If there’s one thing I love about the indie author community, it’s the sense of community and camaraderie. Thanks to a handful of supportive and generous indie authors, I’ve got some great insights to share with you – straight from them, for your benefit.
This post is a must-bookmark as this information is invaluable, especially if you are a novice indie author about to embark on the wide-world of self-publishing. Learn from their mistakes and you’ll be ahead of the game!
1. “I wish I’d known it’s never too early to start promoting yourself” – Dina Silver, One Pink Line
It’s important to create not only buzz about your book, but a network of support prior to the launch of your book. When author Dina Silver launched her book, One Pink Line, she found she had to work extra hard to get it noticed and took her months to foster relationships with bloggers, readers and other authors.
Take away nugget: Get your name and brand out “there” now by reaching out to bloggers and writers who share your genre and build a rapport. Support other’s books and writing and they just might do the same for you.
2. “I published too quickly without a solid marketing plan.” – Samantha March, Destined to Fail
There’s a lot to be said for having a marketing plan in place before you publish your book. Not only will this help optimize book sales, it will keep you on track for strategic promotional opportunities and successes.
Take away nugget: Don’t let the excitement of publishing get in the way of a strategic plan.
3. “It’s easy to overspend on your first book.” – Lauren Clark, Stay Tuned, Dancing Naked in Dixie
So you’ve decided to self-publish, congrats! While self-publishing lends itself well to giving the author control over his/her own sales and marketing, it can be tough to know exactly how much to spend. Indie author, Lauren Clark suggests prioritizing your needs (a great cover, formatting and editing) and set a budget before handing over any money.
Take away nugget: Shop around, compare prices and quality and don’t take advice from the first person who hands it to you. This is your book and your hard work. Be sure your funding is being well-spent.
4. “I wish I knew more about the publishing process” – Jeff Bennington, Twisted Vengeance, Reunion, Creepy
Author Jeff Bennington says, “I signed on with “one of those vanity presses and paid thousands of dollars to publish my book, only to discover I wasted my money.” Bennington didn’t appreciate how the publishing house charged him for things he didn’t need like uploading his book to Amazon and marketing coaching. In hindsight, what Bennington really wanted was a professional editor, a custom cover, a catchy blurb and good ebook formatting.
Take away nugget: Spend your money where it matters. Prioritize your budget based on your goals with your book. Figure out whom to subcontract important projects to and take care of the things you already know how to do and manage yourself.
5. “Get paperbacks for your books.” – Robert B. Lowe, Project Moses
Yes, paying for paperbacks for your books might seem pricey and in the world of Kindles and e-readers, might seem inconsequential, but having actual hard copies of your books will go a long way in helping you promote your book. It’s helpful to start at your base – where your live – to use at local bookstore signing and giving to friends and family. The additional up front cost is usually minor.
Take away nugget: Even though you might be selling your book almost exclusively online, get paperbacks printed. You will need them for marketing and, above all, it’s great for your morale!
6. “It’s never too early to build your author platform” – Ingrid Ricks, Hippie Boy, A Little Book of Mormon & Not So Mormon Stories
Before publishing her first book, author Ingrid Rocks landed herself and agent. “I thought my job was over until that agent told me that without a strong author platform, I could kiss my publishing chances goodbye.” An author platform is your brand, how you reach current and potential readers. This can be through blogging, being a guest blogger, writing for various publications and websites – all ways to reach readers you may not have otherwise.
Take away nugget: Try using open submission platforms such as Open Salon and Scribd to share your writing and connect with readers, the earlier the better.
7. “I didn’t realize how time consuming marketing was.” – Kate O’Mara, Inspiration: Write Every Day.
Yup, successful marketing takes time, both in planning and execution, because as we all know, without marketing your book, no one will know they need to read it!
Take away nugget: Develop a supportive group of co-working authors to cross-promote each other’s work. This is a great way to reach new readers and encourage each other with new projects.
8. “I should have gotten involved in social media before I published my book.” – Giacomo Giammatteo, Murder Takes Time
By the time author Giacomo Giammatteo published his book, felt behind the eight-ball. “I had no Twitter account. I think I had about a dozen Facebook friends and no other social media presence.” After recognizing social media could be doing wonders for his book sales, Giammatteo worked on strengthening his network.
Take away nugget: It’s never too early to get your author platform and social media presence established. A good network will do wonders for your book and career as an author.
Now over to you… what do you wish you’d known before embarking on your publishing journey? And if you’re a newbie author, which of these insights has been most helpful to you? Leave a comment!
Laura Pepper Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book and Fire Up Amazon!
Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she's not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, "yoga-ing" or at a coffee shop in Seattle.