Guess who procrastinated on sharing this with you…? I did. My excuse is that National Poetry Month has my focus now, but the real reason is that I didn’t want to bother people. They might not be interested in reading about my free poetry book just because it’s written by someone who also writes about procrastination.
Strange how a simple deadline makes all the difference. I still don’t want to bother people, but now that it’s only free for another 3 hours and 20 minutes (at least in my time zone) my perspective changed into: “but people might actually want to know that”.
All procrastinators know the magic a deadline can work I think. But in case you need it as a tip:
What ‘thing’ can you create a deadline around to help you get it done, or help ypu get it done sooner?
Finally! Monday November 2nd, at 20h Dutch time (convert to your time here) we will PARTY! You’re invited 🙂 We’re going to celebrate with you that our book is going live on Amazon! And we want to show how beautiful it is You’ll get to see all the photographs in the coffee table book version. Angela will read some of the poems (requests are welcome), you can ask questions… There’s 40 minutes of time to be together and go ‘wow’
Let me know if you want to be sent be the login details for the party. It will not be recorded. It will probably be on Zoom, but I’m checking different options as well.
A special message for my Introverted friends: feel free to leave your camera off or anything else that makes you feel comfortable in what we hope will be a gathering of more than just my…
Now that my first books are out, I have to learn more about self-publishing. How to do it in a way that works? I used to think hitting the ‘publish now’ button would be the end of my work on a book. It’s not. Unless I want it to just sit there and not be sold. It’s been a a few weeks since I wrote tip #5. Since then, I’ve 99% finished the next book I’m going to publish, which is poetry (mine) and photography (my brilliant mother’s). The closer I am to launch, the more nervous I get.
… thinking ahead
Create a launch team. Do key word research. Discover that it’s possible to add your book in 10 categories on Kindle. Trigger the Amazon algorithm. Know what your readers like and adjust for that… There’s SOOOOOO much you can do to help a book sell well. Or, that you can forget, and unwillingly make your book invisble. It’s dazzling. Luckily, we don’t have to figure everything out ourselves.
How to get to Amazon best seller status
I’m in the free Self-Publishing Made Simple Facebook group that Emee Vida Estacio created. She specialises in self-publishing on Amazon, and the people in her group have a tendency to earn Amazon’s best seller badge. Not because they’re lucky, but because they do the right things. It makes me long to make my book a best seller too, or at least a good seller.
Emee was interviewed by author Kim Vermaak. In this video she explains more about the tips I mentioned. And at the end of the interview, she explains the challenges of imposter syndrome. You know, the idea that the others are really good but you’re a fraud? They are the real deal, you are just faking it?
Imposter syndrome and self sabotage
Imposter syndrome makes self-publishing harder. It makes procrastination more likely, because you don’t have faith in your ability to succeed. It can invoke unhealthy perfectionism: you work too hard, because you can’t feel when good enough is really good enough. It makes writing a good blurb for your book harder, because it feels like bragging (Emee called me out on that one, thank goodness. I’m now willing to believe the absolutely wonderful things the preface writers write in the book). Imposter syndrome can make you afraid to ask for feedback (which all of us need to make the best book we can!). It can make you shy in inviting people for your launch team. Etc.
Emee’s tip is to don’t fight it – after all that’s fighting your self. But you can check if the imposter messages are actually true, logical and constructive? If it’s not true, great! If it’s not logical, you mind find it easier to put it aside. And the even better news? Any self-criticism that’s true, logical and constructive can be met with a solution or plan.
On my way to best seller status?
I don’t know yet. After watching the video my already daunting to do list grew – but at least I had a sense of what I should prioritise. I was surprised by Emee’s suggestion to start creating a launch team at least six weeks before launch. I’m happy I did though. It made me make a website for my book, to I could inform potential team members what the book is like. It made me sign up for Mail Lite and learn about subscription forms and newsletter stuff. So I can easily communicate with the people who help me out. And send all of them the PDF of my book in one go. Those six weeks that seemed like ages, are flying by. I’m not even sure I dare to pick a launch date, even though the last edits will be a piece of cake.
I’ll share my experiences in a next blog post. In the meanwhile, if you want to have a look at the book or sign up for the launch team, this is the place to visit.
