Over the past few months, I’ve been getting more “help me!” messages from self-publishing authors than before.
One author was upset because her Kindle Direct Publishing income dropped precipitously. Family members had been ill, and what with one thing and another, she hadn’t released a new novel in months.
In her case, the solution was easy. Write something new, and publish it.
The cost of Facebook advertising is increasing. Some authors can no longer afford to advertise there, so their incomes dwindle. I’ve suggested blogging to these authors. Blogging is cheap advertising.
Self-publishing challenges yes, but authors are still doing very well
In October, the latest Amazon kerfuffle hit, with some books no longer being visible to buyers in certain countries. Fingers crossed, that little disaster seems over, but if you’re a betting person, you can bet that another Amazon disaster for authors is in the cards.
However, it needs to be said that as a group, self-publishing authors are doing well.
So, let’s look at some self-publishing tips which will ensure that you continue thrive in 2019 and beyond.
If you’ve been hit by a disaster, these tips will help you, too.
1. Be where readers are, and beware of Amazon’s walled garden
We’ve discussed Facebook’s walled garden, and it’s worth remembering that Amazon is a walled garden too. So when you rely solely on Amazon for sales, you’re living dangerously.
From Kris Rusch’s Business Musings: Your Basket is Leaking:
(KDP) Select writers saw their sales damaged due to a change in Amazon policy, a change Amazon had not been transparent about (to readers or writers). Since the change happened behind the scenes, it took more than a month for writers to learn what was happening.
I’ve been suggesting that you avoid using KDP Select for all your books for a long time. Yes, Amazon has the most readers, but go where readers are, and publish wherever you can.
2. Be brave: test genres/ categories with short ebooks
As with relying solely on Amazon for sales, relying solely on one genre/ category for sales is equally challenging. Readers’ tastes change.
Genres (fiction) and categories (nonfiction) are hot one year, and unfashionable the next.
Also, consider that in the big genres like romance, and in categories like self-help, you’re competing against authors who think nothing of spending thousands of dollars a month on advertising.
Even if you can afford to spend big on advertising, test out smaller genres — or create your own genre/ category and test it with a small ebook.
Our new program can help:
Need a quick influx of cash? Create an ebook, and sell it on your website, or on your own online store.
I’ve coached several authors who were doing very well in a genre, until suddenly they weren’t. Keep testing new genres, and if you’re writing nonfiction, test new-to-you categories.
3. Be aware of the symptoms of burnout, and renew your creative energy
You’re creative. And your creative energy can fizzle.
If suddenly you’re finding that you must force yourself to write, and find writing more stressful than it used to be, be aware that you can run out of creative energy if you don’t keep renewing that energy.
I’ve burned out a couple of times over the years, and it wasn’t pleasant. These days, if I don’t feel in the mood to write, or think “meh, who cares” about one of my projects, I take steps to see what’s happening.
My own episodes of burnout started when I ignored my instinctive resistance, and forced myself to write anyway. Looking back, it was like someone with a broken leg forcing themselves to walk — not wise, and you do yourself more damage than you’ve already done.
If you’re feeling overly stressed:
- Take a few days off. Do a digital detox. No computer for three days; or…
- Journal. Ask yourself what the problem is. You’ll get an answer; or…
- Follow our second tip — write something in a genre or category that’s new to you. You can write a short story or short nonfiction ebook in eight hours or less;
- Vital when you feel blah: get a creative hobby. Spend a few minutes a day gardening, or get out your camera and take some photos, just for the heck of it.
In summary, self-publishing disasters happen. Be prepared.
If you get hit, pick yourself up. The disaster will pass. Take action to protect yourself, and find yourself a creative hobby too. Most importantly of all: have fun. 🙂
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