Becoming a full-time author is the dream of many people. Self-publishing is becoming more and more popular by the day with millions of books being uploaded and published every year.
The fact that so many people have found their way to self-publishing is commendable. But it also means that the market is very saturated. Search results are crowded and you need to stand out from the crowd to get readers and customers to see your book on the first page of the search results.
Self-publishing is, in fact, going through the same existential crises as blogging went through a few years ago. When the market is starting to get saturated, you need to step up your game in order to get noticed. Bloggers needed to professionalise: buy domain names, take amazing pictures, learn SEO and marketing and spend hours and hours on promoting and sharing their blogs in order to generate a fraction of the same traffic they would have gotten only a couple of years back.
Author earnings are down. Many writers report almost earning nothing from their books. I have read a few blog posts raging on about how some authors are ruining the business and the trade by running ads, running promotions or even giving away free short-stories.
We need to step away from this vile bile and look at what these authors are actually doing because it is really smart:
- They are not giving away stories for free. They are actually building their e-mail lists, collecting email addresses of people who are interested in their genre, niche or writing.
- They are running ads because they want more people to know about the book. They invest in brand awareness.
- They run promotions so that people who might be interested in buying the book have an extra incentive to actually do so.
Authors who are making money do so because they treat their books and their writing as a business. And here are 5 reasons why this is going to be the way forward from 2019 on!
There are millions of books in the Kindle store.
At the start of 2018 there were 3.7 million books in the Kindle store. By the middle of 2018 it was close to 5 million.
When we look at Amazon (so not only the Kindle store) we notice that there are 48 MILLION books for sale.
I will let that sink in for a bit.
So when you, as a self-publishing author, want to make a name for yourself you got to be loud. You need to get your book in front of people! You need to start treating your self-publishing ventures as a business.
A business needs investing, a business needs a plan, it needs professionals helping you to grow and it needs you treating it and your customers with the utmost professionalism.
Things are only going to get more saturated
With Africa and Asia now clocking on to the KDP network, we see an influx of Indian and African writers into the Author Facebook Groups.
Where KDP used to be dominated by American and European writers and authors, a whole new market has been opened in populous countries and continents where writing, poetry and penmanship are seen as a great feat and a classical art.
And although many Indian writers write in Hindi or in Bengali or Telugu, a large part of these authors are trying their luck in English, the one language that connects all Indians and that makes it possible for them to connect to readers on the other side of the world!
I think it is absolutely wonderful that these people get the chance of writing, publishing and selling their books on the Amazon platform, but it might mean that the influx of newly published books will grow over the next few years, pushing your books down the search rankings.
Other authors are professionalising
Smart authors are professionalising. They are building email lists and are running Facebook ads to attract more customers.
The longer you wait with following in their footsteps, the more customers you will miss out on. Hard work pays off but building a mailing list and a steady community of readers takes time. You need to start building a mailing list today, start writing a freeby short story (10k words is more than enough!) and start marketing your book today!
Not stepping up your game will make your sales, your readership and ultimately your career as a writer stagnate.
There have never been more tools and websites for you to build your email list.
Professionalising your self-publishing ventures has never been so easy! It has not been that long ago when authors and publishing houses had to do everything by snail mail! Now, with the internet at our finger tips, we can collect the email addresses of thousands of people and make them into our customers by the click of a button.
Building email lists is incredibly easy with programs such as mailerlite which lets you send automated emails to customers – I do it with my 31 day FREE self-publishing course that will be ready very soon (subscribe to my email to make sure you don’t miss out), and even send emails depending on their clicking or opening behaviour.
You can easily create clickfunnels and send email blasts AND it is absolutely free for your first 1000 contacts (so it’s basically a no-brainer!)
Consumers have become more vocal
With websites such as Goodreads offering readers and bookworms a place to review books, and Amazon, Kobo, Waterstones and other massive online book retailers opening up their review section, getting good reviews can positively impact your sales.
The problem, however, is that people will only leave reviews when they think something is very very good or very very bad. When you book is “meh” or “just okay” the chance that a reader will leave a review on a sales platform is very slim.
In recent years we have noticed that consumers – so people who read your book, have become a lot more vocal about bad experiences and products on sales platforms and social media. This means that people recently have been more likely to leave bad or critical reviews when they do not deem the product worth their time or money. This means that you need to step up your game and treat your book like a product, basically professionalising your self-publishing process. Have an editor go through your book, choose an amazing and professional looking cover and make sure you have a great marketing plan of have hired someone to help you get your book out there. Make sure that the quality of your book is great in ALL aspects – not just the story, but also the writing, the spelling, the grammar, the cover, the publishing – even the lettering and the kind of paper it is published on!