Sustainable Self-Publishing: Three Essential Tips

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.

However, the first step is to know about your self-publishing platform options. When I started self-publishing back in 2009, along with issuing a print book on Lulu, I released my first novel as a Kindle ebook. Amazon was the only real choice for ebook publishing/distribution at that time. One thing I made sure of before I put my book up on the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform was that my arrangement with Amazon was non-exclusive, i.e., I held onto all my rights and could publish through other means, if I wished. My concern was that I maintain complete control over my content.

These days, you can choose to put your work on KDP exclusively (through KDP Select), take advantage of the promotional tools that come with the deal, and tap into the monetary pool from which Amazon pays authors based on pages read in books in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL).

Amazon is, undeniably, a giant of e-commerce. However, if you don’t want to be completely dependent on them for royalties from book sales, making all your work Amazon-exclusive might not be the best choice. Particularly since Kobo is affiliated with Wal-Mart and is the e-reader of choice in Canada and other countries around the world. And Apple is a strong second to Amazon in ebook sales.

If you do publish on several platforms, you need to be cautious in how you make your work Amazon-exclusive. If a book sells well on Kobo or Apple, only to be removed from distribution there when you go exclusive with Amazon for three months (the minimum time required), it could hamper sales on those platforms.

Regardless of whether you’re currently Amazon-exclusive or not, if you are or hope to be an indie author, you’ll want to hear the three tips in the following video about the benefits of publishing on Kobo and Apple.

And, if you don’t believe me, take it from Joanna Penn! 🙂

PS: For a free round-up of self-publishing platforms and the various formats they support, click here for a free download. I’m creating a series of online courses geared toward writing and self-publishing, without blowing your budget or sacrificing your health and sanity. 🙂 If this interests you, check out the free download!

FYI, I’m no stranger to teaching online courses. I currently teach a course specifically geared toward writing mystery fiction on Udemy. Click here to learn more.

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