Self-publishing Success – Outline
I. Intro – My story
A. Always wanted to write
B. Submitted to one agent (great writing but still rejection)
C. Decided to self-publish and take control of my own career.
D. 16 months later, I have 5 books published and have sold over 60k books.
4 Most Common Self-publishing Questions Answered
II. Why Self-Publish?
B. Joy – Write what you want, no rules
C. Virtual Bookshelves – Last forever w/ almost no cost
D. Instant Feedback – Instead of a book you wrote 2 yrs ago just being released
E. No more Queries or Synopsis Writing
F. eBook Growth – increasing exponentially
G. Daily Sales Reports – No more being in the dark about sales
H. Free – you put what you want into it
I. Publish Often and in your own length
J. Creative Freedom
III. Where Can I Self-Publish?
A. Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing)
- Largest Market Share
- Format: MOBI or DOC
- Great lists and rankings (better exposure)
- International stores (US, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, more to come)
- KDP Select (new program – exclusivity, lending library)
- Can sell paperbacks and link to ebooks
B. Barnes & Noble (PubIt!)
- Not as much market share or friendliness toward Indies, but some do well here
- Format: EPUB or DOC
- Lists and also-boughts (taking cues from Amazon to improve)
- Distribution to: Apple, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, Amazon and B&N (but better to upload directly)
- “Free” promotions
- Just announced deal with Baker and Taylor
- Format: DOC (smashwords style guide – very specific)
D. iTunes / iBooks
- Recently opened their store for Indies to upload directly
- Must have a Mac or go through a third party to upload
IV. How Much Money Can I Make?
A. Royalty Rates
- Depends on 2 things: Vendor and Price of Book
- Low Prices are usually best. I recommend $5.99 or lower unless it is a very large book or a collection. One advantage Indies have over traditional publishers is our ability to provide ower prices. Readers appreciate this and don’t want to pay more for Indie than trad.
- Tons of opinions online about this! Don’t have time to go into all of the arguments here. Have to read up and make a decision for yourself!
- Sometimes Genre makes a difference in what people are willing to pay. Do your research!
- Length makes a difference in what people are willing to pay
- Free Books as Promotion (How to go free? / Best when you have other books on your shelf to sell)
- Impulse Buy
- Disadvantage: Indie Stigma
- Loss Leader
- Royalties (35 to 40%)
- Sweet Spot – lowest price for highest royalty
- Royalties (65-70%)
Higher Prices (2.99-9.99)
- Some argue the trend is to price higher
- Make sure you are well edited!
IV. How Will People Find My Books?
A. Fill bookshelves (No one-book experiments!)
B. Publish as fast as possible (most important!!)
C. Eye-Catching book covers (only do homemade if you are good at it!)
D. Great Writing
- People are becoming less tolerant of tons of errors or bad writing in Indie books.
- Always put your best foot forward
E. Description (draw people in)
F. Attention to Detail
- Branding / Recognizability
- Editing (pay someone if need be)
- Contact form for Mailing List (mailchimp)
- Links to Buy and book descriptions
- News or blog
- Nook Boards
- User Forums
I. Reviews / Book Bloggers – Amazing resource!!
J. Social Networking
- Google Plus
- Link your blog here
- Interact with readers
- Stay professional and don’t answer neg. reviews
L. Author Central
- Set up Profile
- Link Twitter
- Link Blog RSS Feed
M. Paid Ads
- Pixel of Ink
- eReader News Today
- Kindle Nation Daily
- Kindle Fire Department
- Many more, but do your research first!
Advice: Take it one step at a time! Impossible to learn everything all at once, so don’t let it overwhelm you!! Your best marketing strategy is to write more books, so let that always take priority.
VI. Final Thoughts
A. Noise – There is a lot of ‘chatter’ out there on the internet. People have their own opinions, but you have to learn to trust your own instincts. Experiment, but be smart and learn from your mistakes.
B. Change is Normal – Things are in a constant state of change. What works great for you one month might be taken away the next and you have to find something else that will work. Keep an open mind and be ready for anything. Don’t let it rule you.
C. Give it Time and Books – To be successful, you need to have several books out. One book does not usually sell as well as two or three or more. Don’t expect a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes time.
D. Believe in Yourself – Many people won’t understand why you’re doing something different. Don’t you want/need the validation of an editor and an agent? Don’t waste your time worrying about those things. Just keep your eye on the prize and make your own way to success.
E. Set Goals You Can Control – Instead of “I will sell 10,000 books this month” set a goal like “I will write 40,000 words this month”. Setting goals you can control will lead you to success.
F. Self-publishing is not for everyone.
- It’s very hard work
- Not easy for those who write very slowly.
- You’re the only one to blame if you don’t find success – this can be tough to swallow.
- No publisher setting deadlines so you have to be self-motivated.
- Have to wear all the HATS (marketer, cover designer, editor, author, complete decision mkr)
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through my website and I will do my best to help you however I can.