Posted on 2012-Dec-17
Perhaps, it is too early to predict what the bestselling eBook authors of 2013 industry would write and succeed. Lessons from this year can create the next-year success formula if authors do their homework and figure out what the right direction for them will be. 2012 has seen a more open platform for self-publishers to get into the business to make a decent fortune for their career. Kobo Writing Life, Amazon KDP, and Apple’s iBooks are the stepping stones that expose them to the world audience. Commercial success guarantees their further stability in the business especially if compared to the traditional system wherein publishers keep a tight rein in their creativity and writer is just a puppet typewriter who earns an unfair share of monetary income.
E. L. James, Amanda Hocking, and J. A. Konrath carry the torch for others to follow their independent trace to successful discoverability, but they are one of the chosen few who were referenced in The Times Colonist yesterday. The truth is that competition is fiercer for independent authors to compete. To go on an unconventional self-publishing route, you might want to consider several options to establish yourself before marching right into the eBook marketplace.
Marketing vs. Writing
There is always a dividing line between marketing and writing. If you write successfully in a stream-of-consciousness manner, you take the risk of losing your audience with your overflowing abundance of word creation. The advantage is that your ideas are ironed out freely for quality revision. As opposed to the idea of free expression, marketing governs the thought process and draws the rough overall picture how you can make a living out of your passion. To write a book that a few people want might lead you down the road of despair and disappointment with no reward relieving your tiresome hours. Self-published Guy Kawasaki advises authors to prioritize marketing before you go too deep into the writing process.
Putting your book on Amazon will not help directly boost your sales records. Extra promotional effort is a must to make sure that your sales will continue to rise. Spreading the good words among the writer’s community will leave the impression for those who share the same passion and they are highly likely to get back to you with valuable feedback for your future improvement or wider distributing channel. Free offer on eRetailers and book recommendation sites can drive readers to buy your books quicker. By fostering your relationship with certain readers and authors, you can combine a list of potential customers or a peer reviewer to be a part of your extensive network.
What is the definition of “a great book” in your mind? According to Libby Johnson McKee, director of Kindle Direct Publishing, a not-so-great book does not sell. Do you think your books that did not sell very well aren’t great? The judging criteria are entirely yours. Perhaps, you did not get enough promotion on social media channels; your website was not set up correctly leaving missing links and dead redirection to error pages; your Amazon author page showed zero information about your photo and the inspiring message why you turn to writing. These might be little things that upstage your eagerness to sell your story. Mark Lefebvre, director of self-publishing and author relations at Kobo, stresses the importance of genre-specific writing that appeals to your particular audience. “Not every book is for everyone,” he claims. If you are a sci-fi author who wants to switch your genre to the currently trending romance, can you convince your fans to follow your story; what will be some of the great moments that make your book great and sellable; if compared to the existing romance books, how can your book compete with their storytelling technique?
After a book is written, reviewing and editing become crucial tools to refine your writing before your book is officially launched in the market. Kawasaki’s A.P.E. (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book) books are sent to about 1,000 people just to get the review prior to self-publishing. It only took him 3 days to earn the rave 135 reviews when the book was on sale. McKee differentiates writing skill from copyediting and proofreading. He suggests that you should seek an editor who is willing to offer affordable services.
Availability and Pricing Strategy
A single ecosystem on one platform is inadequate to reach your global audience. Make sure you prepare your books to be sold in several sites and read on many devices to match the various standards of handheld eReaders. Providing useful metadata can help boost SEO optimization to be found in search results and increase the discoverable rate. The Kobo executive also highlights the importance of cover design to appeal to readers since it is the first entrance that pretty much connotes your selling point. There is a good advice in terms of pricing strategy from McKee. Although discount in the initial period of promotion is a good start to compete with the majority, unchanged price tags might rub salt to your unprofitable wound. It might be reasonable to raise the low-ball price of $0.99 a little higher to earn extra benefits from your hard work. At one point, you might want to ask yourself whether you want to sell more books or make more money out of them. Perhaps, your answer lies in the message of each book.
Social Connectivity and Reading Fluency
Unlike the classical portrait of what writers are expected to become—a mysterious legend that lives in isolation and writes one masterpiece a year—author 2.0 needs to mobilize their social media effort to remain visible and accessible for public. Authors are forcibly expected to launch new titles consistently to live up to the challenges full of emerging new titles. Romance novel readers are believed to read up to 10 books a week, according to McKee. Her calculation is not far from what readers are practically capable of reaching. They definitely will not wait to be a loyal customer for your creativity alone if other alternative source of pleasure is available.
At the end of each day, the labor-intensive work might sound larger than life for you to adjust. You might face uphill climbs to let you down: a power outage that erases most of your writing, writer’s block that prevents you from hitting the smiling emoticon to share your bad day with your followers on Twitter, the surmounting bills that require your administrative skill to carefully manage your bank account, or the sales statistic pressure that does not leave you comfortable enough to think about the next project. No matter how many bad instants that wear you out, bear in mind that you are not alone in the universe and seek first-hand advice from the successful entrepreneurs in their rights. While James is outspoken about her promotional efforts even in her blog, Hocking and Konrath are never shy from expressing their publishing tips. I should have pointed out to you that an interview with Guy Kawasaki on Konrath’s blog has generated more than 60 comments with thought-provoking debate over what authors should focus: marketing or writing.
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