March 6, 2015
So you’ve decided – you are going to try self publishing your books and see what happens. You’ve got an idea for a book, motivation to finish it on your own, and a desire to set it free, hoping for millions of dollars to come, offers for movie adaptations, and world fame.
This entire scenario sounds great, but you are probably asking yourself how you are going to get there. How are you going to monetize self publishing your books? Will it be sustainable and pay off? How does it all work?! What can you do to decrease the chances of getting that dreaded zero-dollar revenue at the end of the year? These are the questions that you are probably asking yourself right now. You’ve come to the right place for the answers to self publishing your books.
Before we dive into the details, rest assured that it is possible. You can become a self publishing wizard and conquer the hearts of millions of readers worldwide. But, keep in mind that it is very difficult to even start selling anything, let alone millions of digital copies of your books.
At times you may think about giving up and putting all your efforts into your daytime job. But, that’s the point. It should be difficult so that skimpily motivated wanna-be writers give up.
The most important lesson here is that the greatest contributor to success when self publishing your book is persistence. Of course, smartness and genius have their say in how fast you reach success, but they are only modifiers. The secret to accomplishing your goal of becoming a world-famous writer lies in dedication and determination.
Okay, so you feel deep inside that an independent, self published writer-millionaire is what you want to be. The perspective of hundreds of late-night hours rewriting huge blocks of text does not give you dread. You are as motivated as you can be. It is time for the next challenge: quality work.
No publishing, advertising, marketing, or viral trick can replace quality work when self publishing your books. If you want to sell many copies of your work, it better be a pristine one. It should ooze originality, passion, intelligence, and quality. Ironically, if you want to get rich by self publishing your books, that is the exact thing you should avoid.
Your works should come from the inner motivation and show your wonderful internal world to readers. If you are self publishing your books solely for the hope that you will get rich from it, forget it. You just won’t do good enough and readers will immediately discern this.
On the other hand, a book written on a ‘trivial’ subject in your everyday life can claim the hearts of millions of readers, if it makes them feel that they received something exquisitely and charmingly valuable from the unknown person putting those words on that white background.
If you can manage to drive readers through your text and relive your story as compellingly as possible, then you have a winner.
Put yourself out there when self publishing your books. Write from the heart and mind, write how you feel, and make your readers feel it too. This does not mean that you should abandon getting better at writing, attending writer or comedy classes, or disregard advice.
It simply means that readers seek uniqueness, and the most unique thing you have is – yourself. It doesn’t have to be something that has happened to you in real life. It can be fiction, surrealistic description of reality, or just plain old poetry. But, it has to be 100% yours.
Yes, you may become the next Paulo Coelho or Dan Brown when self publishing your books, but work on getting there. Pure motivation is not enough to become a good writer. You have to know how to write. You may think that, since you’ve been reading all your life, it should not be a problem. But writing good stuff is an art and a skill, and we are not born with either.
Do not skip on classes and actively seek some in your vicinity. We live in a time when you can find a course about anything on the Internet – so don’t waste your time watching funny cat videos. Instead, go through a course or three on self publishing your books. Take notes, try stuff, and write as much as possible.
You will also have to develop a marketing strategy, a PR strategy…all these encompass a set of skills and knowledge that would be much harder to acquire on your own. People have gone through all the hustle and written books or recorded courses about it. Make sure you find some quality sources and go through them carefully. It will definitely pay off when self publishing your books.
The good thing about not being born a professional writer is that you can become one during your lifetime. The ‘bad’ thing about it is that you have to put as much sweat, effort, and time as in any other endeavor in which you aim to achieve mastery.
Every time you write a huge block of text and distill it down to several phrases, you get a lesson you would not achieve if you skip on putting forth the effort. Every time you go through what you have written and exterminate all typing mistakes, you get something that pays back in higher-quality writing.
You can be a genius, a polymath, the brightest kid on the block – but if you don’t put out much effort, you will not create good writing. Your qualities can only help you get there quicker, but the hours of hard work are inevitable. The only rule you should remember is: write, write, and write.
So you have completed your book. You are satisfied, you gave your best and believe you have something worth sharing with the world. Now what? How can you make your work swim and float above the hundreds of thousands of texts published every year and grasp the attention of readers? With marketing, of course.
Simply put, marketing is the placement of your product on the market. There are hundreds of thousands of people writing at this very moment. The very thought might seem depressing. Yet, if you stop for a minute and think, you’ll probably figure out that most of these people are not that good.
Just try and download a random book or a short story, and chances are you’ll download something boring or already seen. But if you search for the top authors, you’ll rarely find something unappealing.
It’s as if though they agreed to be the best. Right? Wrong! It’s simply the law of distribution taking place here. The top is taken by the best authors with the best marketing strategies. Here, it definitely pays off to attend a course or two, or read a book about self publishing your books.
You’ll learn invaluable tricks on how to place your book and be visible enough, how to develop your pricing strategy, and avoid being too expensive or too cheap(!), what your cover and caption should look like, whether to use sub-captions, and many other tactics and tips that will significantly improve your chances of selling thousands of copies when self publishing your books.
There are several self publishing sites: Publishing Xpress, Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Blurb, Xilbris…and they all have publishing rules. Go through the info on your target site and study how to publish your work, what format to use, page size, fonts…or better yet, employ an editor, as this is something that you should not be doing because you should be writing your next bestseller.
If you can’t find an editor in your surroundings or they seem too expensive, go on a freelance site and employ a freelancer. They usually offer competitive pricing and are experienced and knowledgeable, so they will save you valuable time discovering the secret art of making your writing seem professional.
There you have it. You are on your self-publishing path to stardom. It isn’t easy, but it pays to be persistent. Oh, and if you are thinking that you are forgetting something, just remember the golden rule: write, write, and write yourself to success. There is no other way. To be a great author, you have to be exactly that – a great author.
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