The mine field that is self publishing.
I love writing and over the years have written and published two books of short stories and one memoir told through Rina, our miniature poodle’s eyes. The three covers are pictured below. I’ve put in the effort to write, edit, rewrite, develop covers, write the blurb, lay out and publish. I’ve invested tens of thousands of hours, for a tiny return. If you’re receiving this email, you’re probably in that elite group of a few hundred people who have actually bought and read my books. Thank you.
What am I doing wrong?
I expected to sell thousands. I suppose every self published author expects the same. But sales only trickled in and I wondered what I was doing wrong. The answer to this question is simple. I was not marketing my books. Marketing is not my forte, but I have to learn how to do this if I wish to increase sales.
I enrolled in a course called Your first 10,000 readers and plowed my way through the hundreds of hours of modules. I’ve done some of the modules four times, trying to completely understand how to market my books. While doing these modules, I’ve devoured writing blogs and short writing courses. My goal is to relaunch old books and launch new ones. I want initial sales and continuing sales as well.
What I’ve learnt.
- Amazon and other on-line book sellers are not book stores. They are search engines, so I must maximise my books’ exposure on these sites. I need to understand the Amazon book’s algorithm and use it to bring my books to the top of the list in their genres.
- I must understand my target audience and use key words, categories, descriptions, blurbs and book covers that appeal to this target group. You, my friends, are a small percentage of my target audience and you support my writing by buying my books. But I believe my books have a larger target audience. I write fiction and memoirs with gay and lesbian characters, so the largest part of my target audience is the LGBTIQ+ community.
- Series sell better than individual titles. The target audience must see how my books connect to the series title. If they read one book in the series and like it, they are likely to buy the next one. I struggled to see how my books were part of a series, but finally realised the connection between them all. My series is titled, The Search for Unconditional Love and this will appear on the cover of each book. Books do not need to follow on to be part of a series.
- I must build my email list with people who like my writing. I can do this by having a free book on Amazon, and linking it to give aways on my website. By doing this I can collect email addresses and build my list with people who are likely to buy my books.
- I need a dedicated website that is automated to capture email addresses, send out free gifts, and send out relevant emails on a regular basis to ensure I keep my audience engaged. I don’t want them to forget about me. I want them eager to buy my next book when I launch it. My new site will be called, Steve Castley – Author. This site will advertise my new books and have links for sales and a range of promotions.
- Before launching a new book, I must solicit members of my email list to be part of my launch team. They will get a pre-launch copy of my new book and I hope they will then post a review on Amazon on the day of the launch. Over the next year I will publish, Two Poofs and a Poodle, No More Dogs, The Maiden Aunts and Flying Free on Rainbow Wings. Maybe in the future, you will put up your hand to be a part of my team.
What am I doing?
I’m bleeding money, that’s what I’m doing. But the money I’m spending is an investment on future book sales.
- I’ve signed up for a new automated website. This will be finished an another month and that’s when I start to build my email list.
- I am having book covers designed by an expert team at Nerdly. We are back and forthing and I think we’ll agree on the covers soon.
- I’ve written a novella, No More Dogs, that will be given away to email subscribers.
- I’m writing 2 more give-away novellas at the moment. They will also be give-aways to email subscribers.
- I’ve signed up to sites that help me generate key words and categories for my books.
- I’ve contracted a writing coach /editor to push me along.
- I’m writing new books with the same theme of The Search for Unconditional Love.
My end goal.
I’m currently spending a huge amount of each day learning the skills of book marketing. The learning curve is huge, but eventually I’ll fully understand it. I’ll eventually have 10,000 email subscribers and an automated website. When this time comes, I’ll be free to spend most of my days writing new books. The end goal is to have time to write and to also earn money from my books.
Thanks you to each and every one of you. You have bought my books and posted reviews. You have encouraged me and I’ve loved your support. When my new website is completed, you’ll be invited to subscribe to it and receive a free copy of No More Dogs. I hope you sign up. I also hope you’ll sign up to be a part of the launch team for The Maiden Aunts. Thank you.Tags: #Amazonbooks, #balidogs, #emaillists, #selfpublishing, #writing