Self-Publish Your Ebooks: 5 Tips To Get Results

Self-Publish Your Ebooks: 5 Tips To Get Results

Life means change, and if you self-publish your ebooks, you know that the self-publishing marketplace has changed. With four million ebooks on Amazon’s Kindle Store, and thousands of new ebooks published every month, that was bound to happen.

Previously, you could focus on writing, and releasing new titles regularly, and see results. Not today. Moreover, just because a reader downloads your freebie, it doesn’t mean that she/ he will read it, much less buy anything from you.

Now what? Now… you’ll treat self-publishing like the business it is, and you’ll develop a marketing strategy. Today, marketing needs to be front and center of your self-publishing business. It’s no longer optional.

As I pointed out in Indie Author Marketing: 5 Essentials For Profits, you now need to wear two hats, that of author, and publisher:

You’re comfortable wearing your author hat. Toss that hat aside for a moment, and put on your publisher hat.

Hat on? OK.

A publisher’s goal is the same as that of any other business: turn a profit. No profit, no business. So, as a publisher, how do you turn a profit? You’ve got a book, or a bunch of books (a bunch is better)… your sole aim is to sell those suckers.

How to succeed at self-publishing your ebooks

Let’s start by defining “success”. According to Amazon, only 40 self-publishing authors have sold a million copies of their ebooks over the past five years. Selling a million copies is “making money” according to Amazon, and they would know. 🙂

Your definition of success for your own self-publishing venture may be to sell fewer copies than that, or more copies. Many authors make a comfortable living selling far fewer ebooks than 200,000 copies a year.

Whatever your own aspirations, self-publishing has changed, so let’s look at how you can get results in the new publishing climate.

1. Believe in yourself: take marketing seriously — you’re a PUBLISHER now

Start by believing in yourself, and investing in yourself.

From a NYT article, Meredith Wild, a Self-Publisher Making an Imprint:

Ms. Wild’s success wasn’t accidental, but grew out of a meticulously planned marketing campaign. Before the book was even released, she began buying online ads targeting erotic romance readers. Her husband took out 10 credit cards and a personal loan to pay for advertising. They borrowed $70,000 from Mr. Grishman, a former banker who is Ms. Wild’s brother-in-law.

The self-belief challenge is common for most writers. As a tribe, we don’t believe in ourselves. We’re prone to rescue fantasies: we want to be “discovered”. (Sigh.)

Think about ways in which you can market your ebooks. You may not have any money to spend. If you don’t, you’ll need to spend more time on free promotions. And then, once you’re making a little money, spend that money on paid promotions. Every little bit helps.

A word of warning: if you’re NOT making money on free promotions, don’t take a huge financial plunge. Be very sure that your ebooks deserve financial investment.

2. Keep writing — write what sells (do a little marketing and competitor research)

Let’s imagine for a moment that instead of self-publishing, you want to take the traditional route to publishing.

Here’s your process:

  1. Send query letters to agents;
  2. Send proposals (three chapters, an outline, AND a rationale for publishing your book to agents who respond positively;
  3. (After months pass) send the full manuscript to agents who responded positively;
  4. Etc.

Back up for a moment. Did you catch rationale? It’s vital. You need to tell your agent and publisher WHY they should publish your book. And no — they won’t come to any conclusions themselves. You need to make a (GOOD) case for publishing your book.

Making a case includes marketing research and competitor research. You need to show your agent/ publisher that the market needs your book, and that you offer something that competitors do not.

Today, you need to research the marketplace, and competing titles for your self-published titles. You can no longer afford to take the hobbyist (“I’ll write this because I want to write it”) approach. Recall: you’re a PUBLISHER… 🙂

Yes, you’ll still write the books you want to read… BUT you’ll also strive to write books that readers want to read too — and you’ll offer something that your competitors don’t.

3. Think “reach”: investigate ways you can reach more readers

Self-Publish Your Ebooks: 5 Tips To Get Results
Find ways to reach more readers: experiment

No matter what you write, you have, potentially, millions of readers who want to read your book. If they knew it exists.

Traditionally-publishers authors would seem to have an edge here. Their books are in stores all over the planet. (Caveat: only if they’re bestselling authors, mid-list authors now self-publish, because publishers no longer want them.) These authors have reach, because of the deals publishers make with distributors.

