Self Publishing Lesson #1

I don’t know what is worse. Having a book on Amazon that has gone unnoticed for two years, or removing that book and finding the motivation to rewrite it.

That first book was a humorous book about the construction worker’s world. Having lived in that world, I knew my subject. Having been a lifelong humorist I enjoyed finding the humor in people and their activities. It seemed like a perfect match. Maybe I was wrong.

Week after depressing week I would check the sales stats of my book only to see the same line of zeroes on the graph.

Out of desperation, I tried just about everything that the “self-publishing experts” suggested. I tried;

  • Reworking my cover design
  • Renaming the book
  • Changing my book blurb
  • Writing Facebook posts about my book
  • Using Pinterest, Twitter, and a blog to promote my book
  • Hell, I even tried the one-week free promotion

Results = Zero, Frustration = Maximum, Despair = Often off the chart

Now, after weeks of postmortem examination, I have come to a conclusion about my book and self-publishing.

Conclusion #1; Know who you are and what you hope to achieve.

I had to face the reality I am not a social person. I didn’t think it would matter much since a writer is a solitary animal, but it matters… a lot.

If I had a dollar for every social media follower I have I would have to borrow money to go out to dinner. Not a great reality for someone hoping to get their book noticed in an ocean of other books.

I am sure that there are many other writers who feel like I do.
“I did my part and wrote the damned thing. Now your part is, buy the damned thing.”

It’s obvious how well that line of logic worked.

So, if you are a hopeful self-published author, take my advice. Before you even think about hitting the publish button;

  • Be clear why you want to embark on this lonely journey.
  • Identify who your intended audience is and how likely they are to buy your book.
  • Know how much time and money you will spend on things like cover design, formatting, and promotion.

Don’t wait, like I did, to understand the market. Only after months of agonizing confusion did I realize that my books focus was too narrow. Books about the construction world will have little demand. A wider focus book about the working world would appeal to a wider audience. Although a narrow focus may work well in another genre, but not for humor.

So, Know Your Market!

Know yourself and write what you love.

Know how to get that book in front of buying readers.

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