolling in the dough, but I’m getting there. Try these out and see how they work for you!

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