The Woes of Self-Publishing

“The best people that you can get to download your books are other authors.  Chances are, if you’re a self-published author, you’re going to need help with promoting your work.  And that means we need to stick together.   Self-publishing doesn’t always have to be a lonely endeavor.  Make relationships and get the train moving again.”

If you’re like me, you’ve probably written a book, or you’re currently working on one.  You are either an author, or an aspiring author.

the image is not mine

And, chances are, if you’re like me, you’ve researched and found out that self-publishing is the easier path for ensuring your written work will get some attention.  It’s the fastest choice, the choice that gives you the most control over your manuscript, and, if you don’t want to, you don’t even have to spend a penny.

However, if you’re like me, then you’ve most likely also discovered that self-publishing is VERY HARD.

To be a self-publishing author…for those of you that don’t know what this entails, allow me to explain.  If you SELF-PUBLISH a book, then you are the publisher.  Based upon this discovery, we can go further and ask the necessary question: what does a publisher do?

Publishers distribute written or graphic works of art to the public.  They are advertisers, promoters, business-people, sales-people.  That’s their job.  And, with every job that involves showing off and selling some sort of item, you had better be good at it!

Most likely, if you’re a self-published author, the revenue you receive from selling your books is NOT your only source of income.  Most self-published authors would be in a lot of trouble, if that were the case!  Publishing a book (meaning actively distributing and selling it to the public) is a lot of work, and very often, not too profitable.

WHAT ARE SOME GREAT WAYS TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK?

ebook tablet

My books tend to have much more success when (guess what?) I make them free for a short amount of time.  I’m talking about the eBook versions, of course.  People will wait for me to make them free (which, of course, is smart), or maybe they’re people that haven’t heard of my book, but they notice it while scrolling through Smashwords.com.  They see that the novella is free, and then decide to give it a chance.  I mean, they don’t have anything to lose.

This sounds like a poor way to build a following; if your book is worth something, then people will pay for it!  This is very true, and it’s why I don’t advise that you keep your book forever free.  BUT, there are also some advantages to making your book free:

  1. If you’re writing a series (like me), having at least the first book free can act as the “hook”.  Then, if you’re worried about making sure people understand the worth of your book, you can charge readers for the subsequent books of your series.
  2. Ripple effect: the people that download your book for free might start talking, or other people online will see what they’re reading.  Maybe they’ll be interested in buying a copy too.

Another great way to promote your book is finding other authors that write about the same things you do.  Wordpress.com is great for that, especially since you can search for specific tags.  Writing a historical fiction? Search for others writing about the same thing.  Strike up a relationship and find ways to help each other out.  The best people that you can get to download your books are other authors.  Chances are, if you’re a self-published author, you’re going to need help with promoting your work.  And that means we need to stick together.   Self-publishing doesn’t always have to be a lonely endeavor.  Make relationships and get the train moving again.

The last way to promote your book would be to keep on writing; blog on different sites.  Personally email people, comment on their blogs, and find nook in the internet where your audience is hiding.  Whatever your endeavor is, keeping working for it.  And even if you’re not sure where your going with your self-publishing career, keep moving forward.  Keep searching.  Keep writing.

For those that suffer the woes of self-publishing: Go create.  Go writers.


Your Author,

Dom

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

Praise God 😉

P.S. Volume 1 is still free as an eBook at Smashwords!

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22 comments

  1. proverbs31teen

    Great tips! It’s always good for an author to have the first book in their series free as a hook, or have a sample, the first five chapters or so, up for free. I discovered one of my favorite series, The Lunar Chronicles, because the author put up free samples!

    Like

  2. ofopinions

    I have been debating a lot on some of the questions you raise here. I’ve been working on a book based on my blog, but I am still writing and re-writing it because I don’t know what would be reader-friendly. I feel quite alone in this, as all the self-publishing advice out there is mostly for fiction or how-to’s. I write personality-driven philosophical essays, that don’t exactly seem exciting. I am thinking I might just keep it permanently free, though it would be nice get paid for all the hard work. Or keep the prices really low, and make it free periodically. What is most important to me, of course, is having people read it.
    Found you on the community pool. Good luck with your series!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aul

      I understand your position. That’s tough. There is a bright side to your predicament, actually, but you’ll need to act on it in the right way.
      Like you said, most of the self-publishing world is fiction or how-to’s. But, if you can find that niche of authors or readers that enjoy writing or reading philosophical essays (they DO exist), then I believe you can get on the right path.
      I’d have to check out some samples from your book to really understand what your genre is. But I’m positive that there are people that will really appreciate it.
      As to pricing…well, as I said, making things free is great, but being paid, on a personal level, is of course way better. I can’t give you too much advice here. Try what works. Experiment a little. Raise prices for a bit, and then lower them and declare that you’re having a sale. Self-publishing REQUIRES a sense of ambition, creativity, and relentlessness. In the end, if you’re like me, it just depends on how far you’re willing to go.

      Thanks for the comment, and I wish you the best of luck as well! Write on!

      Liked by 1 person

      • ofopinions

        Thank you! My book is based on my blog, so the essays are exactly like the ones that are on my blog. I do have a supportive readership on my blog, which is why I felt like I could write the book in the first place. But, I can’t assume them to also go along with reading the same kind of thing in the long form, and even paying for it. I’d obviously promote it, and do talk about my progress from time to time. I do hope they will be interested in reading more, and the book would also help in taking what I do to places outside the blog.

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      • Aul

        That’s the idea. What’s also important to remember is that, unlike publishing traditional style, self-publishing can take years for you to get the desired amount of popularity. The important thing is to keep on going, and however gradually, your audience will grow.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. jade0207

    Hahaha I am totally like you that way xD I am working on a book currently for Wattpad (its an addicting place seriously) Anyways which books have u written I’ll love reading them! 🙂

    Like

    • Aul

      Awesome! I’m actually on Wattpad too (my username is Hedekira16). I haven’t been writing on Wattpad too much recently; I had been doing a Bleach Fanfiction (Bleach is an anime), and I also posted a few chapters of my first book. Other things just took priority, but I’m trying to get back into it.

      I’ve written Volumes 1, 2, and 3 of my series The Golden Lands (Volume 4 is on the way). Here’s a link to Volume 1, which is free as a downloadable eBook: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/535151
      I’d love to check out your works too! Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • jade0207

        Mine is Amazing Moon! I’ll follow you no problem! Yeah I know how that happens. I m not in to anime but I’ll read the golden lands for sure! The book as on the way hopefully I’ll start uploading pretty soon! I have a couple of poems on my blog if you want to check it out though. Your welcome and thanks!

        Like

      • Aul

        Okay! I’ll look you up. And yeah I don’t think you need to be into anime to enjoy my books; a have a decent amount of readers that have never seen anime. And you’re welcome and thanks 🙂

        Like

  4. caroljforrester

    I self-published a collection of poems and flash fictions a couple of years back and sold a few hard copies and utterly baulked at turning it into an e-book because I just didn’t understand the process enough. I defiantly think this is a great article for writers who are determined to follow this path of publishing however.

    Like

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