Before I published my book The Island, I knew absolutely nothing about the self-publishing world. I googled and researched everything – and I wound up WAY more confused than I had been before. Formatting, converting your files, choosing to do it on your own or use one of the hundreds of companies who will do it all for you. What the hell is an ISBN and what the F#@K is metadata?
My head was swirling with too much information. (By the way, this is not an informational post – like seriously it took me a week to realize my book was formatted improperly and I had a few spelling errors that snuck through.) (ps, those are fixed)
Here’s what I’ve learned:
Other Indie Authors are helpful and a wealth of information! I’ve found my way into some great groups of Indie’s who share their knowledge, share their experiences and share what has and what has not worked for them.
If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I’d get on Goodreads and find some groups. Learn things before you do it, and find groups that celebrate each other’s successes rather than treat everything like a competition.
It’s endless self-promotion. Like, endless.
You don’t have an agent or a marketing team. You don’t have people working to get your book into the public eye while you get to work on your next book or prepare for book tours. The only way people are going to know about your book at first is through YOU. After you’ve exhausted your friends and family as potential readers; you’ve got to put in the work.
Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Websites….blah blah blah…it’s work!
There are a lot of vulture companies out there. There are tons of websites claiming to get your book in the public eye. All you gotta do is fork over some cash and they’ll Tweet the shit out of your book, or put it on their blog or whatever it is they claim to do. And they will Tweet the shit out of your book – but if you look at their list of followers – it’s almost always just Indie Writers and no actual potential customers.
I get DM’s from tons of these places daily.
Now hey, there are some super legit sights and I’ve used a couple of them with a success. But before I forked over my hard earned money – I consulted with the been there done that’s in my groups and by reading the blogs of successful Indie Writers and what to look out for and how to spot red flags.
If it doesn’t work, try again.
Tags, metadata, blurbs, covers, categories. Promoting, blogging, handing out copies of your book for reviews.
It’s all trial and error. What may seem like the cleverest blurb to you, doesn’t actually draw attention. So you try again.
You hand out twenty free copies of your book, and only get 5 reviews.
No one follows you on Facebook or Goodreads or Twitter.
You buy an ad and no one buys your book.
So fucking what? You keep trying, you keep writing and you keep doing what you’re doing. Why? Because we’re writers. We constantly invent and re-invent and we can do it with ourselves too.