Self-publishing isn’t for everyone. There are writers who are great at their craft – but they would fail if they’d self-publish, simply because they weren’t cut out for this. You can learn, from your own mistakes, from reading other self-publisher’s blogs, but the truth is that there’s no recipe, no universal formula. And there will never be one.
What’s maybe ironic is that it’s not the writing that makes the difference. Oh, far from it.
Those who are successful at self-publishing have one thing in common: they love to interact with people. Even though they’re hiding behind a computer screen, they’re out there, blogging, promoting, connecting with readers and other writers. They’re building an audience, they’re always searching for new readers and new ways to reach those readers – they’re always experimenting, trying to find alternatives.
And there’s one more difference: they’re realistic. They set achievable short term goals. They don’t expect to win the lottery, to become the next Amanda Hocking or J.A. Konrath or John Locke.
Self-publishing is for people who are enjoying themselves even when no one seems to be reading what they’re writing. I know it’s difficult, I know how it can ruin your mood when you see those stats on your blog, but remember that it takes time. Years and years before you find your audience. Don’t hold grudges, don’t cry when people give you one star reviews, don’t hate those who are successful.
And be realistic.
Maybe all writers who want to self-publish should keep this in mind: they are choosing to self-publish because they love to write. They want to call themselves writers. Everything else comes as a bonus..
So here are ten things I learned (the hard way) about self-publishing. Ten things anyone who wants to self-publish should do before they click on that publish button.
- Write the best book you can: Common sense rule. Don’t stop working on your book until you feel there’s nothing more you can do.
In a way, a book is never perfect, but for an indie writer, just as it is the case with traditionally published writers, it’s imperious that the finished manuscript is as good and polished as possible.
Even if you pay for an edit, for a copy-edit, even though you may have ten beta-readers at your disposal, it’s important that you write a book that you feel is as flawless as you can make it.
The world expects nothing less from a writer, and, frankly, a writer owes this type of commitment to his readers.
- Build your platform: Nowadays indie artists put a lot of emphasis on platform building. What does that mean? Developing tools that you can use to reach, engage, and grow your audience.
It’s not as difficult as it sounds, but it’s also not as easy as it migh seem.
The reality in today’s indie publishing world is that you need to stand out. Tens of thousands of books are being published each year; millions more are available for sale through online retailers, so building a community is a viable marketing technique.
Social interaction is one of the tools that make certain websites hugely popular. People want to get together, to talk, to interact, to share ideas and stories.
That’s something an indie writer has to take advantage of.
The easiest way to do this is to have a blog, which would act as a central hub for your other social media accounts. Then you can have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, an author profile on Goodreads, and so on.
Think of social media as a perpetual conversation: if you can’t add anything new to the conversation, there’s no reason for you to open your mouth. So try to add something valuable to the conversation. Write interesting blog posts, offer insight into how your creative process works, but do so in a way you’re comfortable. Don’t set up dozens of accounts. Just use the platforms you’re most familiar with or the ones you feel would work for you. It’s not your duty to be available on every social media platform ever invented.
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