The self-publishing rules
Self-publishing is the buzz word nowadays. When I look at the contacts I have on the various social media platforms I use, one could be led to believe that half the world are now aspiring, budding or indeed self-publishing authors. With so many books being published by so many authors each and every day, I thought it might be about time that I set about explaining the Golden Rules of self-publishing.
Golden Rule Number 1. There are no rules.
Golden Rule Number 2. Refer to Golden Rule Number 1.
This may sound a little like anarchy and in a way it is. Yes, there are terms and conditions to read and understand on every self-publishing platform, but after you comply with these, you are on your own. Just you and your book. The next step is to find some readers. Here again, you are on your own making all the decisions and doing all the hard grunt in promoting your book in literally an ocean full of books.
While for most self-published authors, writing is a hobby, sideline or part-time occupation, in the end, you really do want to make a side income from all your hard work. So yes you need to get to work on social media, websites, blogs, forums, contacting book reviewers and book bloggers and discovering all the other promotional tools that are readily available and work at getting some attention. And sales.
But here’s a tip. Don’t stop writing. Sure, you have a lot of promotional work to do, however, the key to making an income from self-publishing is to have a backlist. In other words, a bundle of titles that will keep selling long after you have published them.
I see a lot of self-published authors flogging their one and only book day in and day out. One book may make some money, but only if you’re lucky. The better approach is to start writing your next book before you have even published your first. The reason? Because the more you write, the better you get. So the chances are that your second book may do a lot better than your first. And your third and fourth. It is logical that the more titles you have, the more books you will sell.
The books I have published are now on what I call ‘set and forget’. Yes, I still do a bit of promotion, but my main focus is on the book I’m writing at present and also, working on the outline for the book to follow that one. At the same time, I published a new novella only a month or so ago, and completed a new edition of one of my older books that needed updating. And while this has been happening, my backlist has been providing my income.
So while there may be no Golden Rules, it is true to say that you certainly won’t ever sell books you haven’t started writing yet.