Practical Advice for Self-Publishers--Increase Your Odds of Selling

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jmichaelfavreau

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So much good advice in this thread. I have found more success with Twitter then a blog. As I am writing books, writing a blog has been counter-productive and I just don't put the thought into it I should be. While I still post blog posts, most of my social media presence is in Twitter and to a lesser extent Facebook. Quick tweets, which usually have nothing to do with writing, let a lone my book, have generated a slightly bigger audience.
 

MartinP

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Great advice here thanks.
For my two'penneth, I recently had one of those 'lightbulb' moments (I don't have many) - when thinking up a non-fiction book idea, some people go: 'I know, I'll write about x' - they then throw themselves into the project, write an absolute masterpiece and then wonder why it's not flying off the shelves.
Often the painful truth is, the topic (and more especially the title) is just not being actively searched for by more than a handful of people either on Google or on Amazon!
I know, I've been there! So now, I ALWWAYS make sure I use the Google Keyword Planner to ensure there's enough monthly traffic and that I have a 'high-value' title from it!

Just thought I'd throw that in! ;-)
 

Skabr

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Wow! I'm hoping to integrate these tips into my next self-published book. But do these help even self published short-stories? Because that's what I'm writing most of the time.
 

LSMay

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I'm just going to say this because it's been bugging me: if you are going to post in a forum/discussion board (e.g. Goodreads) that your book is on sale, at least also post the cover and blurb.
I'm not convinced a post like that has any real influence on sales - might depend where exactly it's posted - but I'm not going to go and search out your book to figure out if I'm going to like it because it happens to be 99c for a day. Give me something to interest me in it.
 

Punkin

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Let's get real: Most of the "self-publishing" vendors out there, aren't "publishers" at all. They're book printers. This is neither good or bad, but you should be realistic in your expectations.
 

CaoPaux

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Actually, a printer's precisely the sort of vendor a self-publisher wants. Do you mean instead to warn folks away from the vanity outfits which pose as self-publishing services?
 

Punkin

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No, Cao. I'm saying that a writer should manage her expectations. Don't suppose that you're getting "published," when you're only getting printed. Thousands of people out there want to sue their "publisher," because they assumed they would get much more.
 

CaoPaux

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I think there's a couple issues being conflated here, but, yes, self-publishers should be aware of the limitations of whatever service(s) they use.
 

Ferrenzig

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Wow! I'm hoping to integrate these tips into my next self-published book. But do these help even self published short-stories? Because that's what I'm writing most of the time.

A quick check on Amazon shows me there are over 200k other publications listed as short stories to compete against. However, (depending on the length of your stories) Flash Fiction has fewer than 4k books listed in that category.

It's a lot easier to get noticed if you can get your work into smaller categories.
 

Travelermom

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Thanks for the heads up about Google Keyword Planner. I hadn't heard about it before today. I'm just finishing my novel and think that self-publishing is the way to go. All advice is appreciated.
 

Honalo

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Unfortunately, self-publishing has received a bad rap because many people who self-publish, quite frankly, don't put in the work. They finish a first draft, get a mediocre cover, hit send, and their POD book is out there. Not well edited or proofed or well-designed. Either because they can't afford to go up a level from POD or are so new to the writing/publishing industry that they don't understand how to really craft a book. A good editor is always necessary to take the project up a level. It's not easy, but my feeling is, if you're going to take the time to write a book, take the next step and have it well-edited. I think the end result is always worth it.
 

ecerberus

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Awesome thread, really valuable stuff for those considering self publish (I know I am)
 

J.T. Marsh

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This may not be a groundbreaking observation, but in my experience price has little impact on sales, within a certain range of course. There's always the temptation to lower the price of novels to 99 cents in the hopes of spurring an increase in sales, but that doesn't happen, or if it does it's minimal. I'll price short books of poetry (less than or around 25-30 pages) at 99 cents regularly, but never full-length novels. When you price full-length novels (and other proper books) at such a low price, you're only hurting the other struggling authors by helping to create the expectation that an ebook should be 99 cents as the standard price.
 

TheListener

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I just finished reading the majority of the posts and there is a lot of great ideas and advice in here. What I want to know now is if this is all still relevant 2-6 years later? Things change and marketing sure changes. Are there any updates on how to sell or something new that is working for anyone else? Is there another thread with more updated info? Thanks if anyone can answer this.
 

Woollybear

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Also on the covers, remember that your discoverability is not the 1600-2500 pixel cover you get from the artist. What sells is the 160 pixel high postage stamp people see in the search results and the even smaller also bought. Cover art and even title choice needs to grab the eye at that tiny resolution. That means a relatively simple picture and a high contrast easy to read and probably short title.

I suspect this is why so many of the New Adult bestsellers have these one or two word titles done in a geometric font. Part of that is branding, but I think it's also about literal visibilty among the results.

Also, a good blurb won't just catch the reader's attention, it'll also provide a bunch of keywords to the search engine. If the book doesn't have a really grabbing first page, then find an excerpt that will grab the reader and stick it in the blurb.

Genre counts for a lot. Mass market genres like action adventure and romance. The stuff that used to be in 30s pulp magazines then in 50s pulp paperbacks is what seems to sell the best.

This all seems really valuable and I am curious if it still holds in 2019. ?
 

thewonder

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I feel lost within a sea of information, here, and am rather unsure as to where to go for good advice.

I'm looking to print a booklet to be released with a cassette on bandcamp of only five poems, around twenty-two minutes in length, which, I think, should only amount to around ten to fifteen pages. I was thinking of just having a deep sea blue cover with the title written in white on the spine, a bit of information in the opening pages, table of contents, and, of course, the poems, and, so, it wouldn't seem to be a very complex printing job. I'll have to find something that is extraordinarily affordable, however.

I'm also looking to arrange between twenty and forty-five poems in a book to shop around to some local booksellers, and, so, am looking for all kinds of advice in those regards. I'm not really looking to break out in any immediate future. I've just had these poems for a long time, would like to somehow share them, and want to be able to read them in a printed and published booklet.
 

lizmonster

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I'm also looking to arrange between twenty and forty-five poems in a book to shop around to some local booksellers, and, so, am looking for all kinds of advice in those regards. I'm not really looking to break out in any immediate future. I've just had these poems for a long time, would like to somehow share them, and want to be able to read them in a printed and published booklet.

Print distribution for self-published work is extremely difficult. For what you're talking about, it's my understanding you'd want to approach the management of each bookstore and ask if they'd take copies on consignment. Sometimes indies will have local author sections; AFAIK they're more likely to be flexible than a chain store.

If all you want from this is a bound copy for your own satisfaction, there are places like Blurb that can bind whatever you like. I've got a number of volumes from them, and am pretty satisfied with the quality. IMHO, though, their prices are too high to make them a good choice for bulk printing.

The volume in self-publishing comes from ebooks, largely Amazon. That doesn't mean you have to deal with either, but that's the current reality of the market.
 
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thewonder

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Print distribution for self-published work is extremely difficult. For what you're talking about, it's my understanding you'd want to approach the management of each bookstore and ask if they'd take copies on consignment. Sometimes indies will have local author sections; AFAIK they're more likely to be flexible than a chain store.
I plan on exclusively approaching independent bookstores, as they are my only hope of selling this, who, to my estimation, all have local author sections, usually at the front desk, as I'm only really looking to share this with myself and the local art scene here, and, so, I'm mostly just looking for advice on how to curate a book, format it, and get it printed at a relatively low cost.
 

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