To help celebrate the release of my new eBook 77 Ways to find new readers for your self-published book, (releasing Monday 17th… apparently I love 7s!), I asked several successful indie authors two simple questions:
1. What do you wish you had known when you first started self-publishing?
2. What is ONE thing you have done that brought you more readers?
It’s been really fun to hear their answers, and starting today I’ll be featuring two – three authors a day for the next few weeks. Enjoy!
1. Dina Silver, Author of One Pink Line & Kat Fight
What do you wish you had known when you first started self-publishing?
I wish I’d known that it’s never too early to start promoting yourself, and the importance of creating, not only a buzz about the book, but a network of support prior to a books debut. When I released One Pink Line into the world, I had to work extra hard to get it noticed. It took me months to foster relationships with bloggers, readers and other authors. I didn’t think this was something I could accomplish prior to having the book available, but now I know differently.
Take advantage of every opportunity to create some excitement about your book before it’s published. One great idea would be to start a page on Goodreads for it, and direct people there to read the synopsis and add it to their TBR list. Also, many bloggers schedule their reviews months in advance, so you can contact them and request a future date or possibly send them an ARC. Get involved with the blogs that focus on your book’s genre and reach out to other authors. I have gained an immeasurable wealth of knowledge from other indie authors.
What is ONE thing you have done that brought you more readers?
The ONE thing that brought me the most readers was a sponsored promotion I did with Ereader News Today. For $100, they featured me on their Facebook page, and on their website and I got over 800 sales in one day. Crazy!
The second thing I did was offer my book for $.99 over the 2012 Labor Day weekend, and sold nearly 2,200 books in three days. Please note that, in my opinion, the reason this price worked so well for me was b/c I’d never offered my book at the price before, and I had one hundred 5-star reviews by then, so there was a real perceived value in getting a book with a decent rating for so little.
I wish I knew more about the publishing process, like what actually matters, who to subcontract the work to, and how to publish on Amazon and the other outlets. I signed on with one of those vanity presses, and paid thousands to publish only to discover that I had wasted my money. Why? Because the vanity press charged me for all the things that didn’t matter like uploading to Amazon, marketing “coaching”, print books, etc. But what they really needed to coach me in was that I needed a professional editor, a custom cover, catchy blurb, and good ebook formatting. Besides a great story, those are the most important things every book needs.
The one thing I have done to bring in more readers is simply write more books. Writing the second, third, and my upcoming fourth and fifth books has been the best marketing strategy I’ve used. Besides writing more, it is very important that you nail down your key words, Amazon search terms, book cover and product description. These points are far more important than most writers realize.
Don’t let the excitement of publishing make you miss any steps! I published quickly without a real solid marketing plan, and I do not recommend that to anybody.
Blog tours! Getting reviews and so much exposure in a few short weeks really helped up my sales and get me more publicity.
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.