I have published those top 3 self-publishing mistakes a few weeks ago…before I started my podcast. And I have now uploaded this post as a podcast episode as well…:-)
This is the first book in a series of standalone romance novels and I haven’t published anything in years and…I will change the price to $2.99 three days after publication. I will let you know how this strategy works and will go deeper into my release plan strategy for #TheLeftoverBride soon.
I have also purchased Publisher Rocket to try to change my keywords and categories. I’ve learned that one of my keywords had almost 0 searches. So, that was helpful to know 🙂
What is PublisherRocket you may ask? Short story: it is a dashboard that helps you search keywords and categories (among other things) and it helps you see how many times people have searched for certain keywords. I’ll let you know if investing in this too is helpful. I have used other keywords search in the past but they were pretty cumbersome to use. So far, PublisherRocket is very easy to use. And again does seem to help narrow keywords and categories.
Okay maybe that’s the best transition to my top 3 self-publishing mistakes…:-) But before I got into my own self-publishing mistakes, I do want to share this Bookbub article with you: How I Make Six Figures as a Self-Published Author by Ines Johnson.
In it, she shares some of her failures and how she has learned from them and now makes 6 figures as a self-published author. It is a really insightful and detailed post!
I failed. A lot. But each stumble taught me something and brought me closer toward the eventual path to success: I now make six figures as a self-published author. In this post, I’ll outline the top lessons I learned from these failures, so you can learn from my mistakes and get a leg up on your leap to six figures.Quote by Ines Johnson in How I Make Six Figures as a Self-Published Author by Ines Johnson.
You can also follow Ines on Bookbub.
What are my top 3 self-publishing mistakes?
How many times can I say self-publishing mistakes in this post? I mean the first one I mention I feel is a publishing mistake many authors can make. And let me preface this by saying that I love daydreaming. I still daydream.
- Thinking my book would become an instant best-selling success – just because it was good. Let me tell you, that’s not enough 😊. Rationally speaking, I knew it might not be the case, but I thought that most of the early reviews were so positive, even from people I had never met! That was mind-blowing, and I did daydream quite a bit. I still do daydream very often. I sometimes fall asleep dreaming about my books being picked up by Netflix or the Lifetime Movies Channel. Or I daydream about my Gavert City audiobook series being downloaded thousands of times with people raving about Megan’s narration (which they already do, but now we’d have thousands of downloads daily 😊). Anyways…back in 2014, a little part of me thought maybe I’d be that overnight success. The one people talk about, not realizing that overnight usually means years of writing and sometimes years of publishing. I read at the time about authors succeeding in self-publishing, but (a) I didn’t really define what succeeding would mean, (b) I didn’t have benchmarks.
Don’t get me wrong…I hadn’t left it all to sheer luck. Oh, no, no, no. I thought I had it all under control and was set for success. After all, I had a great cover, early reviews, and a release plan (with cover reveal, blog tours, Netgalley…). This meant I would release it and everyone would want to download it and I’d be set for success.
Spoiler alert: In June 2014, when I published ONE, TWO, THREE, I sold 45 copies…So. Not an overnight success. 😊 Granted, that book has now sold many more copies. It has also been picked up by a French publisher, and I even received a message from a French teenager who mentioned that this book, this little book of mine, has gotten her to love reading!
Sometimes, it feels that self-publishing is a sprint. And maybe sometimes it is. But not always…And marketing doesn’t stop with release month…
- Advertising to the wrong audience. When I first started self-publishing back in 2014, I thought it was essential to have a Facebook page with lots and lots and lots of followers – which may have been true if I had first analyzed the audience that would be most likely to buy my book. I went for a worldwide audience at a time where my books were (a) only in English, (b) on platforms that weren’t necessarily accessible to readers all around the world. And at that time, I was not really targeting my ads…
So yes, I had many followers, but not an enormous audience of readers interested in my books. This is a mistake I’ve made again but more structured, as I’m still trying to see what ads work the best for different audiences. I’ve succeeded in France (and I’ll get into it in my weekly newsletter in the coming weeks), but my conversion rate (how many people actually buy a book after clicking on a link) is still too low for the US market. But nothing…nothing compared to 7 years ago.
- Not focusing on my newsletter. I remember reading years ago…and I mean yeaaaaaaars ago how important it was to have a newsletter because social media algorithms change (and man, do they change). That way, you may build more of a connection with the reader. Some newsletters I subscribe to are only letting me know when the author has a new sale. Others are expanding on the books they’re reading, how they’re writing, maybe movies or podcasts they’re enjoying, or other things going on in their lives.
Have I ever bought or reviewed a book based on a newsletter? Yes. Yes, I have. I have a Facebook readers’ group (if you’re on there, thank you 😊), but I haven’t been spending a lot of time on Facebook. And I don’t have Facebook on my phone. And every single time I post something on my Facebook group, the reach (people who may see it in their feed) is about 35 to 50 out of more than 400 Facebook group members). More people open my emails. And it feels like people unsubscribe more when they’re no longer interested any long…. Still, I’m in Facebook groups I haven’t checked in probably years…so…yep, I’ve been refocusing on building my readers’ newsletter.
I do wonder about that new platform Facebook announced on March 16th. They’re getting into the newsletter subscription area and do mention also the use of groups in there. So, will that change the algorithm? Apparently, it might give writers more tools and could help in audience growth…but again, one might be dependent on changes…
Not like we’re also not dependent on changes with emails. When Google introduced the tabs in Gmail, some newsletters ended up in the Promotions tab, which is not necessarily read as often…Anyhow…😊
Not focusing on my newsletter was one of my self-publishing mistakes, mainly since I don’t publish a book every two months or so. Newsletters help me stay in touch with my readers in-between (which I love doing) and grow my audience.
And those are my top 3 self-publishing mistakes.
Again, if you’d like to see my top 5, you can just click here or on this cover, add your email and you’ll get access to the full pdf…
I’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks as well as what has worked for and my current publishing updates…including some stats about my bestselling format and platforms.
Thank you for reading!
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And you can listen to my podcast!
Let's talk Kindle Vella: metrics, bonus, and why I enjoy writing serialized fiction, too. – A self-published author's diary
- Let's talk Kindle Vella: metrics, bonus, and why I enjoy writing serialized fiction, too.
- BONUS – Three Black Friday Deals For Writers (2022)
- Defining "success" as a self-published author …
- Kickstarter for Authors: What To Do When Your Kickstarter Does Not Get Funded … (and what I would do differently)
- Ten days after my latest book release (sold copies, reviews and what comes next) and a peek inside this author's day on release day.
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If you have any questions about my adventures in self-publishing or anything I shared with you today, don’t hesitate to reach out and I’ll make sure to reply in my email next week.