Business, Publishing

Regrets of a Self-Published Author

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This past summer has been a roller coaster ride with many pleasant surprises and a few disappointments.  I don’t dwell too much on the disappointments, because I consider it all learning experience.  (Not like I got choice right?)  It’s either get better or bitter and I didn’t choose the latter.  So today, I’m sharing a few of the things that tripped me up and ultimately made me better.

Even Self-Published Authors Need Advanced Reader Copies or (ARC’s).

Print Copies

Many reviewers want their own special copy of your book.  Wouldn’t you know it!?!  There are still plenty of reviewers that only review print books.  So you need to plan for this in your budget.  Ordering 10 to 20 print books is wise, but make sure you send them to people who have actually agreed to review the book.  Never blindly send a book to a reviewer, it will save you money and aggravation in the end.

eBooks

I love reviewers who accept digital submissions but it does present a minor problem.  Most reviewers use either Kindle or Nook and I like most authors, write in MS Word.  Never fear, this is doable but it does takes special software to create something that’s readable by a smart phone or eReader.

To create your own eBook try Scrivner, MobiPocket or Calibre software that can convert Word documents into .mobi and .epub files for free. Here are a few more ideas from a CreateSpace community thread.

*Tip* When you create these ARC’s make sure you add links at the end of your book directing them to where they can review your book.  Make sure to send them to your book’s page on; Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, LibraryThing etc.

Do a Quiet Launch

On the day my book went live, I found an error and was really upset.  An author on Facebook shared some golden advice with me, he said I should wait at least few weeks after the book goes live before telling anyone.  This way you find errors and even have a chance to reevaluate your marketing strategy.  It also gives reviewers a chance to post their reviews which you kindly asked for in those ARC’s you created.

Get Ready for Spammers, Trolls & Con Artists

Not too long ago, I got my first 3 star review from a spammer.  This person directed their “review” directly at me and explained how much I would benefit from their services.  They were so nice, they even left their web address in the actual review!  Can you say trolling?  P.S. They never actually bothered reviewing my book, which is against the Amazon review policy.

My response: I flagged the comment as spam and it was immediately removed by Amazon.

I’ve also been contacted by people claiming they can turn my novel into a bestseller.  For a small fee of $3,000 they can put me in their silver program and for $6,000 I can be in their platinum group. *_* Rolling eyes!  I’ve researched several of these businesses and ALL of them are on the Ripoff Report or listed in Editors & Predators.

Don’t Worry Too Much About Social Media

I wished I would have just put ALL my social media on auto-pilot because it’s not really worth the time.  I should have carefully planned my Tweets with the proper hashtags relevant to my book’s genre, ditto for Facebook.  Also, I should have shared deals or giveaways by scheduling them in Hootsuite or Buffer and been done with it.

Reaching Out

It’s important to establish interviews, and guest posts with people who have blogs, and podcasts.  This is something I’m still struggling with.  Honestly I’m an introvert and don’t want to interact with people.  And I really don’t want to pimp products, even ones I’ve created!

Tip: If you’re going to do a guest posts, use Alexa or Google Analytics to peek on their web traffic to see if it’s actually worth your while.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe your book ought to be reviewed anywhere and everywhere but doing guest posts are a different story.  If you’re going to write or talk off topic, make sure you’re getting traffic or exposure out of it.

Write, Write, Write isn’t Just a Cliché, it’s Business Sense! 

I spent so much time researching book reviewers, advertising and social media techniques that I lost a lot of precious time.  Time I might add, could have been better spent working on the next novel.  Writers need to come out with the next product, not worry about social media popularity or even book sales.  The first book is about establishing yourself as a professional.  Consider it a business card and those books that follow, your portfolio.

Lessons all learned!
If you got any regrets or confessions about self-publishing please share them in the comments section.

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9 thoughts on “Regrets of a Self-Published Author”

  1. I have come to the exact same conclusion that you stated in your last paragraph. Like you, I am trying not to think of the time as “wasted” but rather “spent learning the business”.

    However, I have spent a lot of time attempting to do the kind of promotion that self-publishing guides recommend, and it hasn’t paid off.

    I have been rethinking my whole approach, and I also have come to the conclusion that I need to concentrate on writing. Selling a book involves a whole different skill set than writing a book, and it’s not a skill set that I have.

    I’ll keep being active on WordPress and Goodreads, because I enjoy those platforms and I find blogging helps me get my mind in the right place, but I’m going to let the rest of the promotion stuff slide.

    My response from professional reviewers has been pretty much the same as the response I got from agents–one quarter “no thanks” to three quarters “no answer”.

    I’ll write and I’ll put my work out there and then forget about it. That’s the only way I can stay sane enough to keep writing.

  2. Excellent article and lots of useful information learned the hard way. Keep with it, Rachel! Your book is great and I can’t wait for the new one! PS. Send to me to read through before you launch it. Together, we will find those errors — for the small price of only $3,000. 😉

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