Promoting self-pub work


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Thread: Promoting self-pub work

  1. #1
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    Promoting self-pub work

    Hello all,
    I curious to know any tips you might have on how to effectively promote self published work (whether hard copies or e-books). Ideally someone would pop in and say "check out this site, pay $5 and you'll be a best seller overnight". Unfortunately I'm realistic. I understand promoting a book is typically what makes it or breaks it so to speak. I also know it's as hard, if not harder, than actually writing a decent book.

    So, any tips would be great. I heard about that girl (her name escapes me) who became a best seller via e-books, I've seen the link posted around here about her own version of how it happened. She said she wrote a few book review websites, does anyone have any good recommendations on sites like that? Again, if someone happens to have the magic "$5 turns you into a best seller overnight" website I'll gladly pay a finders fee in chewing gum and pocket lint.

    Cheers,
    Greak

  2. #2
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    Write a book, preferably a good one, give it a good cover and a good blurb. Upload it to all sites that accept self-published books (or, if it's a short, send it to a few magazines first).

    Write another one.

    And keep going.

    Ultimately, word of mouth sells the majority of books. Reviews and other media exposure help, but the most effective way is to write more and better books until readers can't ignore you any more and start telling their friends that they've got to read your books too. There are way too many self-published authors blasting out twitter posts saying 'buy my book, buy my book!' and way too few working on writing better books.

    And if you spend an hour a day promoting a book, over the course of a year you could have written another one in that time.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by movieman View Post
    Write a book, preferably a good one, give it a good cover and a good blurb. Upload it to all sites that accept self-published books (or, if it's a short, send it to a few magazines first).

    Write another one.

    And keep going.

    Ultimately, word of mouth sells the majority of books. Reviews and other media exposure help, but the most effective way is to write more and better books until readers can't ignore you any more and start telling their friends that they've got to read your books too. There are way too many self-published authors blasting out twitter posts saying 'buy my book, buy my book!' and way too few working on writing better books.

    And if you spend an hour a day promoting a book, over the course of a year you could have written another one in that time.
    Great advice time for me to start working on another one.

  4. #4
    As I understand it, Amanda Hocking went to traditional publishing after becoming a millionaire through self-publishing exactly because of how much work she had to put into self-promotion to make money with her self-pubbed books.

    That's not the only reason she became huge--she writes with extreme speed and quickly built up a list and momentum by always having another book ready to feed the appetites of readers. But she has said on her blog that she accepted the offer from a traditional publisher because she was having to spend so much effort doing things that weren't writing.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by David B. Ramirez View Post
    As I understand it, Amanda Hocking went to traditional publishing after becoming a millionaire through self-publishing exactly because of how much work she had to put into self-promotion to make money with her self-pubbed books.
    If I remember correctly, Hocking sold a million copies of about a dozen books at $0.99, so she would have made about $350,000, or about $30k per book. While I wouldn't turn down $350,000 if someone offered it to me, that's probably less money than an established mid-list writer with a dozen novels in print.

    Also, she was in the right place at the right time with the right books. What worked for her won't work for you today.

  6. #6
    Huh. I thought she had made more than that before she got her big offer. In any case, yeah, she made that money with a huge amount of effort spent on self-promotion.

    Even if you are traditionally published, you still have to spend effort marketing yourself, though probably not quite as much, as there are resources you have access to that you wouldn't on your own.

    There's also diminishing returns on that time spent on marketing. Now, I'm not sure how well this translates to books, but it's kind of eye-opening to me that 1000 Pounds Action Company on youtube with millions of hits (1.5 million just on their Naruto fan film) and thousands upon thousands of likes has only a little over 600 people (including myself) who chipped in to their kickstarter project to do a couple of original pilot episodes. These guys are very good, as good as Hollywood in terms of fight choreography and camera work, they're very popular (thousands lined up to watch their clips at conventions), and yet they are going to fall short of their kickstarter goal of $75,000.

    Literally, less than 2% of the tens of thousands that gave them likes actually put up any amount of money at all. And the percentage is even more disheartening if you look at the number of raw hits they've got.

    It's probable that even having a publicist working on a book full-time, they're not going to get you 20,000 likes on your blog or Facebook page. Moving the needle on your sales depends on a lot of things nobody has any control over--timing, luck... There are substandard books that made a lot of money and great books trapped in obscurity.

    [Edit: according to her wikipedia entry, Hocking made over 2 million dollars from sales in the April 2010 to March 2011 period for the 9 books she had self-published over that time period. From the news article about her, at that time, 4 books were priced at $0.99 and the rest were $2.99. Her St. Martin's Press contract is for 4 books, 2 million, and I don't know how much more they paid to reprint her older books.]
    Last edited by David B. Ramirez; July 25th, 2012 at 06:52 PM.

  7. #7
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    Ah, when I first came across Hocking she seemed to be firmly in the '$0.99 or bust' camp. She must have raised prices on the later ones.

  8. #8
    If I was self-publishing I'd definitely do it that way. Price the first books low, and as my readership increases, increase my prices. Or when I do, who knows--I'm not an extremist, I think both self-pub and trad have their place, and in fact I think maximum income can be achieved by doing both.

  9. #9
    Get more family and friend, they are obligated to buy your book.

    Writing more is probably the best way but that's hard with a real job too.

    Because my book is set in Vancouver, I was going to go to the independant book store there with Lulu printed copies of the book and give them to the book story ower to sell at what price the owner wants if they give it a good spot to sit. Have not done that yet but soon.

    Have fun, Jan

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