Self-publishing authors don’t have that.

You need ways to make sure that news about your book gets in front of as many people as possible. Find ways to make that happen. It’s vital.

4. More reach — go “wide” on some of your titles, create print copies, audio files, and translations

Let’s assume that your marketing budget is miniscule.

How do you extend your reach?

Some methods to try…

a) Haul some of your ebooks out of KDP Select

If you publish exclusively with Amazon, as you must when you enroll a title in Select, you can’t publish elsewhere. Even though your sales may be tiny in the other ebook retailers, publish everywhere you can anyway — it extends your reach.

Tip: don’t haul out all your titles — keep some in Select, for Kindle Unlimited readers to read for free. If nothing else, you get more downloads.

b) Use Createspace or similar Print on Demand to create physical books

Some readers (by some accounts, 36%) are stuck on paper books. So, meet them there. Use Createspace and create physical books.

c) Use other “reach” options

Other options to reach more potential readers include creating audio files of your ebooks, creating translations, and creating copies which you sell on your own website.

Once you start thinking about ways to expand your reach, experiment. The more readers who know of your ebooks the more you will sell.

5. Write more, write harder: write more and better books (and keep expanding your reach)

Finally, write more ebooks.

That’s the classic way to expand your reach: the more ebooks you have for readers to buy — as long as readers hear about your ebooks — the more you will sell.

The marketplace is getting tougher, so toughen up

Every month, more and more ebooks are released. Be aware of that, and tackle the challenge. I know you’re equal to it.

You can self-publish, and get results — I believe in you. Now, start believing in yourself. 🙂

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

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Make Money Writing: 4 Tips To Succeed Today

Make Money Writing: 4 Tips To Succeed Today

If you want to make money writing in 2016, you’re golden. Teenagers are making millions on YouTube and Instagram. As are novelists on Amazon. Hundreds of thousands of bloggers are making six figures… Why NOT you?

I’ll tell you why. You hit the Pause button. You get scared. You listen to naysayers, instead of ignoring them.

Make money writing in 2016: the opportunities have never been greater

I work with writers every day and I adore my students (you’re my people, and you have all the challenges which I had too once upon a time, so I understand.)

Here’s what I know. No matter who you are, or where you’re at in your writing journey, you can do it: you can succeed. Here’s why: today you have endless, unlimited opportunities. You can turn your words into gold.

Let’s look at five tips to help you to make money from your writing today.

1. Write what sells: who’s buying what?

Three words. Everyone is buying.

For example, reports suggest that 80% of businesses will be using content marketing in 2016. That’s amazing. That means out of every 20 businesses in your local industrial park, 16 could become your clients.

The operative word here is “local”. I know, I know. You want to get writing gigs online, and you can. Think about this however: it’s very easy to load a simple presentation onto your iPad or notebook computer, stroll around a local business park, and within a couple of hours, have at least one writing gig.

An overachieving writer managed to get three gigs — and $6,786 in her PayPal account — just in her local city’s business park. Businesses need word slingers.

Do it — go for a little stroll. It works. It’s EASY. If you’re shy, that’s OK. That’s why you have a presentation. 🙂

2. Focus on relationships: people hire and/ or buy from people they know

Tip: remember that your blog is both your calling card, and your writing sample. It’s an introduction to you, which is why you spend your time blogging. (You do blog, don’t you?)

When it comes to selling your writing, consider this. Broadly speaking, your prospective clients fall into two groups. Those who don’t know your name, and those who do. The first group is larger of course, but the second group is profitable.

It’s your goal to convert as many prospects as you can from the first group into the second. Your blog helps you to do that.

Another tip. Print a few articles from your blog. Make 20 copies of each article, and staple your business card to each article. Hand out those articles everywhere you can, to all the business owners you meet. And yes, that includes your hairdresser, your accountant, and the local car wash guy.

Their businesses may be too small to be able to afford you, but they have clients too. One student got a $20,000 ghostwriting gig via her hairdresser after I suggested this tactic.

Print out lots of copies of a couple of your articles today.

3. Think: be YOURSELF and get creative

You’re you. No one else. That means that you’re an original, and you can trade on that. What’s your story? Why are you a writer? What drives you?

