If you’ve joined the self-publishing Kindle, Amazon, Smashwords author frenzy and you think the road ahead is paved with gold, money and unending wealth, do not pass go and head directly back to your day job. There are just so many writers, almost writers and hardly writers at all now all clamouring for every reader’s $0.99. Unless you have written something exceptionally brilliant or tapped into a very hot niche, you’re just one in a million trying to be noticed. So time to get real.
Writing a book is about passion and wanting desperately to tell your story, not about money. However, don’t stop writing, just forget about the fame and fortune bit; for now. If your story is well written, well edited, has a great cover, is brilliantly promoted and marketed and is exactly what readers are looking for, it will stand half a chance, otherwise just be thrilled with your achievement.
The book market is subjective and fickle. From my own experience, my favourite couple of books that I have written have been average sellers, while others I am not so in love with have sold very well. It’s a lottery when you place your books into the market. At the end of the day though, you’re a writer because you want to be read. So how do you get read?
In my mind there are three factors. Price, price and great marketing.
A free book is a great way to introduce readers to your work. When I published Vandalism of Words, which is quite simply a compendium of about 140 of my (better) blog posts, I expected to sell (read give away) a few hundred copies. Well, after selling and giving away 1,000’s upon 1,000’s of copies it has become the the absolute best way to introduce readers to my writing. Yes, for free.
Then for the rest of my books, I have experimented with pricing. For paperbacks it is relatively easy. Stay below $16.00 and you have a good chance of selling some books. Ebooks though are more complicated. From the standard $0.99 Amazon model, then over the Amazon enforced price void to $2.99 and above. After a lot of trial, error and experimenting my advice is – it really doesn’t matter. Oddly enough it manages to even out. I sell more books at $0.99 obviously, and less at a higher price. In the end my monthly royalties remain about the same. So clearly the $0.99 pricing strategy will bring you more readers.
But even at $0.99 you still have to promote, promote, promote to keep your head above the pack.There are many free options available but the standouts for free marketing are Freado and Goodreads. For a few dollars you can get more focused marketing on sites such as Whizbuzz.
So good luck with making your book a bestseller. But in the meantime keep writing for the love of it.