In case you’re wondering why I promote Emee’s group here… It’s out of thankfulness. I appreciate the support and knowledge we receive. It makes me want to pay it forward 🙂
Now that my first books are out, I have to learn more about self-publishing. How to do it in a way that works? I used to think hitting the ‘publish now’ button would be the end of my work on a book. It’s not. Unless I want it to just sit there and not be sold. It’s been a while since I wrote tip #4. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about marketing self-published books. My main take away? It would have been better to learn this before From Do it Later to Do it Now in Ten Days went live 🙂
… deciding on “wide” versus Amazon only
I do things the experimental way. I try out something, see how I like it, then make adjustments. So From Do it Later to Do it Now in Ten Days started as a paperback on Amazon, before I even realised there were other options too. Meer dan wat het oog ziet (English edition coming soon!) started on Blurb, because it needed great print quality to show the intense beauty of the pictures. The drawback? Most people buy there books in other places.” Acting experimentally, these first books are now wide, or wide-ish. Which means you can buy them on more than one platform.
My experiences in self-publishing wide
First of all: it’s fun. Second: it’s chaotic. Third: you need to learn about every platform to make it work. Four: it leaves lots of room to experiment. Five: each platform brings it own frustrations.
Wide is fun
It’s great to see your book in different places. It tickles that happy sense of ‘look, I’m an author!’ It makes your book available in the most places and the greatest variety of devices. You can tour your own book: Look, it’s on Amazon! Cool, the Apple store. Yay, Kobo. Yes, the Google Play store! Not to mention Scribd… or print on demand world wide through Ingram Spark (I’m not on there yet).
To summarise: it brings joy.
Wide is chaotic
One of the reasons why I’m listing all the places above, is that I totally lose track of where my books are. What links I can share with people if they’re interested. Where I can promote. Where I might need to track prices. Amazon demands to be the lowest price provider, and makes a problem of your prices being lower anywhere else. But a platform like Google Play Books might make a promotion for your book (lowering the price) without you even knowing it.
To summarise: It’s hard to keep track of everything and make you sure you do things the right way on every platform.
Tip: I’ve made a spread sheet with the links for every book, so that I’m able to find all of them.
Wide takes a lot of learning
I’m not sure if I’ve already figured out all the things that are different on the different platforms. Technique and requirements vary. Promotional opportunities? Completely different in their ways and availability. Filling out their different forms to set up your book is not simply copy-paste. I could go on. This can put you off, or it can turn you on. I happen to like learning, so for me it’s okay.
Side note: There are intermediaries who solve part of this problem, like PublishDrive. They can get your book in many platforms in one go, and help in promoting it. Even then, most experts seem to agree that it’s STILL wise to do Amazon yourself, unless you don’t mind losing money.
Tip: start the learning as soon as you can. Through podcasts, Facebook groups, YouTube… There’s a lot of great, free content out there.
Wide leaves room to experiment
I get curious around a lot of the opportunities, like the promotional feautures. On Amazon, for e-books you can choose the be part of the Kindle Unlimited Program, which means your book is not allowed to be sold anywhere else. Will that benefit the sales of More than meets the I, or not? In the Google Play store you can promote your book by lowering the price, which I like because it feels like gifting a present to potential readers. On Kobo… I think I’ve found out how I can promote on there, but I need the English version of my poetry/photography book before I’m eligible for their campaigns.
For me, the main thing is that curiosity helps me get things done. I want to play with the different opportunities and see how they work for me. Both when it comes to sales, but also in enjoying the process. In the Google Play store, I sometimes do count-up campaigns for my procrastination book. (There’s one running now!) It starts one day at 0.99, and the prices increases one by one everyday for nine days, until it’s back at full price. I do believe 0.99 is way too cheap for what the book has to offer, but doing it this way makes me chuckle.
Tip: Find what works for you. You’ll be less likely to procrastinate.
Different platforms bring different frustrations
Don’t get me started. This post is long enough already… I think it’s fair to say that self-publishing is a frustrating process, but that it’s worth it 🙂
How to decide on publishing wide versus Amazon only?
Some experts swear by Amazon only. Others by wide. And there’s people who go wide for a short while, then go KDP unlimited to create a great ranking, then go back to wide. Anything is possible, and it depend on what you want. To learn the ins and outs of one place and get really good at it? To not be dependent on one platform? Here’s some info that might help you decide:
Tip: Choose a strategy now, and work towards that. You can always change it later.
