On Self Publishing: Top Ten Lessons I’ve Learned…So Far

  1. In the words of Nike, ‘Just do it!‘- you can self publish. You can make 35% or more for your own work in digital format. You don’t need an agent and you don’t need a traditional publisher limiting you to 15% or less, if you can get anyone to work with you at all. Seek out free online and inexpensive eBook resources to help you get started.

  2. Expensive software isn’t required. If you have Microsoft Word – any version – you have everything you need. If you’re concerned about formatting your book in Word for uploading to Amazon for the Kindle (the first place you should go), get this book: The Ultimate Guide To Kindle Publishing Using Microsoft Word.

  3. Start with Amazon and the Kindle Select Program for your work in digital format. Yes, there are other platforms out there but Amazon has the most reach – by far – and being in the Kindle Select Program means you get ‘borrows’ which you also get paid for (not as much unless you’re selling everything at $.99 and only making $.35, but something). Borrows are gold for new indie authors.

  4. Don’t believe everything you read about self-publishing: Anyone can write a non-fiction eBook or publish something as Print on Demand (POD), but not everyone should. Read book descriptions and reviews with a critical eye. Do a ‘look inside’ free preview if one is offered. Use more than one source for information before you change the way you do something. Most importantly, check the date of publication. When it comes to self-publishing, even the widely cited references can become dated fast. For example: anything that says Twitter is a great place to promote your books/eBooks and that you should pound away with tweets about your books was probably written before 2012 and shouldn’t be trusted on that point.

  5. Advertising on social media will get you nowhere fast: Your Facebook friends don’t want to be bombarded with sales pitches. They’ll tune you out. Ditto your Twitter followers, as stated in point 7. Post about your books very sparingly – if at all – to either of those sites and to LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Thinking about posting book trailers to YouTube? Don’t waste your time or your money. If you’re not Stephen King or J. K. Rowling, no one will be watching.

  6. Facebook fan pages are practically worthless for debut/unknown authors: Put one up and post something to it about your books, about you personally or something tastefully humorous about once a day. Post a book give-away once in a while too. Otherwise, leave it alone. Why? Because it will, by design, be seen by very few people but when you are a famous author and people actually seek you out, you’ll already be established there. Don’t pay to ‘boost’ a post unless you’re releasing a new book, you have a fabulous guest coming up on your blog or you have other major news to share. If you do pay to play there, be sure to target your audience as specifically as you can.

  7. Join Facebook groups from your personal page for readers and writers in your genre and participate in them: Don’t spend hours a day on Facebook. Do spend 15 to 20 minutes each day catching up with posts and contributing in a couple of large groups that are focused on your primary genre or on your primary audience. You’ll make friends who will beta read your books, edit your books, design your cover for you, give you reviews and ultimately buy your books. What you give in groups you’ll receive back in spades.

  8. You must be on Goodreads. Period. Your readers are there; you need to be there too. Establish a profile. Claim your books. Load up some books you’ve read. Join a couple of groups and participate for a few minutes each day (see item 4). Readers on the site are passionate about books and many support indie authors. Be active for a few minutes a day several days a week and claim your space among them!

  9. Blog: Your fans expect it. They want to hear about what you’re working on now. They want to know how you came up with your latest antagonist. They’re curious about you personally, about your writing processes and about anything else you’re passionate about. Start a free blog on WordPress and buy a domain name to direct people to it so you look professional. Link to your blog from your eBooks. Put your blog/site on all of your business cards and advertising. When you can afford it, spring for actual hosting. You can get it for $5-8 a month in many places. Post a few hundred words or a few photos a couple of times per week and make your fans happy.

1. Write baby write! – Get off of social media, stop goofing around and write, write, write. You aren’t an ‘author’ if all you do is comment in groups and on forums and blogs. Put your money where your mouth is and put some words on your screen that you intend to share with readers.

About Anne Hagan

I'm an East Central Ohio based government employee by day and a fiction author by night. I specialize in mystery fiction featuring lesbian sleuths and cozy fiction featuring women sleuths. I also dabble in romance especially romantic lesfic. I live with my wife and our dogs in a tiny town that’s even smaller than the Morelville of my first fiction series and we wouldn't have it any other way. My wife grew up here and she has always called this little village home. Though it’s an ultra-conservative rural community, we're surrounded here by family, longtime friends and many other wonderful people with open hearts and minds. My wife and I are the co-owners of a commercial haunted house: Hagan's House of Horrors. Much as my dream has always been to write fiction, hers has been to create it through the medium of horror. We went full commercial in 2015. Watch us as we grow!
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One Response to On Self Publishing: Top Ten Lessons I’ve Learned…So Far

  1. annapauthor says:

    Very useful (and well timed) — thanks!

    Like

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