Self-publishing is the new black. Yes, again.
By Lesley Vos
Back in 2015, writers self-published 727,125 titles, which is a 375% increase since 2010! Last year, 70% of all fiction sales were e-books although print book sales rose 3.3% anyway.
Do you still plan to publish your work and make it a bestseller?
Great! But wait!
With all that huge competition, how are you going to stand out?
That’s the question Amanda has been asking herself since 2014 when she decided to enter the world of literature. Heaving a sigh, she brings her live copy nearer and wonders what should be her next step toward The New York Times bestsellers section. Gone are the days when Amanda sent the copy to dozens of publishers in the vain hope to get her writing talent noticed.
But why? Shouldn’t it be the best strategy for her? After all, previously unknown authors do the same, right?
Today is the zero hour for Amanda: the girl starts playing an all-or-nothing game and decides to follow in the steps of self-published entrepreneurs who self-marketed their bestsellers and succeeded.
What’s their catch? None of them were in a hurry to see their book live but took the following five steps instead:
1. Build a Network
“You have to have fans before you write your book, not after,” says Cary Carbonaro. Such a strategy helped this author reach Amazon #1 bestseller status with the book The Money Queen’s Guide, and that’s what our Amanda starts with: following the 80/20 rule and focusing 80 percent of her effort on promotion and building a network.
She knows that blogging and email marketing for authors are the best ways to engage an audience. So, she sets up a landing page for a future bestseller and uses it to build a list of subscribers as well as her brand awareness and trust. Guest blogging and professional accounts on social media help Amanda get noticed by influencers in the publishing niche and build a network of brand advocates, future promoters of her book.
The trick here is to create a buzz. Make people want to buy your book even if you haven’t finished it yet.
2. Take Care of Copyright Issues
It took months of hard work for Amanda to finish her live copy. It’s a great accomplishment, and yet it doesn’t stroke her ego: the biggest challenge is ahead, which is safeguarding her book before sending it off to the masses.
Amanda knows that the age of self-publishing gives rise to plagiarism. It hurts. Cheaters hardly ever check writing for plagiarism and worry about copyright issues when stealing your work, so get in on Amanda’s act and protect your masterpiece before publishing:
- Register copyright: you can do it with the U.S. Copyright Office.
- Consider licensing: decide on how you want people to use your work and create a corresponding text to reserve all rights.
- Set up monitoring after a book’s release: create Google Alerts for your book’s title as well as its unique passages to detect if anyone else copies.
- Plan enforcement strategy: what will you do against infringements of your work?
3. Don’t Ignore Teamwork
Although a hundred-per-cent introvert, Amanda follows the steps of Jesse Tevelow, author of The Connection Algorithm bestseller, to successfully market her book before publishing: she targets interested people via Facebook groups, finds the most engaged readers on her email list, and gathers a launch team encouraging her marketing efforts.
The ugly truth is that far from everyone who follows your blog will want to buy your book. So, don’t ignore teamwork, find a launch team, ask for support, discuss a marketing campaign in detail, and allow your network to help.
4. Pitch Top-Notch Media
Amanda remembers those fails when she tried to pitch her live copy to publishers. Though many believe it’s the best way to success, it hardly works for fledgeling authors. And if Amanda knew the story of a writer who got feedbacks from publishers 800+ days after she had pitched them (you might want to read The 7 Secrets of the Prolific by Hillary Rettig for more details), she wouldn’t consider this option at all.
But when it comes to media, a good pitch is a must. Media exposure is an integral part of marketing, so don’t be afraid to contact editors who might write about your book in their magazines and, therefore, help to promote it.
While pitching, make sure you don’t write cold emails as well as “me-mails.” Make the list of media to outreach, learn their content and target audience, build professional relations with their editors, and follow the tips from Gisela Hausmann’s The Effective 157-Word Email to reach them.
Articles on the upcoming bestseller (yours!) from big dogs in the niche is a leap forward for your book.
5. Opt for Self-Publishing
With all the above in mind, Amanda comes to the conclusion that self-publishing is the best option to maintain creativity over her book and make it stand out from the crowd of competitors.
Opting for self-publishing, it’s the author (you!) who chooses a release date of a future bestseller, its price, design, and marketing campaign. The challenge is to get it right.
Does it seem that a traditional publishing model lives out its career? Would you confirm Amanda in her decision to take the above-described steps before self-publishing?
Lesley Vos is a professional web writer specializing in data research, content creation, and distribution. Contributing to publications on writing, digital marketing, and self-development, she works on her e-book, can’t live without books and her fox, and doesn’t miss out on traveling abroad. You can follow Lesley on Twitter.