The latest revolution in the book publishing industry is the ebook, and it is right up there with the printing press.
Suddenly, you could get any book you want at a lower price and environmentally-friendly format (no paper) any time you want it without leaving the house. Just put in a search and pluck it out from your favorite ebook publisher or seller and start reading.
More importantly, though, any author can self-publish a book without having to go through a traditional publisher and waiting for an acceptance (or rejection) letter. Not only will the readers have a wider breadth of choice of books, but anyone with anything to say has the power to put it out there at anytime.
Sounds great, right? Well…
One thing you have to remember as an author is self-publishing has its downside: you have to market it yourself. You don’t have access to the marketing machinery that established publishers have, and unless you make it as an Editor’s Pick or Bestsellers list, you have to do your own promotion.
Writing a book is easy; publishing it is agonizing.
This is something many published authors know. Your book is your baby; it is a part of yourself that you’ve put out there for other people to see, and you only want praises and acknowledgement, and of course, sales! That doesn’t always happen. In fact, according to this article, only 40 of the hundreds of thousands of self-published authors on Amazon actually make a lot of money!
If you have invested a lot of time and care on a book and nobody seems to care about it outside your own social circle, then it is a big blow to the ego, so you stop writing. However, that’s not the way to go. Many successful authors were rejected multiple times before they got their big break, and in many cases they eventually became successful because they failed so many times. Here is how they got readers to care about their books.
Know where your target reader is.
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Ironically, one of the biggest problems for self-published authors is making people aware that there is a book out there they would love to read if they could only find it. A good way to do this is to put it where your target reader has a good chance of finding it.
Sounds easy, huh?
Well, not really. There are many options out there for self-publishing and promotion, but not all will be appropriate for your target reader. Before you even publish, you have to do some research to identify your target reader, also known as readers that would like your book. Who are they? If you know who they are in terms of demographics, then you will be able to pinpoint where they are, such as where they go to find new books to read, or which social media platform they are likely to be active. When you know your target reader, you know where you have a better chance of getting their attention and promoting your book.
Write for your reader
If you have done your research on your target reader, then you should realize that promoting your book in the right places is not enough to get them to care. Sure, they’ll see it, but does it resonate with them? Before you publish, look over what you’ve written from the perspective of your target reader, and ask yourself, “if I were them, will I keep on reading?” If you hesitate to answer even an iota of a second, then you’re headed for a major rewrite.
Use the right category
Amazon is the biggest platform for self-published books, so that’s where most people go to find new books.
However, since there are millions of books on Amazon, you need to be very specific about choosing the categories for your book. Avoid choosing a broad category such as “Romance” or “Mysteries,” but drill down to the less crowded sub-categories that describes your book to a T.
If you have a niche audience, they are most likely to zero in on these specific categories rather than combing through a ton of books under a broader category they don’t want. Choosing a specific category will also more likely get you featured, at least in the “New.”
Write compelling copy
A common mistake of many self-published authors is giving too little attention to crafting their product description. You may have the best book ever written, but it won’t matter if you don’t catch the interest of your audience. For that, you need the baddest-ass copy you can manage.
Look at it this way. How many times have you, as a reader, based your decision to read a print book by an author you don’t know on the description on the back cover or the flyleaf? Chances are, most of the time.
If the description is intriguing or compelling, then you are more willing to give the new author a try (if the price is right, that is). It is the same way with ebooks. Many online readers will check out the copy (and then the reviews) to decide whether it is worth the $2.99 or whatever you price it at.
An important note on copy: highlight things about the book that addresses what it will do for the reader. Most people will not care about the story unless they can relate to it in some way, and if they can’t relate to anything you say in the copy, then they won’t buy it. For example, if your target reader is a teenage girl, emphasize how the story is about a teenage girl, just like her, on the brink of an exciting adventure. Get them excited into thinking that the story is about them, and you will have a winner.
Give special attention to your cover
If you think you can design your own book cover to cut down your costs, think again.
Book cover design is very important to your sales sheet. It is horribly easy to make a mistake in the cover design that will have a psychological effect on your target reader, and not in a good way. Book covers should elicit a desired response from your audience, and disgust is not usually one of them. A well-designed book cover also shows professionalism and respect for the reader.
In one survey, 79% of people say that the book cover influenced their decision to buy a book. If you are not aware of the principles that go behind good book cover design, then should find a professional designer to do it for you. A great designer will cost you money, but so will a book that doesn’t get sold because it has a terrible cover.
You can write a book that people will care about if you play your cards right. It will take a bit more research and effort than you may have realized at first, but they are certainly worth doing if you want to make it in indie publishing.