October 30, 2020, 07:56:10 PM

Author Topic: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.  (Read 3538 times)

Offline Skip

Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2020, 05:44:48 PM »
The OP was about how to get back into self-publishing. We're now mostly talking about advertising, but I want to return to the original question and say again: it's easy.

@Eli_Freysson, are you having trouble figuring out how to self-publish? Because that's one set of questions.

If the question is, how do I advertise effectively because I'm already determined to self-publish, that's a different set of questions. And that's different again from "I have N books already offered for sale, how do I increase sales?"

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Offline Skip

Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2020, 06:14:07 PM »
Yeah, FB is another advertising world. I would recommend to anyone getting into advertising that they go with one or the other for a while, until they feel they have a good handle on the choices and methods, along with some sales data from initial ads. Only then try out the other platform. And then look at BookBub and its kindred as a third universe. Eventually you may get to where you can manage all three, or you may decide to go with one and abandon the others.
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Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2020, 07:10:04 PM »
I look forward to reading the best newsletters. I like them. Not the very spammy ones, of course, but the ones that really do entertain, inform, or inspire me. I don't often recommend in the forums, but David Gaughran is one person who I do recommend. I'd recommend signing-up to his newsletter, and sticking with it for three months or so. If you're really allergic to newsletters, it may be hard, but I actually enjoy his emails. Some are selling, of course, but many are not.

A newsletter is about building a relationship with your readers, and it can be fun. His book 'Strangers to Superfans' is excellent.


If I can get away with one newsletter a month, and make it about my approach to writing, my current WIP, an interesting book I just read, a few words about autism, and stuff along those lines, then I can certainly do THAT. But that leaves the question of how I actually get people to sign up for it.


On the topic of social media, it really isn't important for finding new people to read your book. But, it is important as a way to keep in contact with people who have read one of your books. You can use it similar to a newsletter, but for people who'd rather follow you on social media than get email from you.

I do have an author website. It's pretty simple, but it does have all my books, as well as links, and a way to email me. But maybe some quicker, easier options would be a good move.


The OP was about how to get back into self-publishing. We're now mostly talking about advertising, but I want to return to the original question and say again: it's easy.

@Eli_Freysson, are you having trouble figuring out how to self-publish? Because that's one set of questions.

If the question is, how do I advertise effectively because I'm already determined to self-publish, that's a different set of questions. And that's different again from "I have N books already offered for sale, how do I increase sales?"

If you're talking about the basic mechanics of publishing on Amazon, then no, I have that figured out. No problem there. I mean how to actually get sales, because I don't think any of my English-language books have broken 100 sales, aside from free promotions.
I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!

Offline Skip

Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2020, 07:56:28 PM »
You get people to sign up for the newsletter by providing an obvious signup link at your website. You put a CTA (call to action) at the end of every book you publish, directing them to that page. You put a link in your sigfile. Those are the big steps.


Offline Skip

Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2020, 07:59:02 PM »
OK, so it really is about advertising and achieving some sort of sales goal. Do you have a specific goal in mind? As an example, my goal is to break even. That is, to have sales cover the cost of cover art, editing, and advertising. And I guess travel or other appearances costs, though I've not incurred any on that front so far.

That's a high bar for me. I'm very far from wanting to have my writing be my primary income. That bar is so high, it's on another planet.
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Offline Bender

Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2020, 08:10:33 PM »
I'd think getting reviews in popular sites are the key.

Kindle and Goodreads have their own set of top reviewers, who have a large network of their own. Plus other indie authors usually plug books of each other. Ping them and send them ARCs.

Try getting them to review the book and if you get 4 star or above rating and published reviews in GR and Kindle, then it's a start to gain visibility.
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Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2020, 11:29:31 PM »
OK, so it really is about advertising and achieving some sort of sales goal. Do you have a specific goal in mind? As an example, my goal is to break even. That is, to have sales cover the cost of cover art, editing, and advertising. And I guess travel or other appearances costs, though I've not incurred any on that front so far.

I guess what I ultimately want is emotional satisfaction. I want to get a positive reaction from people, and a feeling that I'm creating something worthwhile. I want reviews. But it sure would be nice if it at least earned me a little bit on the side.

I'd think getting reviews in popular sites are the key.

Kindle and Goodreads have their own set of top reviewers, who have a large network of their own.

Do notable reviewers, the kind that readers take note of, bother with unknown indies?

Quote
Try getting them to review the book and if you get 4 star or above rating and published reviews in GR and Kindle, then it's a start to gain visibility.

Of course, reviews are reviews, and having a few ready right on release day would be good. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Offline Skip

Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2020, 03:55:26 AM »
There are also services. You pay them a bit of money, they offer your book to N readers. I've got a few reviews from such a source. The tricky part there isn't so much great versus bad as it is some reviews might be so poorly written that you sort of wish they hadn't posted. Still, having ten reviews is better than zero, and thirty is better than ten.

You can also ask individual reviewers, not only at GR but also at various blogs. It takes a fair amount of research, then time to compose the requests, then more time waiting to see if they get to you (can be months). I've got by that method one good review and one rather critical one. Those are reviews posted at the person's blog, not the ones on Amazon.

To be more succinct, getting reviews is tough, requires patience and persistence.
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Offline Ned Marcus

Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2020, 01:37:17 AM »
I look forward to reading the best newsletters. I like them. Not the very spammy ones, of course, but the ones that really do entertain, inform, or inspire me. I don't often recommend in the forums, but David Gaughran is one person who I do recommend. I'd recommend signing-up to his newsletter, and sticking with it for three months or so. If you're really allergic to newsletters, it may be hard, but I actually enjoy his emails. Some are selling, of course, but many are not.

A newsletter is about building a relationship with your readers, and it can be fun. His book 'Strangers to Superfans' is excellent.


