Given a few of my posts, followers of this blog probably think my attitude toward self-publishing looks something like this:
Not true, although I wouldn’t blame you for jumping to that conclusion, given my plaints about promotion and the pressure to produce. Be those as they may, my attitude toward self-publishing actually looks more like this:
(Except my glasses are rimless, my eyes are hazel, I have gray hair, and my shoes aren’t nearly as cool.) I don’t hate self-publishing—and have no plans to quit—I’m simply not cut out for everything DYI entails. This I learned through experience, the best (if not always the kindest) teacher.
Today I would like to share some hard-won hindsights, which are sort of like insights, except they usually show up too late to do you any real good. So pay attention and maybe you’ll spare yourself some grief. Please note that the following pointers assume you’ve written a good book, had it beta read and edited, and have it properly formatted. If you haven’t done that, stop reading right now. (Or save this post until you catch up.)
- Hindisght #1: Get your author platform down. I already wrote about this, and you can find that post here. For the moment, suffice it to say, If you were in a footrace, your author platform would be, “On your mark!” You can’t win, if you don’t start at the right place.
- Hindsight #2: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. You need a budget. Not talking Daddy Warbucks here, just enough to pay for some great cover art (not as expensive as you think), an editor, the occasional ad, membership in a few key professional organizations, and maybe a course to fill the knowledge gaps, something like they offer at Fostering Success.
- Hindsight #3: You need a plan. How are you going to launch your book? Think “build-up,” people, and maintaining “the big Mo.” You need to get readers excited BEFORE you put your book out there. Tease them with excerpts. A cover reveal. A few advance copies.
- Hindsight #4: Know thyself. If tips, helpful websites, blog tours, and social media platforms were raindrops, your ark would already be afloat. Maybe writing is your full-time job, and you can afford to write all morning and promote all afternoon. Or maybe you’re a pink bunny with a big bass drum and energy to burn. The point is, you need to be honest with yourself. How much can you handle? If the answer is, “Not all that much,” then pick your spots. Services like Bublish (free) and Ebook Booster (not free, but the next thing to it, and well worth the expense) can take a major load off. You’ll find links to these and a few other nifty resources on my website.
- Hindsight #5: Expectations are your enemy. (This hindsight is also known as, “Don’t fall for the hype.”) Once you put your book out there, trust me, you’re gonna discover a whole new obsession: numbers. How many sales? How many free downloads? How many reviews? How many good reviews? Word to the wise: Keep watching the numbers, and you will flat drive yourself nuts! Remember: Once in a blue moon, a book hits Amazon and takes off … but only suckers count on a blue moon. This stuff takes time.
There’s probably more I could tell you, but at my age, you can only hold so many thoughts at once. Besides, I gotta save something for future blogs ….