So I’ve got my book on Amazon. Now what do I do? As idiotic as that may sound, that’s exactly how I felt when I eventually published my book online. Being totally ignorant of the workings of online retailing, I thought that was that, and just let the book sit there, stagnating for a few months.
Sales? Perhaps one step higher than the one labelled ZILCH.
Only to be expected when the book is buried beneath thousands of others! I know that now. I didn’t, then. It never entered my head that I had to actually do things to make my book more visible. I can hear you saying, ‘Which planet has this woman been living on for the past ten years?’ I‘ve since learned of multiple strategies adopted by authors to get their book(s) visible to potential readers – both before and after publication.
I have no intention of talking about them all. I simply want to highlight a few of the ways in which I failed miserably in the art of self-publishing.
Firstly, I failed to get the word out that my book would soon be published on Amazon (preferably several weeks prior to the date). No one outside my close family was aware of my intentions, not even people I knew or formerly worked with. I didn’t see the need. I just imagined that once the book was on Amazon it would be seen, and hopefully sell.
Then I proceeded to make a great bodge of everything else.
I hadn’t tried any kind of advertising for my book. As with everything else, I hadn’t given it a thought. Now I see that there are many places/websites that feature adverts to promote books, both free and paid ones.
Many are designed to advertise particular promotions by the author, including the 5 free days’ promotion with Amazon KDP Select.
But I hadn’t heard of Amazon Select until someone mentioned it to me -by which time my book had been published for almost three months.
So far, I’ve only tried the five free days once, and have mixed feelings about it. My book had plenty of downloads – well, over a thousand between Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. (That sounded a lot to me, but perhaps it wasn’t, comparatively.)
I waited for reviews to start coming in, but none arrived, other than the few I’d specifically requested from known Amazon reviewers or bloggers who offered reviews. I didn’t realise that most readers, no matter how much they enjoyed a book, rarely reviewed. Ah, well . . .
So next time I’m trying the Amazon Countdown Deal to see how that works. I’ve got one booked for the end of November.
I also now know that I should have sent out lots of review requests, not just a few. I suppose I’m just not the pushy type. I haven’t even ‘spread the word’ amongst people I know. More fool you, you would say – and you’d be right. Perhaps I just have too much of the famous ‘British reserve’. But I do realise that I have to buck my ideas up, somehow!
And this is where I am today. I’ve had some excellent reviews from the few reviewers I approached and several on Amazon.co.uk from general readers. Naturally I’m heartened by their favourable ratings and comments.
All I have to do now is find a way of getting more of them.
I’ve recently joined Goodreads, an invaluable site for authors, and I’m enjoying that immensely – except for the fact that it just tempts me to read more books instead of getting on with my own!
I’ve also spent time writing book reviews on Goodreads, which, although enjoyable, is also time consuming – as is writing this blog, which I’m still trying to decide how best to use. As a new blogger, it’s all very much a matter of trial and error, and a lot of patience, I know. Unless a blogger is already a well-known personality, I realise it can take a long time to build up a good following.
In conclusion, I’ve now had advice from a number of sources and read a lot about ebook promotion and advertising. At least I’m a little better informed nowadays. All I have to do now is put some of this new-found knowledge into practice!
I’ll finish with a few interesting quotes about self-publishing:
“The good news about self-publishing is you get to do everything yourself. The bad news about self publishing is you get to do everything yourself.” Lori Lesko
“Anyone who says it’s easy to self-publish a book is either lying or doing a shitty job.” Nan McCarthy
“The best self promotion is your next book. And the book after that and after that …” Bella Andre
I’m working hard on the last quote! This will be the cover of Book 2 of my Sons of Kings trilogy.