You love writing, but being a self published author mean that you have to do everything yourself and if you can’t do it yourself, you have to get help from paid services. Before you accept to use any service, Google them and see what others are saying about them. Unfortunately, many reviews are manipulated, so if you want to have your back covered, you can search for the company’s name and see how it is rated by Alli, Alliance of Independent Authors. Be aware of the marketing strategy used by many. They offer you something free but first you have to sign up for a newsletter. Shortly after, they will try to sell you something. Often the offer is so big that you wonder why they have reduced it so much. They will often tell you that there is only a few hours left to enroll to get the special price. If you don't enroll you get another email saying that something went wrong and you can still enroll or you get a even better price. Just keep your hands in your pockets!
I was so focused on a publishing date and I wanted to save time. Therefore, I had an arch copy, send directly from a print on demand company in Germany to Joan Baez. When I finally received the books myself, they were the worst quality I had ever seen.
Lesson learned: Don’t send an Arch copy straight from the printer without seeing it yourself first, especially not to Joan Baez!! Don’t use the print on demand company called “tredition” in Germany for printed books.
Since 80 to 90% of the global book-sales comes from Amazon, it is hard to avoid them!
Set up your eBook and print-book with them. Use your own ISBN if you have one.
If you choose KDP-Select for your eBook, you are not allowed to sell your ebook through others.
I am using an Italian company, Streetlib, for eBook distribution. Their distributin in Latin America is stronger than Amazon, so if you have a book in Spanish I highly recommend them. By using and European company instead of an American, you also avoid tax interviews and withholding of royalties. Their costomer service is amazing! (They do have a branch in the US)
Here are the most important things you must get right in order to succeed. The title and subtitle are extremely important. The cover must kicks ass and support the title so the reader immediately knows what the book is about. Have the cover done by a professional.
Write a captivating book description with a hook. Make use of good keywords in your book description. Be prepared to rewrite it one hundred times if necessary. Your introduction must be catchy too. The is what the reader will see in many previews. Use the right categories so readers will find your book. Categories are like bookshelves. If possible make use of subcategories. Set your eBook up for pre-order, so you get a lot of sales on the day it is launched.
Don't price you book too high. Find a competitive price that is realistic for the market.
Do you know that it is possible to have your book translated without any upfront payment? During my research I came across an Italian company called TEKTIME, which I have used successfully for 4 translations of my books so far. When you set your book up in theie system, you can contact a translator or a translator can contact you. If you have a match you sign a contract which gives the translator 75% of the royalties of the first 1000€ of the sales, 60% of the next etc. Tektime gets 10%. During the time of the contract, which is 5 years, Tektime has the exclusive right to publish the work translated. If you can't pay a translator thousands of Euros, this is a great alternative an iIf you find the right translator, you also might get a partner that is just as interested in seeing your book sell as you are. You get to see a sample of 5% of the work from the translator, which you must approve before the contract is binding. If you want your book translated or if you are an editor or translator looking for work, you can sign up using this link. See my personal recommandations under "Find your Team."
I have used Facebook, Twitter and Bookbub advertizing.
None of it has been very effective. I have used BooksGoSocial to run my Amazon advertizing campaign and the campaign turned out worse than my own campaigns. I got my money back as they had promised, if a client isn't satisfied. You can learn something from their courses. They are a trustworthy company but they underdeliver when it comes to marketing campaigns. I was also a member of their Facebook Groups for getting reviews and didn't like begging for reviews. I felt it was intimidating and the culture was a bit narcisistic. Always "Review my book please." As you can imagine it was hard to get really honest and engaging reviews. (More about reviews later) My sales are coming mainly from interviews and engaging with my followers. I don't believe in social media marketing. If you think about it, how many books have you bought because you saw it in a twitter or facebook post? Today, the social medias are overcrowded with books. If you advertize you my advice is that you have got at least 20 reviews before your start.
Reviews are the "new gold" in the publishing industry. To become successful, a book needs reviews. But reviews are hard to get. You can ask for a review in the backmatter of your book, but readers seldomly gives any feedback.
Amazon doesn't allow authors to buy reviews or swap reviews and in order to have any real value reviews must be validated, which means your readers must buy your book from Amazon.