Or… how to not procrastinate on selling your books – by creating a discount.
I’m experimenting with the promotions feature on Google Play books today. I don’t like advertising, so I was searching for different ways to promote From do it Later to Do it Now in Ten Days – my anti-procrastination workbook that a friend described as “too short and practical to procrastinate on”.
Takes you to the book
Day 1 – 0,99
Day 2 – 1,99
Day 3 – 2,99
Day 4 – 3,99
Day 5 – 4,99
Day 6 – 5,99
Day 7 – 6,99
Day 8 – 7,99
Day 9 – 8,99
From hurdle to anti-procrastination tip
My book has been in the Google Play Store for a while now, and I never figured out how I could promote it. Not because I didn’t have the time, just because I didn’t feel like it.I realised today that I’ve simply been procrastinating on it, for reasons that are quite common. I’ve listed the main ones here, and added a tip:
As long as it’s unknown, I won’t use it -> Plan a test/an experiment sooner rather than later.
Limiting thoughts: “It’s probably difficult“-> You won’t know until you try (and in this case it wasn’t)
“I don’t know the right price” -> That can be part of the experiment. I decided to create 9 different days of discount, with an increasing price level. Day 1 = 0,99, day 2 = 1,99, etc. Bonus: it saves people from thinking too much. Today is cheaper than tomorrow.
Things I learned about Google Play while I was figuring this out
I always forget where I can log in as an author on Google Play. It’s here.
In the analytics and reports page, you can’t see your analytics unless you download them. Unlike Amazon, that shows you graphs etc. of your sales almost live.
The promotions page is easy to figure out, even when it says you need a to upload a CVS file. They provide a template and a filled out sample, so it doesn’t need much thinking.
When you click through the pages you may find new options you’ve never noticed before. I don’t have a clue where I found that QR-code I’ve just cut and pasted, but it’s a nice feature 🙂
The sale starts on July 13th, and ends on July 22nd. It’s only on Google Play, because that’s where I’m experimenting today. If you prefer paper over digital books, you can buy the paperback on Amazon.com (or UK, DE, NL, CA, JP, IT, ES, FR).
Interview on procrastination with yours truly. It was done before the corona crisis reached my life.
Rest assured: corona anxiety induced procrastination is perfectly normal. As is the opposite: getting things done you normally don’t.
I’d love to hear if you procrastinate more, less, or just as much in these strange times of quarantaine and lockdowns. Personally, I get less done. I blame home schooling, but I think I’m also simply unsettled.
Now that my books are on Amazon, I have to learn more about self-publishing. How to do it in a way that works? I used to think hitting the ‘publish now’ button would be the end of my work on a book. It’s not. Unless I want it to just sit there and not be sold. It’s been a month since I wrote tip #3. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about marketing self-published books. My main take away? It would have been better to learn this before From Do it Later to Do it Now in Ten Days went live 🙂
A good start matters more than I knew…
Yesterday I read somewhere that the first 90 days on Amazon are the most important ones. When I tried to find out why, I found this:
“Much of your book’s new release mojo wears off after 30 days (when it’s no longer eligible for the Hot New Release lists, among other on-site placements). This dips a bit further after 60 days, before the rest vanishes after 90 days. [..] Practically speaking, this makes it harder for an even four or five month old book to keep riding high in the charts. Amazon’s algos just don’t shower these “older” books with the same love as new titles.”
Hence the author of these words, Nicholas Erik recommends building your sales steadily in the first 90 days. I’m going to check out his Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing to learn more.
I spent much of those first 90 days being happily flabbergasted that I suddenly had a book on Amazon. It was not a new book. I had created the workbook years ago for my course on procrastination, and people could buy the PDF through my website. After my web designer put it on Amazon for me, as a paperback, my only marketing was sharing ecstatic joy on social media. Which is great for likes and feeling good, but not a very effective marketing strategy – even when it brought in my first sales.
My tip: start now
If you can, start learning about book marketing in the period that you’re still writing and editing your book. It can be easy and fun, for example by listening to podcasts.
