Lately, there have been a number of people giving some very questionable advice to writers looking to self-publish. They advocate one or all of the following ideas:
1) Making your own cover, your readers don’t care what your book looks like
2) Self-editing and proofing your own books, your readers don’t care about your errors
3) Any negative comment or feedback means you are trolling or bashing the writer
4) You should spam social media and forums. It’s a sure way to get readers.
The people who say these things state they have good sales. Here’s the thing, an Amazon ranking in the 300k range is not a good sales ranking. If you’re books have an average ranking that high, they are failing. No one is buying them. Their sales record proves that following their own advice is a bad idea.
I have said this a number of times but it bears repeating. Writing is an art and a craft. Publishing is a business. You have to invest time, money and sweat in any business if it is to succeed. If you cut costs, you might have to spend more time and effort doing things. If you want to save time and effort, it might cost you money. Now, take this advice and any other with a healthy grain of salt.
Invest some money in your business and books. If you’ve written a good book, it’s worth investing in. Just remember to invest your time, money and energy wisely. If you’re not willing to invest in your book then you are showing how much you value your work.
Like it or not, some books are judged by their covers. Most readers do care what they look like. If you can do your own cover and make it look good then by all means do so. If you can’t, get someone else to help you out either by giving you advice and feedback or by making a cover for you. You don’t have to spend a fortune to commission a cover that matches your book’s genre and can be seen in a thumbnail. There are a number of people who will do covers at a very low price. We’re talking $15 and up.
Like it or not, books are judged by their interior. Some people can self-edit and proofread their own work but many of us can’t. If your story has to compete with typos and errors then you are bound to lose readers. If someone can pick out numerous spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors in the blurb and sample of your book, you need help in this area. Like a cover, editing and proofreading doesn’t have to be expensive. You can find low cost alternatives, even free ones, but it might require a lot of work on your part.
Like it or not, even the harshest critique or review might be valid. When we look at our books, it is usually in the best possible light. Sometimes friends and family will try to spare you some pain or not see the problems a stranger points out. Always keep an open mind when it comes to feedback. When someone points out a problem, they are not usually doing it to be mean or spiteful. Writing and any artistic endeavor is filled with critics. You will get a lot of criticism concerning your work. Don’t assume anything negative is said because someone is out to get you.
Like it or not, no one enjoys being spammed. You’re liable to lose far more potential readers than you will ever gain spamming social media and forums. Sometimes you might not even realize what you are doing. Odds are if someone says you are spamming, you probably are.
Now, anyone can get lucky. One of your books might happen to be free at Amazon or your book is featured prominently somewhere, don’t be fooled into thinking your book and all of your others are a success. The test is how you capitalize on a lucky break and how your books do when things are back to normal. Adhering to bad advice will hurt negate any gains you make.
And for the record, I’m not getting down on anyone who can’t afford top of the line editing, proofreading, formatting and cover art. I work on a pretty small budget. I don’t think you should spend a lot of money to publish your book. Frankly, there is no need but the idea that you shouldn’t spend any is wrong.
Okay, enough ranting. Next week, we’ll have a new book out.