If I can get away with one newsletter a month, and make it about my approach to writing, my current WIP, an interesting book I just read, a few words about autism, and stuff along those lines, then I can certainly do THAT. But that leaves the question of how I actually get people to sign up for it.

This sounds good.

I have an initial autoresponder sequence of four emails introducing my story world and some articles I've written, which goes out automatically to all new subscribers. After that my subscribers receive one to two emails a month. Usually. But I think one a month is fine. It keeps in touch, and when you have a new book release, it helps your readers know about it, and helps you too.

I recommend Mailerlite. They're free up to 1,000 subscribers, and the system's not too hard to understand. They're also fairly helpful if you have a problem.

To get people to sign-up to it is harder, but it will happen organically if you put the sign-up forms at the end of each book, which is where I get my best subscribers from; the ones that open almost every emails and are interested because they already like my books. Also put a sign-up form on your website. This is all you need to do.

There are other ways to get subscribers, but I think the above gets the best quality subscriber. Although all you need to do is put sign-up forms at the back of your books and on your website, if you can also offer something free, it helps. I don't think this is essential, but later on it's worth thinking about. Some people give away free novels, but I don't have enough to do that. Anyone signing-up to my newsletter gets two free stories: a novelette and short story. But if you don't have anything like this, don't let it put you off from starting. If you do, you'll need to sort out a delivery system, and the best ways cost money, but are worth it in my opinion. That's about it.

Offline Magnus Hedén

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Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2020, 09:36:03 AM »
I think an email list is a powerful tool. People who are signed up are (nearly) guaranteed to see your email, which isn't true for any social media or website. It doesn't have to be a newsletter, mind you. I had one for a while but writing things that seemed interesting got to be a bit much. I think I'll restart one whose purpose is simply to be a release radar or somesuch. I'll only use it for "this has been published" and other big news. That way it's not another obligation (I already write an update for my Patreon each month, and if I write blog posts or essays they go on Patreon as well). Personally, any newsletter that's just obviously trying to keep me reminded of the brand's/person's existence with shallow content is an instant unsubscribe for me.

Offline Ned Marcus

Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2020, 01:19:10 PM »
Personally, any newsletter that's just obviously trying to keep me reminded of the brand's/person's existence with shallow content is an instant unsubscribe for me.

Of course.

The thing is to do it with interesting, inspiring, or entertaining content. If you're already writing blog posts, then it probably wouldn't be hard to rework those into your newsletter in a way that's useful to your readers. Not all newsletter subscribers will visit your blog, and vice versa. 

Offline Bender

Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2020, 04:08:17 PM »
Sometimes a freebie or a giveaway might do the trick. Saw ML Wang (Sword of Kaigen) was giving away a katana. Winner will be picked up from those who retweeted her.

It's just a click to retweet so people would do so just like that even for a slim opportunity to win something interesting. A Katana is about $60-70 and even if that generates a couple hundred retweets, it may be worth the price. You can extend the same offer in Facebook (share post) and double the hits.

Adds visibility to both you and your book.   
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Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2020, 04:58:03 PM »
You can also ask individual reviewers, not only at GR but also at various blogs. It takes a fair amount of research, then time to compose the requests, then more time waiting to see if they get to you (can be months). I've got by that method one good review and one rather critical one. Those are reviews posted at the person's blog, not the ones on Amazon.

I am reluctant to return to Goodreads. I find the site itself old-fashioned and awkward to manage, and the self-publishing forums were severely unhelpful due to the mods removing circa half of my threads since I hadn't combed through the archives looking for a question identical to my own.

But yes, I can look into paid review services.



I have an initial autoresponder sequence of four emails introducing my story world and some articles I've written, which goes out automatically to all new subscribers. After that my subscribers receive one to two emails a month. Usually. But I think one a month is fine. It keeps in touch, and when you have a new book release, it helps your readers know about it, and helps you too.

I recommend Mailerlite. They're free up to 1,000 subscribers, and the system's not too hard to understand. They're also fairly helpful if you have a problem.

My next question was going to be about how signing up for these things works. So I can't just set up a signing system using my normal email provider?

The thing is to do it with interesting, inspiring, or entertaining content. If you're already writing blog posts, then it probably wouldn't be hard to rework those into your newsletter in a way that's useful to your readers. Not all newsletter subscribers will visit your blog, and vice versa. 

Oh, I gave up the blogging thing years ago.
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Offline Ned Marcus

Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2020, 02:27:36 AM »

I have an initial autoresponder sequence of four emails introducing my story world and some articles I've written, which goes out automatically to all new subscribers. After that my subscribers receive one to two emails a month. Usually. But I think one a month is fine. It keeps in touch, and when you have a new book release, it helps your readers know about it, and helps you too.

I recommend Mailerlite. They're free up to 1,000 subscribers, and the system's not too hard to understand. They're also fairly helpful if you have a problem.
My next question was going to be about how signing up for these things works. So I can't just set up a signing system using my normal email provider?


I suppose that theoretically you could, but in practice no one does. Dealing with it would be a lot of hassle, and you'd quickly find yourself being blocked by your normal email provider.

You really need to sign-up with an email service provider (ie. a company specialising in this) such as Mailerlite. There are many others, you can search for them. Most start around $20 to $30 a month for up to about 500 subscribers, but the deals vary. Mailerlite is one of the cheaper options that also allows an autoresponder to be set up.

Unfortunately, they all cost money. But if you're adding subscribers organically, then it will take you some time to reach 1,000.

Offline Magnus Hedén

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Re: I want to go back into self-publishing. But I don't know what to do.
« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2020, 08:14:07 AM »
Mailchimp was good when I tried it. Also free up to a certain number of subscribers. I figured once I had that many, I would have no problem paying a bit.