How Did I Sell 11,000 Books? These Are My 8 Secrets
I never thought I would be a self-published author, let alone one with such success. But when my first book didn’t get picked up by any traditional publishers, I decided to give it a try. I had no idea what I was doing, but through a lot of trial and error, I managed to sell 11,000 copies of Full Stack Recruiter, and I’m hoping to beat that number with my new book, Job Search Guide.
Along the way, I learned a lot about the business of self-publishing and what not to do. For example, I quickly learned that you can’t just throw your book up on Amazon and expect people to find it. You have to create a marketing plan and work hard to get the word out. And even then, there’s no guarantee that people will buy it.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. TIME: Anyone who has attempted to write a book knows that it is no easy task. Not only is it time-consuming, but it can also be frustrating, especially when you hit a brick wall in terms of ideas or motivation. If you want to publish something good, you will need to invest time! There are no workarounds. However, the rewards of seeing your name in print are more than worth the effort.
2. WRITING: Writing is not about writing; it is all about rewriting. Be ready to rewrite your book several times. It is a process, no matter what you write, the magic is always in the second draft. Or the third, fourth, or eighth draft. No matter how many times you rewrite your book, remember that the goal is to produce something you are proud of and that others will enjoy reading.
Set for yourself some deadlines and milestones. But do not be discouraged if things won’t turn out exactly as you planned. Divide your work into milestones and focus on the outcome — releasing the book.
3. INVESTMENT: If you want to publish a quality book, you should be ready to invest not only time but also money. Editors and proofreaders are not cheap but they make a difference! Self-publishing is only cheap if you do everything by yourself. Hiring professionals will cost you between a few hundred to several thousand USD. The longer your book is, the more costly it will be.
4. EDITORS: There is a difference between developmental editing and copy editing. Always start with developmental editing and never skip this part. Trust me, good developmental editing will make a huge difference (if you get the right editor).
- Developmental editing is a phase of the book editing process where editors thoroughly evaluate author’s work to help determine what needs to be ready for publishing.
- Copy editing ensures that the book makes for an excellent read. It helps polish the language used and eliminate common errors.
In most cases, you will need both, meaning two rounds of editing and, of course, two invoices. You can find an editor on Fiverr, but you should consider using Upwork or Reedsy.com. They are more expensive, but the editor makes your book 10x better. If you are willing to spend two years writing a book, do not kill it by saving a few dollars.
5. BOOK COVER: It is all about design! Your book cover will sell or kill your book, it is that simple! Do not rush this process. Choose the first cover you will get from a designer. Do not be afraid to say no to a designer. If you do not like the design, hire another designer who can create something better. Ask your friends for feedback or as many people as you can, as they will be those who might be buying your book. If they do not like it, change it.
6. INTERIOR DESIGN: A good book cover will attract readers, but a good interior design will help them finish reading. There are so many books with great content, but the formatting and the interior design are so bad that people will give up reading them.
7. PROOFREADER: Do not act as your own proofreader or hire your editor as a proofreader. Even the best editor will make some errors, and we can’t see our typos, but others will see them.
If you do not want to spend money on a proofreader, ask your friends to review your final version.
8. MARKETING: Perhaps the most important lesson is that it’s not enough to just write a good book. You also need to be an effective marketer and promoter. That means building a platform, connecting with readers, and finding creative ways to get your book into their hands.
It’s no secret that writing a book is only half the battle. Once you’ve finished your manuscript, you must face the daunting task of promoting it. And if you want your book to be successful, you need to start promoting it well before it’s even published.
One of the best ways to create buzz around your book is to start writing articles related to its subject. If you can get your articles published in high-profile places, the better. But even if you only get them published on your blog or website, that’s still valuable exposure.
The key is to start getting people talking about your book well in advance of its release date. The sooner you start, the better your chance of making a real impact.
Don’t be afraid to brag about your book everywhere and consistently! You need to sell more books to get social proof that your book is great.
Self-publishing Is A Lot Of Work
There’s no denying that self-publishing is a lot of work. There’s a lot to do, from writing and editing your book to designing a stunning cover to formatting your pages and promoting your work. And if you’re not careful, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But the rewards can be great.
Seeing your name in print, holding your book in your hands, and knowing that you’ve accomplished something so few people do is incredible. So if you’re thinking about self-publishing, don’t be discouraged.
Just remember that it takes more than talent to find success. It takes dedication, tenacity, and a whole lot of heart. But if you’re willing to put in the hard work, the rewards will be more than worth it.