I’m supposed to be writing right now, but all I can think is zzzzzzz…. I went swimming today and am plumb tuckered.
Oh, I know! Here’s a semi-educational email I wrote today to a friend. It never fails to amaze me, the things I find tucked away in my brain. When I was a kid, my favorite thing to do was empty out my pockets and see what treasures I’d collected over the course of the day. When people ask me questions and I actually have answers, it’s the same feeling, hahaha.
Would you recommend any particular self-publishing service?
I recommend Smashwords… it’s the only publishing service I know, though. It’s free and they distribute it to lots of other platforms. You’ll have to go through your book and do a fair amount of work to make sure it meets their epub formatting guidelines. They give you lots of advice on how to do that properly. Even though it distributes to about 30 small mysterious websites I’ve never heard of, the only place where I’ve sold books are the Smashwords site, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, and iBooks. I had to sign my book up for Kindle separately from Smashwords, though. For some reason they didn’t have that one as a distributor.
If you’re serious about this you’ll want to investigate the pros and cons of some other sites. I’ve never done that so…
I had to break a few hearts and lose a couple potential readers because I didn’t have a print version of the book. Maybe one day… but right now it’d just be a fiscal calamity. There might be some bind-on-demand kind of places but I really haven’t looked into that, either.
What, if anything, can I do to promote a book?
Make sure you have a fantastic cover, and a really good micropitch to draw them in. You can pull views to the publishing page, but this is where they’ll get asked for money, and have to actually make their decision. Be careful not to mislead them in any way about the nature of the book; if you draw the wrong kind of audience who are expecting something else, they’ll hate your book no matter how good it is.
YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE. If you want to actually make money, you’re going to have to put in lots of man-hours. Touch as many people as you can with the links. Put links to the book in your email signature, sign off your online comments and posts with it. Find websites with likely readership and mention your work there. If you have a fearless and winning personality, you could take advantage of local opportunities, too. Little writer’s conventions and clubs abound. You could contact some bookstores or libraries and ask if they want a copy, or if you can do a reading in a coffee shop. Set up a stand on the sidewalk. Pass out business cards. Leave flyers on bulletin boards. Really maximize your efforts by finding the haunts of your niche audience and appealing to them there.
Eliminate obstacles for potential readers. Make your websites, links, etc VERY clear. Think in this way: you want the LEAST amount of clicks necessary for them to get to your book.
Build up suspense and momentum with a promised release date. Get as many people excited about this as you can, maybe build an email list or webpage for it. I failed at this when I tried to do it, but they say it makes a difference.
One thing I want for me is to get a couple more books up there. The more books you have, the more of an audience you’ll get, right? I read about this one girl who had a big string of 20 vampire novels she’d written for fun. She self-published them and people got addicted. If they bought one, they got addicted and bought a bunch more. She made a killing. Of course that’s a crazy popular genre anyway, or at least it was at the time.
Um… that’s about all I know for sure in this area. Marketing is where I’m failing right now, because I’m so damn lazy.
Social media is a big deal for a reason. Big possibilities for promotion with that. Big… possibilities. Go investigate. I don’t really know. You can use FB, Twitter, Youtube, Reddit, WordPress, Instagram, Pinterest, Patreon, Kickstarter, Ko-Fi, etc all to great effect if you apply different principles to each one (I recommend you look up and check out each one of these if you haven’t investigated them before). Once again, this requires a time investment and I’m not sure about the exact application for each, because I don’t want that much shit in my life right now.
Is there some level of sales that I can reasonably expect?
Once again… you get what you give.
Honestly, I wouldn’t expect a whole lot. Unless you put in all that consistent work to promote it.
I put my book up on March 2016. I’ve sold a grand total of… drumroll… 29 books. I’ve had 102 sample downloads, so that’s actually a pretty good (almost 1/3) view-to-purchase ratio, and I’m proud. Like I said… not doing a great job of marketing this book.
From your personal network of friends, family, and blog audience, I’d expect maybe 5% to buy. Email lists are supposed to be a great resource. If you send an email blast to your blog email followers, and the book is written in the genre they expect (i.e. just like your blog), then a slightly higher percentage from there will buy.
Please don’t force anyone to read it. You’ll just upset them and get weird feedback.
The end, goodnight.