Having worked with over 1000 authors on promoting their books, I’ve seen pretty well everything. From ugly and bad to good, fabulous and absolutely amazing.
It is understandable that new authors and self-publishers make mistakes (that’s HOW you learn). One mistake I see quite often is the concept of putting your toe into the water to check out the temperature.
Decades ago I spent my summers teaching kids how to dive. My advice was to never stick your toes into the water … just DIVE. If you test and the water is ice cold, you may never dive because … well, it’s COLD. If you just dive, you’ll get over the shock of cold fast and will keep diving and swimming until you warm up.
My advice for new self-publishers is …
Never TEST Just ONE Book! You’ve GOT TO Commit
MOST (there are always exceptions) one book authors never sell enough books to make a second and third book worth it.
From the buyers point of view — many book buyers don’t want to purchase from a one-book author. They want to know there is MORE if they like the first book they choose. Hmmmph! Turns out I am one of those people and I know there are at least two more just like me.
From the author’s side of things — the ramp up and learning curve (marketing and selling) for ONE book pretty well takes the same time and effort as it would for 5 or even 10 books. For example setting up a Facebook or Twitter account and building your following takes exactly the same time for one book as it would for five books. Ditto for initially setting up a website and newsletter.
Spend 100 hours learning about “marketing” for one book and the exact same knowledge can be used on the next 159 books.
OK, that’s your marketing platform. BUT there is MORE (no Ginsu knives involved). From the sales point-of-view I already talked about the reluctance of many readers to buy if all they can choose from is one book. BUT there is also the fact that IF a reader loves your book they want MORE. Not seeing more is disappointing AND as an author you have just lost out on multiple sales BIG TIME.
***ONE exception is IF you have a website/blog that is filled with additional information that can engage your audience further.
I encourage authors to write in series. I personally LOVE series and I know I am not alone in this.
A month ago I found a “new” (to me) author. I actually came across her book at a fund raising book sale – 50 cents.
The book turned out to be book number two in a trilogy. I LOVED IT! Even though it was a trilogy, each book was a stand alone read. I went searching for the other two books. Turns out she is a best selling author with over 10 series — many of them trilogies and other series with up to 10 books — in addition, she she participates in other “topic” series with other authors.
That one 50 cent purchase, has so far resulted in me purchasing and reading over 12 books with dozens left to go … AND her books are NOT cheap or discounted!
If you are wondering … the author is Lynette Eason and here is her book lineup https://amzn.to/3aNlCh4
Here’s what happens psychologically when you decide to test just one book first” before committing to diving in and becoming a self-published author:
You write your one book. You load it onto Amazon only to find out that Amazon does NOTHING to help you sell your book. It is UP to you. Only when YOU put in a major effort and start getting sales does Amazon start to help. The MORE you do, the MORE Amazon will help.
You hate SELLING and have NO idea what book marketing means. You go over to Fiverr and expect that a $15 purchase is going to catapult you into fame and fortune.
So you try again looking for a vendor who “knows what they are doing.” You ignore their advice to get some reviews because that’s HARD work.
Same zero result.
That’s it. You give up.
So here’s MY advice. Decide on a series and write all three (or at least the first two). As you are writing, you also start absorbing information about book marketing. You start setting up your author platform: your email newsletter list, your website, and your social media. You start learning about how to get advance reviews and set up a promo team.
You make SURE you have great book covers, look at best seller “descriptions” and start working on your own.
Then get book one edited – grammar perfect.
Now you start marketing in earnest. Set up a promo team and be prepared to supply them with everything they need in order to help you promote. Send emails to your list. Publish your website … announcing book one and talking about the upcoming books two and three.
Then FINALLY publish book one. Inside book one is information about the upcoming books two and three. Two weeks later publish book two. And two weeks later publish book three.
ALL of your marketing efforts should focus on Book ONE … and let book one sell the other two books for you.
Spend 30 to 60 minutes EVERY SINGLE DAY doing some marketing (getting reviews, updating your blog and your social media.) Set up automatic mini-marketing machines so you can keep marketing for 30 min a day, but produce way more than anyone would have thought possible.
Several years down the line you will have dozens of books, all selling each other.
When I picked up that 50-cent book-sale book, I had NO idea who Lynette Eason was … now I am a diehard fan and will read every single one of her books.
That’s the dream —
customers who will buy every
single one of your books.
You only get there by committing, NOT by testing just ONE book!
To make it as a successful author/self-publisher you HAVE TO DIVE IN, then dive again and again until you make it to HOT!