I have looked around years for a way to get these precious reviews and I recently came across a forum that gave me a break through in getting honset, validated reviews. This might be the most important info I can give you, but it requires that you are ready to spend time to read and review other's books too. Check the platform PUPPY, you get a 10 days free trial and if you use this link when you sign in, you get 15% off you first month.
When I got my first negative review, which was a 3 star review, I didn't sleep all night. Not everyone will like or understand your book, so learn not to worry too much when it happens. A 3 star review can even be positive, if the critic is constructive.
Lesson learned: Don't comment on negative reviews and don't have sleepless nights over them. If it is constructive, learn from it and move on. Accept that your book is not for everyone.
I have spend years reseaching and I have paid for world class editors land and photos from Reuters, so naturally my book is worth a lot to me. I priced the book reasonable according to the market for my topic and genre, but the sales lingered because I was an unknown author and didn't know how to get reviews.
Lesson learned: Don't be afraid of lowering your price. Without sales you won't get sales and if you are an unknown author, that is just the way things are. Readers are not willing to take risks, even if it just a few dollars.
You can also increase your sales by publishing audiobooks. This can be done without any upfront cost through TEKTIME, which I have used successfully for all of my audobooks. When you set your book up in the system, you can contact a narrator or a narrator can contact you. If you have a match you sign a contract which gives the translator 75% of the royalties of the first 1000€, 60% of the next etc. Tektime gets 10%. If you want your book narrated or if you are a narrator looking for work, you can sign up using this link. See my personal recommandations under "Find your Team."
Most of the hype around self publishing and bookselling happens in America. Let us change that. Let us start selling our books in other languages and other markets too.
In Europe I have used the German Print on Demand company, called BoD. The are the biggest selfpublishing service in europe and are operating in Spain, France, Denmark, Sweden and Finland too. Their printing quality exceeds Amazon's and Ingram Sparks. Their color photos are better, more vibrant and cheaper than Amazon and Ingram Spark. You can choose the quality of the paper and best of all, they distribute books to physical bookstores which means that a reader can go to a local bookstore and order the book on request!
You can also order international distribution with them, but the books for international distribution will be printed by Amazon and Ingram printers and only in black and white. Avoid colorphotos if you can!
BoD's contract is exclusive for one year at a time!
I have thousands of followers in South America and found a publisher, Podiprint, in Spain who distributes to online bookstores in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Colombia and Mexico. The requirements for the printers in South America were all different, so preparing the book in the right format was a hassle. In 2 years, I only sold 10 books through these stores. The problems I faced were:
Readers in Latin America are not used to online shopping. Some don't even have credit cards and many are really poor. My readers didn't want to read eBooks. Those who managed to get a copy of the print book had to go and pay cash to a company who ordered for them.
Shipping has got really expensive. Especially if you live in a country where Amazon doesn’t have a platform. I found a way to get free shipping. If you want to send your book to someone after it has been published, set the price low for the UK and US markets in the Ingram Spark dashboard. Then create a profile with Bookdepository and buy your book from them. You will pay more for the book than you do on Amazon or Ingram Spark, but you’ll savea lot more on shipping. At the same time you are boosting your own sales, which will make your book show up more often in front of readers.
Authors living outside the US end up paying quite big fees for international transfers. To prevent all of my royalties being eaten up by fees, I have put my payments on hold for long stretches of time. With Wise I have been able to open bank accounts all over the world. There are no exchange fees and very low transfer fees. I use them for business as well as in private and I am saving around 200$ a month on exchange rates and bank fees. Check them out. They are transparent, easy to reach and easy to use. If you sign up using this link, you'll get to transfer your first 500£ without paying any fee at all.
Here is a list of links to blogs and pages that according to my experience are the most serious, don't use manipulative marketing and really are motivated by inspiring and supporting independent authors. In these 5 pages you will find almost all the info and material you need to know.
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Here is a list of highly skilled and hard working people that has helped me with their services at a decent price. I have loved working with each of them and my wish for them is that their business will be successful.
If you need other services on a low budget you can cruise around here and take time to find the best. Not everyone are as professional as they like to be.
Dont write to become rich -
Write to make a difference
Lesson learned: South and Central America aren't markets for self publishing. Just forget about it. I had this confirmed by many Spanish authors. It can change of course but with the finacial challenge many of the countries in South and Central America is facing, it isn't just around the corner as I see it!
If you can't write something that hasn't been said before, find something else to do