Not too long ago, first-time novelists had to send their printed manuscripts to multiple publishers before getting published—if at all. If they play their cards right, today’s novelists can skip the publishing houses and agents and earn money through self-publishing. Ebook fiction, in particular, does extremely well. A number of authors have earned incredible sums with their popular ebooks, like Michael J. Sullivan, Lisa Genova, and Hugh Howey. While you may experience insta-fame from your experience, there are ways to improve your profits.
Disclaimer: It Won’t Be Easy
There is no recipe for fame or easy money in ebook self-publishing. In fact, in some ways this form of publishing is actually the hardest. Authors must be willing to write high-quality novels the public is interested in purchasing. You must constantly hone your craft, study the successes of others, and always strive for improvement. And of course, draft, revise, and edit until you have reached perfection. Self-publishing may be easy, but so is publishing bad reviews. Readers will put bad reviews online if the quality of the writing isn’t up to par. Becoming a successful published author means putting your craft first. Of course, effective marketing and promotions help.
Give Away Free Books
Earning money and giving things away for free might seem like two things that do not go together. The highly-successful novelist Mark Dawson actually did give away thousands of copies of novels for free. Since they are in ebook format, no one has to be worried about losing money on the cost of publishing physical books. Circulating the ebooks helps generate buzz from reviewers and fans of a particular genre. After giving away a small number of ebooks, the freebies stop and then (hopefully!) sales start to roll in.
Get the Price Right
To the chagrin of many a new novelist, there is a certain degree of business and math savvy required to make a profit from self-publishing. In fact self-publishing is, in its own right, a type of business career, so education in that area may be worthwhile if you plan to get a substantial return on your investment. New novelists might not be able to command a high price, but lower-priced ebooks may end up selling well. Readers may be more willing to give a new author a try if the price is right—which often ends up around $0.99. Once you are better established, you can consider raising the price.
Promote Yourself on Social Media
As Author Kristen Lamb likes to say—promote, promote, PROMOTE! Social media platforms can be a treasure trove for your self-published novel, but simply creating a fan page or even a promotional page won’t be enough. If your novel is a sci-fi tome, joining numerous science-fiction and fantasy groups and being an active member helps. You don’t want to spam your work. You want to get yourself known. This way, when the novel is released, members of the online community are more likely to buy in.
Getting published is easier than ever before, but with this convenience comes with a whole new set of challenges — namely, getting your name out there and actually selling the books. But with a solid story, a good strategy, and more time on social media than you ever thought you’d spend, you can start receiving the recognition you deserve.