My favourite ones at the moment:
The Creative Penn Podcast
The Branding Outside the Box Podcast
The Sell More Books Show
Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing
One of the practical things about self-publishing podcasts, is that the hosts tend to get invited on each other’s shows. So by starting on one, you can easily find new ones. Since you’ll have your own taste in what you want to learn or who you like to listen to, simply starting on one may be the easiest way to find your personal favourites.
In one of my next posts, I’ll write about what I’ve learned about marketing so far, and what I would do differently if I launched my book again. I’ve learned SO much that writing the post will help me organise my thoughts.
Why a door at the top of this post? Well, it’s #ThursdayDoor. I normally participate from my poetry blog, but I really wanted to write this post today. I don’t know much about this door, my mother took the picture. I do know that the process of writing and self-publishing can feel like a closed, well locked door. It’s felt like that for years to me.
I’m glad this has changed. Submitting poetry and flash fiction to magazines turns out to be a satisfying process for me, even when it comes with rejections. To have a procrastination book on Amazon, a creative book (English version coming soon) and four beautiful note books… It feels great. Even when the marketing learning curve is impressive.
For more doors, hop over to #ThursdayDoor creator and host Norm. I’m a fan. New gems every week. Nice people too.
Never thought I’d need a page to keep track of where my note books are available, but here it is! There are three designs now, and the next one will be added as soon as it has passed the Amazon review process. I have bought a number of these myself, because I like them so much.
How many of us feel that sharing reviews is beating our own drums? Now that I have a book on Amazon, I have to learn more about self-publishing. How to do it in a way that works? One thing that can help your book is reviews, from other people than family and friends (Amazon policies forbid those).
Many resources give tips on where and how to get reviews. I may write on that later. But what to do when you’ve received your reviews? Do you let them sit quietly in your account? Or do you dare to share that people enjoyed your work? By talking about it, sharing it on social media, or in any other place that’s not the online shop itself?
If you notice judgments or negative thoughts around this idea, you may want to try this out. I’ve adjusted the How to get unblocked tool to help you challenge your thoughts. If this short version doesn’t work for you, you can try the woebot app, which helps you navigate through unhelpful thinking in an effective (and fun!) way.
A simple tool to help you challenge your thinking
Write down the thoughts that hold you back
For each thought, ask your self: – Is this true? – Is this thought helpful? – Would I agree if my best friend had this thought? – What would I think about this in 5 years – What would [your favourite hero/role model] think? – Or any other question that helps you challenge the thought
Rewrite the thoughts at #1 into more helpful ones you’re willing to believe
Example: How to share a positive review
1. Write down the thoughts that hold you back
People will get fed up with me.
(I’m choosing just one thought for now, for the sake of the length of this post)
2. For each thought, ask your self: – Is this true? – People will get fed up with me.
Some people might. Other people won’t care much. Many of the people that matter to me might even like to hear/read this, because they care about me and care about how I’m doing, and my book is part of that.
– Is this thought helpful? People will get fed up with me.
Obviously not 🙂 Thought it may inform me that I want to think about how I share it. In which circumstances, how often, etc. My Facebook friends will get fed up with me if I substitute our normal interaction for constant info about my book. – Would I agree if my best friend had this thought? People will get fed up with me.
I’d stimulate her to find ways of sharing the reviews that are a bit outside her comfort zone, but still suit who she is. So she can try it out safely, and see what happens. – What would I think about this in 5 years? – People will get fed up with me.
It would probably be something I hardly remember worrying about.
– What would [your favourite hero/role model] think? – People will get fed up with me.
My heroes tend to be people who don’t care too much about what others thinks of them, or did what they wanted to do and believed in anyway.
– Or any other question that helps you challenge the thought…
3. Rewrite the thoughts at #1 into more helpful ones you’re willing to believe
If you’re impatient like me, you may not even need this step by the time you’ve done one and two. In this phase, when I can choose between doing more writing, or simply doing it, I lean towards action. So I’ll copy and paste a review I received today right now, at the bottom of the post. I will add the rewrite as an example anyhow, to properly finish my example:
As long as I don’t exaggerate, it will be fine to share a good review and celebrate that I’m happy with it! I worked hard on creating this, and it’s nice to celebrate that people are having a good experience because of it.
