6 Things I Didn’t Know About Indie Publishing When I First Started (Pt.2)

If You Make Back The Cost You Put Into Publishing, It’s A Success! – I know this might make some people groan, but honestly, the feeling you get when you’re able to make back the money you put into publishing your own book is amazing! I think any artist can relate to this. Making a few hundred dollars on your own work without a marketing and distribution team is no small feat.

More Social Media Followers Do Not Guarantee Book Sales – I remember the year when my modest little Twitter account went from 400 to over 2,000 followers. It seemed to boom within only a few months. In my excitement, I figured a lot of them would want to buy my newest book when it was published. Lo and behold, a handful of those followers were interested and bought it. It makes sense to think that the more followers you have, the more books you’ll sell when you promote them. This can be true if most of your followers are book lovers and/or fans of your work, but if they’re following you for other reasons, you’re not likely going to sell that much. You have to get the *right* followers, not *more* followers. How do you find people who will want to click on those book links and buy what you’ve written? Erm, it takes a combination of good marketing ideas and targeting them to the right people. I’m still learning how to fine tune that.

Book Blog Tours Are Important – At first glance, book blog tours can seem a bit gawdy or extra. One reason why I recommend investing in a book blog tour is it will connect you with more serious readers. Book bloggers attract those who love reading; some of them have thousands of subscribers. That’s where you want your books to appear! There’s different packages you can buy for a book blog tour, including book blitzes, book release promos, author interviews, and of course, reviews of your book. These do cost money – you’re placing your book on a platform where people love reading and discovering new authors, so I’d say it’s money worth spending. Many authors have told me that this was one of the ways they made back the costs they put into self publishing.

Many Successful Indie Authors Do More Than Just Write Books – I’ve paid attention to the indie authors who have been able to switch to writing full time (This isn’t a jump I’d recommend taking until you’ve had months of stable, successful income from writing). While some make a living off their books alone, they usually do other gigs such as offering writing courses, freelance writing, affiliate marketing, etc. I still think it’s cool that they’re able to make a living through unconventional means. That said, many successful indie authors still work full time at a day job and they’re perfectly happy doing both!

Success Isn’t Always Monetary – When I first started writing, I imagined myself becoming a full time author within a few years. *giggles* People have different definitions of success. For many, financial freedom/stability is success. For others, it’s a mix of different things – sufficient income, contentment, time to enjoy things you love doing, good health, living close to nature, etc. If you’ve published a book and had one person truly enjoy it, I say that’s a success, too. If someone reviewed your book on Amazon, that’s even more success! Celebrate your small victories so that the bigger ones will arrive eventually.

Giving Away *Free* Books May Not Get You More Reviews – There’s an indie book marketing strategy I read about years ago that said giving away *free* copies of your book can help improve its Amazon rating. More downloads = better rating. During December, I had an e-book freebie every week. People downloaded hundreds of copies of my books for free. Yes, I did that! Though I was happy to give the gift of fiction during the crazy year that was 2020, I hoped to get some book reviews in return. Maybe the types of people who accept free books will collect hundreds of free books, so most of these stories are stored away in a Kindle app never to be read. *sad violin music* While giving is a wonderful thing and it should be encouraged, be aware that free book promotions might not improve your book’s rating or get you the free reviews you hoped for. However, offering free books in exchange for an honest review might be the way to go. It’s more of an exchange than a free giveaway, which means you’ll probably attract a more interested reader.

That’s my two cents (Er, I mean my $2.99). I hope you found these last two posts helpful about what I’ve learned so far on my indie publishing journey. Do you have anything you’d like to share about your own personal indie publishing journey? I’d love to read about it!

(Photo by Gabriela Pereira from Pexels)

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