Here’s a snippet of my story. I became a copywriter when I discovered that writing copy helped small businesses — I loved doing that. I still do. I like knowing that a press release, or a blog post, or a direct mail letter helps someone to do more business.

I also became a writer because I love to read. I never want to run out of great stuff to read, so once I learned that people wrote books… I decided that that’s what I wanted to do, too.

What do you love? You’re a communicator: you can share what you love. Get creative with it. Maybe you love cooking, or football, or traveling. Write about your loves on your blog. Share images on Instagram or Pinterest.

Thousands of food bloggers cook, and blog about it.

From: Meet the 24-year-old Londoner who’s penned the fastest-selling cookbook on record…

“I couldn’t cook!” she laughs. “But I had read about people who had managed illness through lifestyle and diet and was so inspired… so I decided to start writing the blog to learn to cook and explore this new world of healthy eating.”

4. Scared? That’s great! You will be scared, so do what scares you ANYWAY (tell yourself that you’re not scared, you’re excited)

I’ve often shared the story of writing my first novel. I was terrified. I sat at my IBM Selectric typewriter each day with tears running down my face. Worse — when I mailed the manuscript to my editor in London I had to stop the car to be sick on the side of the road. I was a wreck. 🙂

You can be scared — if you’re doing something that’s important to you, I guarantee that you’ll be scared out of your wits.

Tell yourself that you’re not scared, you’re excited. And do it. Doubtless you won’t be the quivering mess that I was, but even if you are, tell yourself that you will do what scares you. After a while — it may take a while — it won’t scare you at all.

Bonus tip: follow your impulses — you know more than you think you do

When I coach writers, my primary aim is always to help the student to trust himself. That’s a challenge. Writers want rules. Believe this: there are NO rules, there’s only what works.

When you get an impulse to do something or other related to writing, follow that impulse. Years ago, when blogs were relatively new, a writer sold his blogging services on eBay. At that time, no one else had done it. It got a lot of attention.

Please don’t be scared of your own ideas and inspirations. Be open to them, no matter how crazy they seem. Ask yourself: what’s the worst that can happen? Your mad idea may not work. But what if it does?

Have you joined our free writing class?

Our first free writing class is: Write More, Write Well.

Upcoming: focus on fiction.

Fiction is all about EMOTION. We’ll explore that in next week’s lesson. Join us.

Free Writing Class Starting Today

Free Writing Classes

I’m hugely excited about our first free writing class…

Our first free writing class is getting underway

More info on the classes here:

Free writing classes, with free reference material

We’ll work with the writing programs which we’re no longer selling. You’ll download them completely for free, and each week, in the ezine, and here, we’ll create some exercises to help you to get to grips with the material.

In essence: free writing classes, so you can build your skills, make more income, and be a much happier writer.

Consider this. If you learn and USE just one new strategy a week, for  three months, that would make 12 new strategies. Do you think that those 12 would increase your opportunities? I know that they would.

Our first strategy is discovering yourself — how to put yourself into your writing, and write more, more easily. We’ll do that using Authentic Writing: Develop Your Writer’s Voice, And Sell as our reference text.

How the classes work…

You receive the reference text free, and each week you’ll receive one or two free lessons. The lessons are SHORT. You’ll be able to complete each lesson in under half an hour — usually within just a few minutes.

I’ll also be posting ideas, prompts, and inspiration to Instagram.

To receive the lessons, subscribe to the Writing Genii mailing list. I’ll be sending a message to the list later today, with a link to download the reference text, and your first lesson.

Who are the lessons for?

Our first class, Write More, Write Well, is for all writers, whether you write fiction, nonfiction, blog… or write copy… Whatever. You’ll learn strategies to stop procrastinating, and write anything you choose. Maybe for the first time, you’ll take on projects which are out of your comfort zone, so that you can increase your income.

Subscribe now, if you haven’t subscribed already

Here’s the link again.

If you’ve already subscribed you’re golden.

Now sure whether you’re subscribed? I deleted several lists, so you may not be… Subscribe now to make sure.

I’m excited about the classes, and I’m sure that they’ll make a huge difference to your writing career. 🙂