And now for the lovely review I received today:
I absolutely loved Angela’s course. Having known for years that I procrastinate and having tried different methods – I can vouch that this one really works. I nowadays ‘eat a frog’ every morning, and I am getting so much more done. Often once I have eaten the frog, do I realize that it wasn’t that hard or complicated at all! Breaking your task down in chunks and telling people about it is a good one too. I tell my kids about it; they ask me at the weirdest moments whether I have actually done my task, so that makes me do it quickly so that I can give a positive answer, when the question comes my way.
Many thanks to Angela – and I hope to see more books from her!
Now that I have a book on Amazon, I have to learn more about self-publishing. How to do it in a way that works? All sources agree that finding the keywords is, well, key. But I feel this reluctance to get it done. So I’ve adjusted the How to start tool slightly. Again, there are three simple steps. I’ll share these first, and then apply them to my own example.
A simple tool to help you get unblocked
Identify your block. Examples:
– I don’t know where to start
– I don’t know how to do this
– I don’t feel confident enough to work on this
– I don’t have the means to do this
– I don’t want to do it
Think of three strategies you could try to tackle that block
For all three strategies, ask your self: – Does this combine with who I am and how I work? – How likely am I to procrastinate on this one (and why)? – Does it actually contribute to what I want to get done?
Example: How to start doing keyword research
1. Identify your block.
I don’t know where to start, I don’t know how to do it, I don’t feel confident enough to work on this.
Looking at these three blocks is already helpful. No wonder I haven’t done keyword research yet. It suddenly makes sense, which feels very different from blaming myself for procrastination.
I don’t want to use all three for the next step (too much work), but I think I don’t have to. Probably, when I know how to do it I’ll feel more confident and I’ll know where to start. So for now, I don’t know how to do it is the block I choose to work on.
2. Think of three strategies you could try to tackle the block.
A) Google B) Watch YouTube clips C) Ask someone who knows how to do it for help
3. For all three things, ask yourself:
– Does this combine with who I am and how I work?
– How likely am I to procrastinate on this one (and why)?
– Does it actually contribute to what I want to get done?
It combines with who I am, but I’ll use DuckDuckGo instead.
I think I’ll do it straight after this post, I’m curious now.
It will contribute, if I don’t fall into the trap of endless googling, as a means to postpone. So I’ll create a time box: 30 minutes of research is max. If I don’t start after that, I may need to check for more or other blocks.
B) Watch YouTube
Does that combine with me? Mwah. I’m not a big fan of watching YouTube to gather information. It seems fast, but it’s often not in-depth enough for me. Also: too much talking that isn’t relevant, which exhausts my head.
Definitely a procrastination risk. There’s SO much on YouTube, how to choose? Also, I like my learning with less distractions, so I’d not be looking forward to doing it.
It would contribute, I expect tips that you can apply straight away. Maybe I’ll watch some, but it shouldn’t be my main strategy for this.
C) Ask someone who knows how to do it for help
I’d rather not. I’m the type of person who thinks I should try first, and only ask for help after I’ve tried. What I could do for this strategy, is ask in the relevant Facebook groups if people have favourite resources they’re willing to share.
A high procrastination risk for me, unless I choose the alternative I just came up with (ask for favourite resources).
It will contribute IF I take the next steps and work with the info I’ve gathered. Nothing will happen if I don’t start trying things out. If that happens, I may need to check for more blocks.
Just by being in the Facebook groups I’ve already learnt some possibilities for keyword research:
Emee, of Self Publishing Made Simple recommended Publisher Rocket in her latest Facebook live. I’ve heard it mentioned in PodCasts, on YouTube, all of which gives me the impression that it might be The Solution to my keyword questions. I’d buy it straight away because the price looks reasonable. But money is an issue at the moment, so I can’t.
Yesterday I tried out the Amazon Keyword Organizer, offered by HiddenGemsBooks. Which helped me realise I could use more keywords than I was using, and it put them in efficient combinations for me. Obviously, it makes the most sense to use this AFTER you do your keyword research, but since my book is on Amazon already this was a quick win.
The strategy I choose for today will be 30 minutes of googling, on DuckDuckGo.
If you have any favourites, please let me know in the comments. There’s SO much to learn that I expect it will stay a regular topic for me in 2020.