As a bestselling author and founder of Mindstir Media, I’m often flooded with requests for information and advice from aspiring authors regarding the topic of self-publishing. I’ve published over 400 book titles for various authors through Mindstir Media, and The Good Men Project branded me as the “Self-Publishing Guru,” so it’s no surprise that authors seek my advice. The truth is that I could write an entire book on the self-publishing process, and perhaps someday I will, but for now I’m going list my top five most important tips on self-publishing.
- Present yourself as a brand. Yes, the book business is a “business,” so make sure that you present your name everywhere – and do so professionally. Hire a designer to create a professional author website with your name in the domain. Setup social media accounts under your name and be active on them. Contact the local media to inquire about interviews. Send out press releases.
- Advertise your book. This seems like a no-brainer, but some new authors figure that consumers will “stumble upon” the book. Don’t rely on readers to find your book. You need to actively advertise to your target audience. For example: If your book is centered on cats, run some targeted Facebook ads to users with interests in cats. Determine your daily/monthly budget and try to stick to it.
- Forget book signings. I know many aspiring authors have grand ideas about book signings. They envision a large line snaking around the building, adoring fans awaiting an opportunity for an autograph. Let’s get real: Unless your name is James Patterson (or some other big brand name), book signings are largely a waste of time. You might sell 15-30 books but when you take into account your own time and travel expenses, you rarely make a profit at book signings. Your time and money are usually much better spent on online marketing.
- Don’t worry about your book being stocked at brick-and-mortar stores. Sure, some stores might stock your self-published book, but most will pass. The ones that do agree to stock your book will probably work with you on consignment and will want at least 40%. Big box stores will want at least 55%. Do you really want to give up 40%-55%? Most consumers buy online nowadays, so it doesn’t make much sense to give up such a large portion of sales to brick-and-mortar stores.
- Be persistent. Just like any business, it takes time for a book product to take off sales-wise. Don’t give up. Devise a daily marketing plan and stick to it no matter what. Many authors fail simply because they give up.
About the author: J.J. Hebert is the author of two bestselling books and owner of Mindstir Media, a self-publishing book company in North Hampton, NH. He blogs about self-publishing and marketing at http://www.mindstirmedia.com/category/blog/.