Ask me Anything: Do eBooks Really Open Doors for Self-Publishing?
Ask me anything is becoming a really popular offering on my site! I am ever amazed at the little things aspiring authors don’t know or understand that continue to make a big – no a huge – difference in becoming successfully published! Today’s question comes from a professional woman who wants to publish an eBook? “If I publish an eBook and put it on Kindle, how much money do you think I can make?”
Our subsequent discussion focused on how she planned to market the eBook and to whom. Imagine my surprise, and probably hers, when she shared she thought if she put it on Kindle it would just, well… sell – and my counter question to her inquiring how she thought readers would even be made aware of the fact that she had even published it!
BOOK PROMOTION IS ESSENTIAL
Granted, eBooks really do open the doors to self-published authors. However, that is not to say that sales magically happen without any efforts toward what some consider shameless self-promotion! For example, I recently overheard a conversation on a plane between two passengers, one apparently an attorney who spends his free time writing short reads that entertain those who simply have no time to read the “War and Peace” quality manuscripts. The passenger was sharing he didn’t want to be delusional, but would open his heart to the possibility that he could become another John Grisham!
What really caught my attention was his being very vocal about feeling his books were indeed a good read and that he was quite proud of them. However, this author also expressed some concern that with the increasing visibility of digital books, authors seem to be coming out of the woodwork – no longer being daunted by the expense and overwhelming aspects of publishing. I really wanted to interject… noting although the increasing popularity in eBooks and the ease of online book promotion makes self-publishing more attractive, the reality is that roughly 25-30 percent of all books being published are being provided in eBook format – fiercely increasing the competition.
PERSONAL RESPONSIBLITY IS ELEMENTAL
The writer who recognizes and assumes the responsibility for marketing from the conception of the book will be the author whose name you see in print! It will be the writer who has clearly defined the audience and the readers – knowing not only what they read, but how they read as well. Does your intended audience still yearn for the touch and smell of paper, or are they on the run and count on grabbing every free minute indulging their reading desires on an eReader? Will the topic of your book set the standard for whether it is touted to independent book stores or perhaps organizations that will, in the end provide bulk sales for you? Can that happen if your only format is digital? Additionally, for some authors, the better decision may well be to hold off making the book available until a healthy author platform has been developed. It is a given there is a very distinct correlation between the time and resources expended on book promotion and the resulting sales. The successful author is the one who continues to believe his or her book is good – is downright proud of it – and is not afraid to engage in the kind of shameless promotion that is consistent and ongoing. The writer who will experience the greatest overall success is the one who is not in the game for the instant gratification financially, but who truly believes the story or message will benefit a large readership.
QUALITY IS CRITICAL
Which brings to mind another reality… there just might be a huge financial jackpot for authors who are courageous enough to wade through the maze of self-publishing and risk the shameless self-promotion that drives a book’s visibility and sales. Is this the best option for every author and every book? Absolutely not! First, in an industry which I believe will become highly self-governed, the book must be of a high quality from the book cover design, through the editing and interior design/formatting process, right down to the publisher/printer of choice. If the writer is not willing to invest in that up-front quality, the chances of success are significantly diminished. At the end of the day,however, it is necessary to reiterate that nothing much happens until that book has sold! Authors must embrace that nothing much will fill their bank accounts until the book promotion starts. That includes everything from making promotional appearances to putting in some heavy online promotion on websites and various social media platforms. Writing the best-seller isn’t just an “instant success” achieved by an author – it is the end result of staying the course and engaging in whatever form of shameless promotion necessary to get the degree of visibility that converts to popularity and sales.
THE RIGHT AUDIENCE IS NECESSARY
There also comes a time when most authors experience that “Now what?” moment… the quiet before the storm where the author really connects with and understands just why he wrote the book in the first place – and just exactly who is intended as a reading audience. Some authors want nothing more than to entertain – and there are certainly enough readers out there who want nothing more than to be entertained. Other authors want to educate the reader and achieve an expert status to their professional lives. Another writer might want nothing more than to use historical fiction to reveal some “hidden truths” in life.
We each write for our own reason and personal fulfillment; however, we must remain keenfully aware it is the reader whom we must fully satisfy. The question(s) I would then be compelled to ask of anyone riding the fence between traditional publishing or risking it all with being self-published remain(s):
• How long do you want to wade through one rejection letter after another?
• How long do you want to wait for the long processing time of traditional publishing?
• Will your message become stale in that two plus year time frame?
• How much of your profits do you want to give away – only to find out that you are the one who is expected to do the marketing anyway?
• And finally… how much of the self-confidence and gratification you gain from courageously following the path of the self-published do you want to forsake?
The Ask me anything question was, “If I publish an eBook and put it on Kindle, how much money do you think I can make?”
The answer is: “It depends on who your readership is and what size of author platform you have, the quality of your book, how much you intend to promote it. The amount of money you generate will also be dependent upon…how good you feel your book is and how proud you are to share your message or story with the world!
Get Your Book Noticed – being highly compensated for leaving your mark on the world!