Ditching your day job is a dream most self-publishing authors have. It’s true some self-published authors have had major success with breakout hits sweeping readers across the nation. However, it is an uphill battle for most indie authors looking to break out on their own.
If you’re looking to really get ahead in the publishing industry, read these 5 things all self-published authors are afraid to admit.
- Your story may need more work
Everybody wants to think their writing is perfect. It can be a difficult pill to swallow for authors with especially heavy egos, but finding an honest editor who is talented and cares about your success is crucial to writing a better story. Most–if not all–authors in the history of time have had multiple rounds of editing to help shape their story. If you’re considering submitting to a traditional publisher as well as exploring self-publishing options, it’s an especially good idea to spend a lot of time and your budget on a seasoned editor.
- It’s difficult to build a genuine audience
One misconception many self-published authors have is that because mostly everyone reads books, that everyone could read their book. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Most people usually stick to one or two genres and aren’t interested in reading outside their comfort zone—but that isn’t a bad thing. That means whoever loves reading your genre wants to keep reading your genre, and will likely be highly interested in your book. Once you’ve figured out who your audience is, start learning about them and introducing yourself and your work online to start building a solid following.
- Marketing your book deserves a lot more focus and attention than you think
Besides having written a verifiable page turner, marketing is the single most important part of ensuring some level of success as a self-publisher. You need to put together a plan that mixes in digital marketing with real-world pr strategies. Start a Twitter account, research social media ads for branding and conversions (sales), and look locally at any stores, organizations, or reading groups that you and your book would make sense to partner with. Best piece of advice: start building genuine relationships with influencers and it will make your marketing efforts a breeze.
- Your life will probably not change over night (but does that really matter?)
While publishing a book is a monumental feat reserved for only a small pocket of society, you may be disappointed to learn that you probably won’t become J.K. Rowling the night after publishing your first book. I know, it’s an unfair world. But it takes a lot of time to build up a fan base, and publishing your first book is a great first step to becoming the next J.K. of your genre. It’s important to keep your head up and not get discouraged just because you haven’t become a famous author—you may very well get there after your second or third book.
- No ‘one trick’ will catapult you to success
There’s a lot of hard work that goes into launching a book successfully. However, there are lots of articles, advice columns, and self-appointed gurus floating out there on the internet. They claim their ‘one trick’ can help you sell hundreds or even thousands of books if you just pick up a copy of theirs, give them your e-mail address, or buy their foolproof marketing plan. However, the only ‘trick’ that will help you sell more books is focusing on writing an irresistible story and heavily researching how to market and sell your book. Of course luck is always at play, but since you can’t plan for it, it’s a worthwhile strategy to roll up your sleeves and put in the hours learning everything you can about the book industry. You’ll be surprised how much you can do by yourself and how far you can get.