Recently been seeing a ton of advertising on Facebook for self publishing books. Often by people who have very little experience and very little results (at least from their Amazon profiles). When your best book is sitting in the 160,000+ sales level on Amazon USA, I would NOT recommend anyone take their advice on how to be successful.
I’ve done a little better than that. But…
The problem with taking advice is that everyone’s situation is different.
Genres are different. Length of books are different. Writing style, speed and ability is different. Knowledge of marketing and the publishing business is different. No one’s circumstances is exactly the same.
When I first published, I got lucky. Very, very lucky. I wrote my stories for fun on Royal Road, never intending to publish. Never thinking I’d publish. It was only when I had finished both book 1’s of Adventures on Brad and the System Apocalypse that I realised I had a book there.
I went in and edited the books, and because I’d been reading Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s business blog for ages for fun, I knew vaguely about indie publishing. Some very quick research showed that most indie published authors made $500 or less on their books a year.
Knowing that and doing research on editing meant that I would never make my money back if I got my work edited or proofread. So, instead, I decided to just get some nice covers and throw it up. More for fun than with any intention of making money
Realise, I figured I’d make a hundred or two dollars at most. While I didn’t mind losing the cost of my covers, I had no desire to spend $1,000+ on editing/proofing/etc that I would never see back. Thus, I paid for no editing or proofreading (beyond what the fans on Royalroad had provided and some beta readers). The first books had a TON of editing and proofing errors.
I entered an extremely hot niche at the time. There were very, very few books in that niche, and my first launch for AoB started selling. In fact, the books sold well enough that when I released Life in the North, I actually went to the various Facebook groups that I had learnt of and started promoting. (FYI – timeline might be a little off, it’s been over 2+ years now at the time of writing. The general gist is right though).
I. Got. Lucky.
I built my reader base from being in the right place at the right time. Sure, I’m a decent writer, otherwise those fans wouldn’t keep reading. Sure, I’ve built and continue to build marketing tools to capture and keep those fans engaged. And I do write fast, especially compared to many.
My experiences, my knowledge base, my fan base are very different from many authors. I started out lucky and my continued success is based off that initial moment of fortune. There is no way for me to recommend that someone else do the same (beyond the idea of writing to market / chasing trends / whatever you want to term it); and even then – I ‘wrote to market’ by pure accident. I thoroughly enjoy the genres I write in, so that same passion is hard to replicate if you’re writing to trend (unless, again, you’re lucky enough to find one like me that you’re already interested in).
A Barrel of Salt
So, when you read or check out my articles on marketing, thoughts, etc. realise that my recommendations come from such a place. There is information that can be useful there. A lot of what I do comes from my past experience (as a business owner, marketing manager and my degrees in business & marketing). But, take everything with a large grain of salt.
Unless someone is literally sitting down and doing a full consultation on your publishing career, their advice is superficial at best. You have to take what you think works, test and test again to make sure it works for you.
And that’s it. That’s all there is to it.
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