Ten things I learned the hard way about ePublishing
About a year ago, a member of my writer’s group ePublished her novel on Amazon and Smashwords. The rest of us, encouraged by her boldness, immediately decided to follow suit. I put my suspense novel, She’s Not There, on Amazon and Smashwords last August. My print copy wasn’t published until recently, following a change in cover art, an author photo shoot, and a professional formatting. I made a lot of mistakes in the process and decided to share a few.
1. Have a polished product BEFORE you upload your manuscript. Readers do notice problems like typos, spelling, grammar, etc. Keep in mind that Amazon and other sites that sell eBooks, let readers inspect a generous sample. A product that screams “amateur” won’t sell books. Don’t be in such a rush to get your book up that you forget to make it your best effort.
2. Hire a professional to format your manuscript. Doing it yourself is not only for those having excellent skills at following directions, but also only for those with supreme patience. Not having either, I’ll never self-format again.
3. If you have questions for Amazon KDP, keep in mind that it takes two or three days to get an answer. So if something gets screwed up in your process, and it will, it won’t get worked out for a day or more.
4. Your book, after uploading, will not be ready for sale instantly on Amazon. It also takes a day or two before it’s ready for sale.
5. eBooks do not sell themselves. Check out the wealth of information available on blogs and writer’s sites that give advice on marketing your book, paying particular attention to writer’s who have had success.
6. Become a social media presence before you publish. Some people make themselves known on every site. I’ve found that to be impractical for me and prefer using only a few and spending more time on them.
7. Buyer beware. Before paying for any service, check out its reputability. There are plenty of scams out there ready to pounce on eager writers.
8. Advertising I have not had good luck with paid advertising. There are many sites out there asking for a “donation” in exchange for promoting your book. While not scams, I have not found them to be good sources for book sales. If they want money, I’d advise avoiding those that don’t have a proven track record.
9. Everyone will get different results from the same marketing method.
I paid for an ad on Goodreads after reading an article by an author thrilled with the results she’d gotten by placing an ad on their site. When I ran one, it did not bring in any sales. It’s possible she paid for a much splashier ad (I bought the cheapest), but the point is that whatever the promo method, results will vary.
10. Keep your expectations low! It takes time and effort to sell eBooks. It won’t happen for you if you put your book up for sale and sit back to wait for results. There is always an element of luck involved, but remember in order to be available for that luck, you have to be there when it strikes. (It’s like that great door prize you can’t win if you aren’t present.) So keep busy with your social presence online, your networking, author interviews and reviews and joining groups where other authors gather. Be ready for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when it appears!
Thank you for following my blog. I'd like to make a disclaimer: I'm neither a professional in the publishing industry or the health care field. My advice to you on writing or dieting is based on my many years of experience agonizing over both!
Till next time,