An interesting article about the travails of self-published authors, which I came across recently (“For me, traditional publishing means poverty. But self-publish? No way,” by Ross Barber), got me thinking. While I respect individual decisions of self-published authors to opt for traditional publishing, I couldn’t identify myself with the writer of that article. For me and for many successful self-published authors whom I know, self-publishing is a passion.
Self-publishing is not for everyone. There are amazing writers who opt for traditional publishing. On the other hand, there are successful self-published authors who would rather cut off their right hand than go for traditional publishing.
Here are the five traits of successful self-published authors which would help you identify if you are ready to plunge in the world of self-publishing.
The Heart of an Entrepreneur
A self-published author is an entrepreneur at heart. An entrepreneur is one who is ‘enchanted’ by an idea to the extent that others perceive him or her as a lunatic. The author-entrepreneur is overpowered by the intensity of desire, similar to being in love, for self-publishing success.
The successful self-published author doesn’t see view publishing of the book as the final accomplishment, but yearns to turn book-writing into a profit-making venture. A profit-making enterprise needs a systematic process for moving the product from the assembly lines to the hands of the customers. The successful indie author crafts such a system which includes, on a small scale, the entire cycle of writing, publishing, marketing and selling.
Thrives on Competition
Entrepreneurs – that is, the successful indie authors – thrive on competition. They are ready to compete with other businesses, that is, other authors, and persuade readers to buy their book.
Proud to be a Salesperson
Self-published authors do not shy away from active selling. However, instead of quick tricks, successful indie authors develop a simple but comprehensive strategy which includes the interplay of advertising, marketing and sales to attract bookworms and convert them into book-buyers.
Self-published authors love the freedom of being their own boss. Being free means being ready to put in an incredible amount of hard work, but not having to worry about office hours, dress code, and petty politics. The independent author works without the fear of having his or her wrist slapped for breaking the umpteen rules which run the corporate world.
Self-published authors love marathons not sprints. Collecting a loyal tribe of booklovers takes time. As a self-published author you would need to write several books, not one, before you start getting noticed and this takes time. Learning to sell, and figuring out what book marketing strategies work for you takes time. If you are out to make a quick buck, self-publishing is probably not your cup of tea.
The writer of the article I have mentioned above (“For me, traditional publishing means poverty. But self-publish? No way,” by Ross Barber), quotes another writer Fiona Smith who did not find success in self-publishing. Fiona wrote how she was depressed by the so called self-publishing success stories, “telling me if only I worked harder and smarter, did all the right social media promotions, spent 90% of my time marketing and only 10% writing – oh and subscribed to their blog or downloaded their latest how-to manual – I too could earn at least 5 figures a month.” The writer also mentions how self-publishing forced him to ‘behave like a fool’, by pestering his friends to read and retweet his book.
Anyone who tells you that you need to pester your friends to promote you on their facebook pages or twitter is misleading you. Similarly, the way to self-publishing success is not based on the need to cajole your loved ones for positive reviews.
I have seen writers make decent money in self-publishing. A school teacher for example, mentioned how she is able to make enough money through self-publishing to match her teacher’s salary. Instead of trying for quick tricks to hustle people, such authors focused on systematic marketing, creating an author platform and improving their writing. These things can be learned and you too can be successful if you have the willingness to be successful.
If this article got you excited about book marketing here are some “10 Ten-Minute Free Book Promotion Actions You Can Take Today.”