The Self-publishing journey – Listen – it’s not all about me you know… (update 4)

It was hard work but you got there. You created a piece of literary art and you finally got to press the “publish” button on Amazon. You built it and now they will come…but they didn’t. Hopefully, the reason why they did not come is not because it is rubbish but because they don’t know about it.

It comes as a shock to many self-publishers that, having written a book, they then have to sell it. Most people are uncomfortable with the idea of selling. It’s a bit grubby and demeaning. You can tell a battle hardened salesman by his flat nose and bruised toes, both injuries having been caused by slamming doors.

I, myself, personally have learnt to accept the literal meaning of “self-published”. There are thousands of guide books on this subject. They should all be categorised on the D.I.Y. shelf.

The broad thrust of the advice given in these “how to” books is that the self-publisher must harness the power of social media. A strategy must be devised to create awareness of your great work using the power of Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, your own website and whatever else you choose. All your efforts must be focussed on driving traffic to the “buy” button – either on your website or directly to Amazon etc.

These efforts must be subtle and must not be seen as a disguised version of “please buy my book”. The big reader/author websites, like Goodreads, urge wannabe best-selling authors to be nice, polite, helpful and giving. They must participate energetically in discussions. Useful information and advice must be given. Detailed and professional books reviews must be offered. That seems like way too much work for a dubious return. Authors selling to authors is not an efficient use of one’s time.

Potential customers also try to be nice. For example, they place your book on their virtual “to read” shelf. That’s cruel. You high five when you see you have another “to read” customer. Then you dig a little deeper and find that your book is 547th on their list. Your only hope is that these keeno readers have bionic eyes which can speed read 100 books each simultaneously.

Self- publishing does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s DIY. That’s the deal and if you get a great buzz (like I do ) each and every time the Amazon sales graph stops dragging along the bottom and shoots skyward – then just keep doing what you’re doing.

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