All these weeks of writing, editing, more revisions, cover design, formatting, and more led to the final step of publishing which I discussed last week here in case you missed it. So we’re done here, right?
Once you’re done with the publishing process, wait for the book to go live for readers to see and buy. This depends on the retailer, but it normally falls within 72 hours or less. If you have multiple formats, link them together. For example, KDP Select allows you to link your eBook and print book together. Now that your book is officially published, you can breathe a sigh of relief. But your work is not over as a self-publisher. Far from it! Publishing your book is just the start of the next phase.
The book is not the only thing you have to sell. It’s you. If you want people to trust your book, they need to trust you. Whether you are selling on your author site or Amazon, you need to think about personal branding as a self-published writer. In basic terms you want to position yourself as someone they can trust will deliver on the promises made by the blurb and cover. Think about your background and experience to speak on a topic. This is critical especially for nonfiction writers. Your brand can also reflect your demeanor (e.g. witty, optimistic, serious, etc.), your values (family-oriented, career-oriented, religious/spiritual, etc.), work ethic, and more. All of these reflect your personal brand. Whether you are interacting with fans on social media, handing out business cards in your local bookstores, or blogging, you want the image you project to be consistent. Make it a positive impression.
Readers are curious to learn about the person behind the book. After you publish the book, get started on writing your author bio. If you are publishing through Amazon, I strongly advise setting up a profile on Amazon’s Author Central and coming up with an author bio that tells readers about yourself. You can include facts like your name/penname, where you live, your other books, hobbies or interests. Highlight something unique about yourself. If you are writing nonfiction, think about how you can establish yourself as the expert of your topic or what makes you passionate about the subject. You control what details to include or leave out. Just make it interesting. You may even intrigue them to follow you or check out your other books.
This is also the time to be actively promoting your book. You can’t publish your book and hope that readers will find it. Unless you are very fortunate to have movers and shakers in the industry, you bear the responsibility of promoting your book if you want to position it to your target readers. Hopefully, if the content is well written and edited and the packaging reflects well on the content, this will put you in a better position to market your book.
Tips for post-launch:
- Continue collecting reviews. Post any editorial reviews on your sales page.
- Wait two weeks after you publish to do a full-blown launch with ads whether you go with Amazon, BookBub, Book Sends, or one of the book promotion sites I have listed on my Additional Resources page.
- If you have some graphic design skills create your own ads using online tools Canva or Edit or consult with your cover designer.
- Drop your price the day before your launch to 99 cents.
In the days, weeks, and months ahead you want to check the performance of your book. Some distributors, such as KDP Select and Smashwords, provide a dashboard tracking the sales and downloads you make. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get the results you were expecting right away. You can go back and change your categories and keywords. However, if you executed each of the steps well, you shouldn’t need to make any major changes to your book at this point.
But don’t forget that after you publish, this is also the time to continue writing. Even if your book is not getting the traction you hoped for, don’t give up. It may take more titles before you hit your stride and start making a profit. I’ve heard the sage advice from many writers that with each title you release, you are indirectly boosting the sales for your previous books. The idea behind that is if readers like your book, they will naturally look for other titles you have out. Chances are if they liked the first book, they are more likely to read your other books.
Publishing more books not only makes you a more seasoned writer but also helps you build a loyal fan base. It also generates more sales across your titles if you run promotions or ads. Therefore, it makes more sense to spend more on marketing when you have multiple titles versus having only one book under your name. So, with your first book, don’t spend too much on marketing. Focus more on delivering a quality product and getting reviews. Any extra marketing you do should be to create visibility. To everyone reading this, just remember self-publishing is not a race. So learn to enjoy the journey. It takes concerted effort and perseverance to achieve your publishing goals. Understand that the journey will not be the same for every writer, nor should you expect to achieve the same results. Not everyone will hit the best sellers list with their first book or even the 2nd book. Nor will you be able to quit your day job just yet. But remember, you get to define what success looks like for you! So, celebrate each milestone you reach, learn from your mistakes, and continue pushing to be the best writer you can be.