Ebooks are the cheapest, easiest and most logical way for self-published authors to distribute and sell their work these days.
I’m going to talk a little bit about the different platforms on which you can publish ebooks, because if you’re an indie author, you’ll want to know about how to publish ebooks. Ebooks are the easiest, cheapest way to get your work out there.
Self-publishing is not a complicated business. But, at the end of the day, it is a business. As such, it should be handled in a businesslike manner. Part of that is creating a name for your publishing company. And you should set up your own publishing company.
Every time I turn around, marketing advice pops up. It emphasizes the importance of SEO, aka, search engine optimization. And, apparently, if you don’t know it,
you’re screwed you’ll never succeed as a marketer.
So, now, in order to succeed as a writer, apparently we must be concerned about SEO marketing. At least, enough to know the basics.
I’ve been self-publishing my books since 2009 and a lot has changed since then. Even so, it doesn’t take a tech genius to self-publish one’s work.
The more difficult part is developing a marketing and promotional strategy. However, being a self-published author gives you maximum flexibility, in terms of releasing your work in different media and adapting it as you wish.
There’s also the added benefit of letting you choose what to publish, in terms of content and length. Indie authors don’t have word count requirements or deadlines (other than those that are self-imposed).
For that reason, I’ve started a free tutorial series on YouTube, in which I talk about my own self-publishing journey and provide resources for those of you interested in going indie.
I kick off with one in which I talk about why you should self-publish.
The cheat sheet I mentioned is here.
My Udemy course on mystery writing is half-price until Jan. 31, 2019. Click here to learn more.
And today is Australia Day. So take advantage of the discount prices on Kobo for these books! These bargains run from Jan. 24 to 28, 2019, so it’s part of the Australia Day weekend, I guess! 🙂
The following is something I wrote in 2011, before my first novel had become a New York Times ebook bestseller in March of that year.
It stands as an example of how ebooks completely changed opportunities for authors who chose to go indie rather than wait for the traditional publishing world to notice them.
A lot has changed since this was written, so some of it is almost laughable in its … how should I say it? It’s sheer awe at numbers that others are managing almost routinely these days? Possibly.
In any case, here’s what I wrote:
When I first ventured into fiction writing, convention wisdom was to never self-publish one’s work. This amounted to nothing less than professional suicide. Writers who self-published were looked down upon as poor, pathetic desperate souls who didn’t have the talent or persistence to impress agents and/or publishers (especially the ones in New York, aka, “real ones”).
I followed this advice and ended up signing a contract for a three-book mystery series with a small press, which went under nine months later. My debut novel went out of print. So much for that. But I kept writing and querying agents and small presses, anyway. Over the years, I revised one novel, wrote a sequel and completed two standalone novels. Meanwhile, I still had this out-of-print novel just sitting and burning a hole in my computer. Finally, I took matters into my own hands. I decided I’d flout conventional wisdom and self-publish the book.
As a result, the novel Identity Crisis ended up being published as an ebook in June 2009 and in print in July 2009. If I had known at the time where this was going to lead, I would have been nothing less than astonished. While I anticipated most of my sales would come from print books with some of my income deriving from ebooks, in fact the opposite became true. If anyone had told me I’d sell nearly 13,000 downloads of my first novel by the end of January 2011, I’d have laughed. The simple fact is I did just that. Not only that, but the ebook version of my novel became the #1 hardboiled mystery on Amazon for about a month during 2010.
If you are interested in self-publishing books, the best bet is to publish your work in ebook form. At the time I write this, the market for ebooks represents a small segment of the whole, but has been growing exponentially. In fact, this past Christmas ebook sales reportedly outstripped print book sales. People are saying 2011 could be the big breakout year for ebooks. I’m not much for making (or believing in) predictions. However, I know what I’ve seen. And there are several examples of authors making a living (and a good living, too) by selling ebooks.
Now that’s what I wrote in 2011.
I’m going to share more of this piece, which will be updated to reflect the most current information I’ve managed to learn along the way.
Hell, I’ve only been doing this since 2009. I guess I’ve learned a little something since then. 🙂
And speaking of which, you can see me being interviewed here, back in the day!
One thing led to another, and then there was this! 🙂
To be honest, I didn’t plan to be a self-published author. It’s something I stumbled into after several years of writing novels, seeking a publisher or agent, and being rejected. This was after my first novel was published by a small press that went out of business nine months later. And after I had a stroke that caused me to develop dystonia, a movement disorder that can drain my energy and motivation considerably.
My point is that if you’re going to self-publish, you should go into it fully informed. Self-publishing success doesn’t come from simply putting a book out there and waiting for readers to notice. You have to do some kind of marketing and promotion, if you wish to make a career out of self-publishing your work.
To have a sustainable career as a self-published author, you not only have to put in the time and effort to write your books, but you need to use every available resource to maximum advantage. This means creating a marketing plan. One that squeezes the maximum benefit out of each effort you engage in.
If you’re going to take the indie author route, it’s essential to understand your rights under Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) contract.
When you self-publish your work through KDP, you are signing a contract with Amazon.
As an indie author, I’m a long-time believer in publishing on more than one platform. I’m not only an indie author, but also a strong supporter of indie bookstores. And I own both a Kindle and Kobo ereader (see above).
I’ll explain further in this week’s vlog (below the virtual fold):