February 2016 Roundtable: Is Self-Publishing Right for You?
Facilitated by Becky Monson
Listen to the audio file:
Pros of Self-Publishing
- You’re the boss and in control of everything (editing, design, marketing, etc.)
- The $ is yours. You get paid once a month (more frequently than traditional publishing).
- You can publish quickly.
- If you get enough traction/sell enough, you could get picked up by a publisher and be able to call the shots.
Cons of Self-Publishing
- You’re the boss—easy to procrastinate if you’re not self-driven.
- You have to do all marketing. (Many authors are introverted, so marketing feels particularly hard.)
- Getting your name out there can be hard.
- You take on all monetary risk (e.g., paying for publishing and marketing).
- It can be difficult to find a high-quality editor, proofreader, designer, etc.
Pros of Traditional Publishing
- There aren’t any out-of-pocket costs.
- It’s easier to get into a larger market.
- You have more opportunities because you’re working with a bigger fish.
- You might get an advance.
Cons of Traditional Publishing
- You don’t have control over the design and (sometimes) content of the book.
- You may have to do as much marketing as you would if you self-published.
- You earn a smaller amount of money from each book sale.
- The publisher often owns the rights to your book.
Marketing Self-Published Books
- To be successful, you need to spend time marketing (try to market every day).
- Use social media (Facebook and Instagram; Twitter isn’t as effective).
- Get involved in Facebook groups, particularly author groups (e.g., Clean Indie Reads).
- BookBub: King of all marketing avenues—the way to get your book in front of thousands of readers; it’s been the key to Becky’s success.
- The purpose of BookBub isn’t to make money but to get your name out there. But you’ll most likely make money on BookBub.
- BookBub only accepts about 20% of books; don’t get discouraged if you’re not accepted first time.
- If your book isn’t accepted, look at your cover; BookBub is picky about covers.
- Other options besides BookBub: ENT and Pixel of Ink.
- Don’t shy away from giving away books for free. Giving away books gets your name out there.
- People need to see your book about 7 time before they’ll buy.
- Facebook ads: $60/month goes a long way. (Learn more about setting up Facebook ads.)
- Google ads is something to consider later on.
- You need a website.
- A blog is important.
- A post could go viral, which will lead to sales.
- See what other people are writing about.
- Google “blog prompts” for ideas.
- Make it look professional (not self-published).
- Look at other authors’ sites to see what you like/don’t like.
- Get people’s opinions about your site. How can it be improved?
- A blog is important.
- Email newsletter: Send one every month or so; sending a newsletter leads to more sales.
- Giveaways—gets your name out there.
- Goodreads: Give away physical books.
- Amazon: Give your books and related items.
- Facebook: Give your books and related items.
- Cross-promote with other authors who write in the same genre.
- Get reviews on Amazon and Goodreads—reviews sell books! The more reviews you have, the more people will see your book.
- Try to get reviews before publishing your book (through sharing advance copies).
- Work with a company that finds reviewers.
- Go on a blog tour.
Printers for Self-Publishing
- The biggest are CreateSpace and IngramSpark.
- IngramSpark gets your book catalogued, and it can get into brick-and-mortar stores.
- CreateSpace has improved in quality and customer service.
To read the Twitter summary of the February Roundtable, visit https://storify.com/LDSPPA/february-roundtable-self-publishing.