Self-Publishing: If at First…

Everybody lies about their book earnings. No, I didn’t say that. It was a comment on a writer’s blog post. It referred to people like J. Konrath who supposedly make oodles of money from their writing while so many authors are just struggling to find readers. It seems to be human nature to deny unpleasant reality, particularly if that reality is treating you badly.

The reality is that a comparative few authors are doing spectacularly well at self-publishing and a larger number are seeing modest success. The number in both categories is growing, whether or not you choose to believe it. What seems to be true is that successful authors are generally more willing to talk about their success than unsuccessful or struggling authors are willing to talk about why they’re not making it.

But what I really like to see is writers in any of those categories talking about the mistakes they’ve made, what it cost them, how they corrected course, and what they’re trying now or plan to try in the future. From that point of view, Making a Marketing Plan for the New Year is fairly informative.

Ruth Ann Nordin is doing very well by the standards of any new and struggling writer. She isn’t earning a living from her work, but her income is substantial and growing, and she’s experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s also clear that two reasons she’s doing well is that she works in a very popular genre, historical romance,  and she has a large number of books out.

If there’s one general rule in self-publishing, it’s that the more books you’ve published, the more successful you’ll be. Yes, there are exceptions: the first novel that turns into a runaway best seller. You and I aren’t likely to write one of those. If you write in a less than popular genre, you may still be struggling when your tenth novel comes out. But if you have one book in publication and the returns are a bitter disappointment, that’s not the time to give up or write blog posts about how unhappy you are, boo hoo, and how nobody loves you and you might just as well give up. Writing is a long-term effort and so is publishing. Figure out what works and what doesn’t and keep going.

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2 thoughts on “Self-Publishing: If at First…

  1. I appreciate people like Ruth Ann Nordin who share this kind of information. It was especially enlightening to see that she’s gotten better reviews when her books are priced higher. It makes sense, people will throw away 99 cents on a book that they probably shouldn’t be reading because it’s not what they like. I’d bet that’s where many negative reviews come from on her cheaper books. That’s definitely something to consider when pricing.

    Then there’s the Amanda Hocking model which seems to be to price the first book in her series at 99 cents and then the rest at $2.99.

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