Tag Archives: #marketing

Stop procrastinating on… self publishing tips #6

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 🙂

Stop procrastinating on… self publishing tips #5

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.

Stop procrastinating on… self publishing tips #4

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.

work-17886631-supplementary2-u-clock

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.

Marketing or procrastination?

There’s a term called ‘productive procrastination’. It means you’re procrastinating on something by doing something else. The good thing about it is: you get something done. The bad thing about it is, well… let’s leave that for later. Because it depends on how you treat yourself.

I planned to do my administration yesterday. I didn’t do it (never mind the reasons) so I planned it again today. I consider it a priority. It HAS to get done, it won’t go away if I don’t do it. My accountant needs time to hand in my stuff before the end of the month. So there’s sort of a deadline (yes, ‘sort of’ is not the most helpful type of deadline, there’s room for improvement there).

I’m afraid it’s easy to guess what happened. I procrastinated. I started by doing something else when I came home tired from fysiotherapy. Last week a fan asked me if my Procrastination Coach merchandise was still available on RedBubble. I hadn’t looked on there for a long time, so I decided to put ‘check RedBubble’ on my to do list. To do some time… Today seemed a good day for a fun little task.

One thing led to another. I designed new products on Redbubble. I added pins of my stuff to Pinterest. I posted on Facebook that RedBubble has a discount today. I twittered about the stuff I have on there. I rearranged some of my Pinterest boards to have a better picture as a first view. One thing lead to another, my administration isn’t done – and I’m writing a blog post now.

Has this been productive? Yes? Does it feel good? A little? Does it feel bad? That too… Was it procrastination? Yes. Definitively. Do I count it as productive procrastination? Yes, up to a certain point. It’s time to stop and switch now.

I’m used to procrastinating on my administration. My quarterly taxes always need digging. Digging through files, digging through e-mails. Logging in to places that have digital invoices. And digging through piles to find where I left my paper receipt this time.

I’m fully aware WHY I procrastinate on it. I know I dread the process, because I always end up feeling like an unorganised idiot. Even when I’ve tried to be more organised this time. So what I avoid is not the actual work, but the feeling it brings me.

I make sure to schedule my administration when I still have some time to procrastinate on it. Giving in to the urge to procrastinate for a day or two, seems to be easier for me than to fight the fight to get it done simply because I tell myself I HAVE TO. My inner anti-authoritarian starts playing up too much in those cases. I’m not buying the “I have to” when I know there’s time left. My inner anti-authoritarian simple crosses its arms, looks at me defiantly, and says “no, not yet”.

My work is about creating ways for you that work. If I beat myself up too much over procrastinating, the strategy of ‘productive procrastination’ is not the best. It will make me feel like I fail, which decreases my self confidence, which is… yes, a well-known trigger for procrastination.

If I accept that administration is a Thing for me, I can find a way to work with that. Like plan in time to procrastinate on it. Ideally, I do things in that time that I normally tend to procrastinate on. Like marketing. Or tidying up (when I’ll probably start finding some of the receipts already.

Marketing? Done. Blog post? Done! Next up: some tidying. Tomorrow… My administration. That’s a promise!