As this blog is as much my experience as an author as it is about my scifi work GloryEve, I have a great series of tips from M.L. Banner, who i ran into on Hugh Howe’s blog. I intend on posting this little gems more and more as I run up to self publishing Valhalla. Enjoy!
My Top Five Mistakes that you’ll want to avoid:
- Don’t be cheap on editing – I went with the cheapest editor I could find. I just didn’t think anyone would buy my first book and so I didn’t want to invest that much in it. Big mistake! I am quite sure I would have sold thousands more copies of my first book had I not initially published with so many errors. Now I employ an editor and proofreader, and I get help from many wonderful volunteer beta readers.
- Don’t rush your book to the marketplace – Hold off clicking that “publish” button, no matter how tired you are of rereading it. Again, editors and betas can help you with this.
- Don’t think of other authors in your genre as competitors – Quite the opposite. Reach out to other authors, especially those who have had success in your genre. Read their books and post reviews on your platforms and then tell them about it. That’s how relationships start.
- Don’t be cheap on your own platform – Buy a domain and set up a website (you can do so with GoDaddy for less than $100 per year). Then, make sure your site’s focus is on building your subscriber list: These will be your future advanced copy reviewers and fan base that will push your next book onto the Hot New Releases list.
- Keep writing – Your most important activity is to write. Don’t stop. Make it a habit and write every day. Then when it’s ready (see #2), release your next book. Each book you publish (if it gains visibility) lifts the sales of your other books, especially those in the same series.
My top five recommendations to improve your chances of success:
- Take as much time to write your best book possible – I cannot stress enough how important this is. Again, get it right the first time. I lost many potential readers, perhaps permanently because I wasn’t careful with my first book.
- Publish to Kindle Select – I know this is a powder-keg issue right now because you’re reluctant to give into Amazon’s exclusively requirement (even though it’s only for 90 days), but this will absolutely help you in their algorithms and therefore their Best Seller Rankings. Remember, a higher ranking leads to more visibility, which leads to more sales. Married to exclusivity is anxiety over KU, but my KU borrows continue to boost my books’ rankings over those that are not in Select. Certainly if you have a big readership base you’ll need to examine this point more closely. But if you do not have many followers, this action is practically a necessity these days.
- Choose the right sub-genre – For your next book, choose the two sub-genres (fitting to your readership and the book’s storyline), with the lowest number of books in it. Check the bottom 100 of the Hot New Releases (in that sub-genre) and see what it would take to make it there. Use http://kdpcalculator.com/index.php to help you translate Best Seller Rank (BSR#) into the approximate number of daily sales you’ll need.
- First goal: Make the Hot New Releases in at least one sub-genre – To do this, you’ll need to sell a progressive amount for the first five to eight days after launch. In most sub-genres, this is not a big number, but something like one sale the first day and maybe eight sales by the eighth day ought to be more than enough: That’s 42 books total. Do that and you should make it on the Hot New Releases list for your sub-genre(s). Boom, instant visibility! I’ve known other authors who set their book price at $0.99 for the first ten days or so, just to give it the added boost to make the HNR. Once you’re there, you’ll have up to 30 days of best-selling fun ahead of you.
- Use Countdown + promotions to build audience & visibility – With Kindle Select, you can run a Countdown (after your first 30 days) to get your book in front of another group of readers who haven’t tried you out yet. Then run a few promotions during those days. A $100 to $200 budget should be sufficient.