A new reader asked for ways to build her self-publishing business quickly. She’s going on maternity leave and wants to develop an alternative to returning to her day job.
She said: “I’ve published four books so far. A friend suggested I could focus my writing business and make it viable, but how? Any tips?”
The greatest challenge in any business is thinking small. I recommended thinking of her business in new ways, primarily as publishing.
Tip: think “publishing”, rather than “self-publishing”
As a publisher, she might explore how major book publishing companies operate.
Here’s Simon & Schuster’s home page.
What do you see? Even a brief glance shows you plenty of books and lots of choices for many readers. Companies like S & S know their audiences, and so should you, no matter how many or few books you’ve published.
So, just by looking at that main page, you might decide to learn more about the readers buying your books. Think about what appeals to them. Write a description of a typical reader, their job, their family, and where they go on vacation.
Not only will this description help you to market your books, but it will also help you in writing too.
Additionally, explore Amazon. If you want to sell more books, why not let Amazon teach you about content marketing and SEO?
Let’s look at some tips to help you to build your business.
Start with a blog.
1. Use a blog as your publishing hub
I emphasize blog marketing because blogging is practical and powerful. It helps readers to find your books. Additionally, it acts as your publishing hub because content on social media is ephemeral.
Over time, as you publish more books, and your business grows, keep major publishers’ sites in mind. They have millions to spend, and while you can’t directly emulate them, you can learn from them—for free.
Big publishers publish many books, so why not publish more? Consider short materials.
2. Short materials sell: get creative
We said that low content books sell. These are journals, planners, and puzzle books. Readers love them. Basically, these are books that are designed, rather than written. If you create a book with even a few thousand words, Amazon no longer looks at it as “low” content—it’s just a book.
So be aware that online book retailers are happy to publish short books. Think how-to books; short stories; and similar materials.
If you have a blog post readers enjoy, add a few thousand words and publish it.
3. Pricing your books: experiment
What about pricing? Big publishers price their books at the top of the market. There are reasons for that.
If you’re self-publishing, you can set any price you choose. And you can enroll your books in KDP Select, which can act as an easy way to promote your books.
Avoid low pricing for all your books, especially when you’re starting out. If you price too low, readers think there’s something wrong with your books.
4. Get inspired: what’s hitting Amazon’s Top 100 lists?
Here’s Amazon’s Top 100 list for fiction; the lists are available for all major categories. See what’s selling, and brainstorm.
Patience: it takes time to build a business
Our new reader was intrigued at the idea of considering herself a publisher.
She’s developed some new ideas for her self-publishing business already, starting with partnering with a friend to collaborate on a book. She said: “I want to try creating a planner too—using my experiences in pregnancy. Maybe I can create one for new moms when I get the experience of that.”
I’m thrilled for her. She’s well on her way, happily developing ideas and creating.
Did you know that fiction outsells non-fiction by 6 to 1 on the Kindle store? Even if you’ve never written fiction before, you can still make sales with our new program.
Quick Fiction Fix: Write A Short Story Today, Sell It Tomorrow is full of practical insights and strategies. You’ll write a short story, create a cover, and publish it on Amazon and other ebook retailers fast.
Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.