Thursday, February 27, 2014

How successful will I be if I self publish?

There are many reasons why a person can self publish. Research seems to indicate that most self publishers are more than aware that they may not hit the jackpot with their book, but do it anyway because it brings them satisfaction. What's more, they would do it again too.

Yet, there's that small part within us that wants our book to do well. It's all very good to say that we aren't bothered about the numbers, but it still has a pleasant ring to it when we say, “I just sold a hundred thousand copies”. Who wouldn't want to be in that position?

So just how successful will you be if you go the self publishing route?

There's no easy answer to this question because there's a lot of “depends” in it. For example, how many copies you sell “depends” on how many people hear about you. It also “depends” on the number of years that you put your book out there. And of course it “depends” on how good your book is.

Granted, these may be obvious, but there are a number of factors that aren't. For example, if you are exploring the self publishing route, then you'd definitely have heard of the book “50 shades of grey” by Erika Leonard. She has sold more than 70 million copies of the 50 shades trilogy and is hailed as the most successful self published author in our times. Yet, there are a few things that were factors in her success that most of us don't know.

Erika Leonard did not start off by writing a book. She started off by writing a blog where she published short fiction stories. She wrote the book only after her blog had attracted a number of loyal readers who commented favorably about her writing. And when she published her book, she had a ready lot of people who were willing to buy her book and give it that initial boost that all of us want. The rest, as they say, is history.

Most of us, including me for that matter, concentrate so much on writing the book, that we don't realize that the only way a book is going to be successful is if the people out there know that we have a book for sale. We concentrate so much on making the book available, that we don't stop for a moment to think that this is not enough. We have to make people aware of it.

This is where traditional publishers have the upper hand. They have the financial clout to ensure that they smother the market. And if the book is any good, this alone will ensure its success.

What we, as self publishers have to do is to spend a bit of time in building up to our book. Just having friends and family buy our book is not enough. How many of us can count on at least 20 people who will purchase our books? We need more people to buy our book and leave a good remark or rating so that others will buy it too. And the only way to do this is to create a “fan following”.

Doing this serves two purposes;

1. It gives that initial push that all of us need.

2. It gives us an idea of how good our writing is. If we get people who return to our blogs because they like our writing, then we know for a fact that we are, in the least, better than average. No hits means that there's still a lot of work ahead of us before we can think of bringing forth that book from our head into the screen.

Of course 70 million is a huge number and is a tough number to break. I'm not saying that this kind of success awaits all of us. Definitely not. What I am saying is that this will ensure that we get at least a few hundred copies sold in the initial few months which will hopefully translate to a few thousand copies.

This will give you the confidence as well as the experience to write another one which will hopefully do much better than the first one, and that's how you get started on the ladder which leads to success.

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