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SEOguy

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I've been thinking about this for a while since my last book was self published and admittedly did not do as well as I had expected.

As a newbie author, I thought all I had to do was slap a cover on my document and upload it to Amazon. I know better now, but still in the dark with the whole process, especially if I want to do it right this time for my second attempt.

There's obviously services that handle this for a self published author, like what ScribeMedia or @MTF offers, but no clear guide for someone who still wants to handle it themselves without stumbling into any pitfalls. There's a TON of Udemy courses, which is both a blessing and a curse (paradox of choice), so it would seem to me this problem still exists on some level.

Has anyone done it the right way and can highlight a resource or method to follow?
 

MTF

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Which parts of the process are unclear to you?
 

SEOguy

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Which parts of the process are unclear to you?

Essentially, knowing what is necessary, what isn't, and what provider you would use, e.g.:
- ISBN
- Crowdsourcing the title/book design
- Beta readers
- Proofreaders
- Editors
- Distribution
- Promotion

In other words, you don't know what you don't know.
 
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MTF

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It's not really essential but if you want possible bookstore distribution your own ISBN is necessary. I used Amazon-provided ISBNs the first few years, then got my own. Made no difference.

- Crowdsourcing the title/book design

Could be useful but the truth is that you can never fully trust people who you're only asking for an opinion (instead of asking for an actual purchase). Best to copy what's already working (a bestseller) rather than rely on people who don't have to pay for it and are only voting for their favorite title/cover.

- Beta readers

Never used them. I rely on editors. But could be important in certain genres/niches when you need to ask credible experts if you portrayed a given situation/problem/character/topic well.

- Proofreaders

Essential, at least one, if not two.

- Editors

Extremely, extremely important. Ideally hire an editor who does both content editing (making sure your content is good, suggesting what to remove, what to add, what to clarify, etc.) and line editing (grammar, better style, etc.).

- Distribution

Amazon is 90%+ of the market. I prefer to distribute on all platforms (and not exclusively on Amazon) because I'd rather have several sources of income. So go with:
  • Amazon KDP (ebook + paperback),
  • ACX (audiobook),
  • IngramSpark (optional for hardcover, Amazon is working on this now as well)
  • Google Play,
  • Draft2Digital (takes care of iTunes, B&N, and other smaller stores),
  • Kobo.

- Promotion

1. Do you plan to publish only one or two non-fiction books? Then you probably need an audience before you launch a book, need to schedule interviews, set up joint ventures, etc. I don't know much about this way of marketing a book because this is more about personal branding than actually promoting a book.

2. Do you plan to make self-publishing your primary business? Then write books that are related or that can be published as a part of a series. Discount the first one to $0.99 and promote it heavily using Amazon Ads (though no longer very profitable in the US), BookBub CPM ads, and book promo sites like Freebooksy, BookSends, and Robin Reads. Find other authors in the niche/genre and see if they cross-promote with other authors.

3. Secure early reviews, ideally at least 20. If you have money, use NetGalley to reach early reviewers. Many traditional publishers also use this platform. Ask your reviewers to post their reviews as soon as the book is published. People are less likely to take a chance on a book without any reviews unless it's published by an established author.

4. The most important thing in marketing a book is to sell as many copies as possible during the first several weeks. New releases are way easier to promote than less recent titles because people are drawn to new hot books everyone is talking about.

5. Build a list and use it for future launches.
 

SEOguy

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It's not really essential but if you want possible bookstore distribution your own ISBN is necessary. I used Amazon-provided ISBNs the first few years, then got my own. Made no difference.



Could be useful but the truth is that you can never fully trust people who you're only asking for an opinion (instead of asking for an actual purchase). Best to copy what's already working (a bestseller) rather than rely on people who don't have to pay for it and are only voting for their favorite title/cover.



Never used them. I rely on editors. But could be important in certain genres/niches when you need to ask credible experts if you portrayed a given situation/problem/character/topic well.



Essential, at least one, if not two.



Extremely, extremely important. Ideally hire an editor who does both content editing (making sure your content is good, suggesting what to remove, what to add, what to clarify, etc.) and line editing (grammar, better style, etc.).



Amazon is 90%+ of the market. I prefer to distribute on all platforms (and not exclusively on Amazon) because I'd rather have several sources of income. So go with:
  • Amazon KDP (ebook + paperback),
  • ACX (audiobook),
  • IngramSpark (optional for hardcover, Amazon is working on this now as well)
  • Google Play,
  • Draft2Digital (takes care of iTunes, B&N, and other smaller stores),
  • Kobo.



1. Do you plan to publish only one or two non-fiction books? Then you probably need an audience before you launch a book, need to schedule interviews, set up joint ventures, etc. I don't know much about this way of marketing a book because this is more about personal branding than actually promoting a book.

2. Do you plan to make self-publishing your primary business? Then write books that are related or that can be published as a part of a series. Discount the first one to $0.99 and promote it heavily using Amazon Ads (though no longer very profitable in the US), BookBub CPM ads, and book promo sites like Freebooksy, BookSends, and Robin Reads. Find other authors in the niche/genre and see if they cross-promote with other authors.

3. Secure early reviews, ideally at least 20. If you have money, use NetGalley to reach early reviewers. Many traditional publishers also use this platform. Ask your reviewers to post their reviews as soon as the book is published. People are less likely to take a chance on a book without any reviews unless it's published by an established author.

4. The most important thing in marketing a book is to sell as many copies as possible during the first several weeks. New releases are way easier to promote than less recent titles because people are drawn to new hot books everyone is talking about.

5. Build a list and use it for future launches.
Thanks man. Already putting this info to use. Ever considered making a course to scale your knowledge?
 

MTF

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Thanks man. Already putting this info to use. Ever considered making a course to scale your knowledge?

I wouldn't feel comfortable teaching people (for a fee) how to make money. I prefer doing it myself.

Also, I dislike make money gurus. Most people teaching how to self-publish belong to this category, not caring much about writing and the craft.
 

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