Writing the last sentence in your book can leave you feeling victorious. The hard part is over and now it’s time to throw yourself a party, right? Wrong. Writing a book is not the finish line for an author. In fact, it’s almost just the beginning.
The most recent success in the novel world is “50 Shades of Grey.” Author E.L. James used a mixture of old- and new-school techniques to make the book so popular. The book was first available as an eBook (newer technology) and print-on-demand only, but sold through word-of-mouth marketing (a traditional route). Later, Random House came a-knockin’. Before that, though, James pulled her weight as an author and marketing expert. Here’s how she broke the mold of the traditional publishing model.
E.L. James created her own success, and that’s required of authors these days. The self-published success stories you hear of, for the most part, were due to the authors’ stellar marketing efforts involving hard work and some out-of-the-box thinking. Once you get past the tendency to wait endlessly for a traditional publisher to find you, you might actually be able to make some headway. Entrepreneur Seth Godin states it best: “No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.”
But…Where Do I Start?
There are countless tools, websites, communities, events, tricks, and tips authors can use to reach readers and avoid the publishing gatekeeper. You can even sell your eBook through Twitter now with the in-stream payment service Chirpify. Other sites will pay you to share it for free through advertising sharing. If you set out to make money from your writing, you need to be prepared to be as much a marketer as you are a writer.
Being published by a big-name publisher is ideal, but it’s not always possible to pull off. Traditional publishers have to spend a lot to publish and market a book, and therefore can only accept books that fit their model. You might have written the greatest book on Yetis ever, but if they don’t think they can sell enough copies, they’ll reject you.
Do Your Research
Look at Apple’s business model with iTunes. They sell all music to all people. They make more money and provide more value by selling countless tracks of all genres to all fans. The same goes in the publishing world. You might not be the next Stephen King, but there is an audience out there for you.
Just like in all trades, authors need to hone their craft. Publishing eBooks through free sites allows new authors to gain valuable feedback and practice. This can help them improve their skills and final product, leading to a creation that readers will want to invest time – and money – in.
To find the best approach for marketing your writing, consider what your goals are. Some authors are in it for the money. Some are in it to have their stories read, and some are just in it for fun.
If you’re in it for the cold, hard cash and can’t get the backing of a traditional publisher, studies have shown that selling your eBook for $2.99 through various online channels will bring in the most money. If you’re in it for the love of the game, look for popular free eBook sites or thriving writing communities.
Bypassing traditional publishers can help you find your niche audience. You may find that extending the effort to “pick yourself” inevitably gets you closer to your goals. Take advantage of the multiple social media and eBook sites to expand your market while maintaining your (copy)rights.