Four Secrets to Success in Self-Publishing

Self-publishing no longer has stigma attached to it, as savvy literary agent Rachelle Gardner recently noted in her blog, answering the question that is on every writer's mind: Will Self-Pubbing Hurt My Chances?

As far as she's concerned, "the answer is...NO. Self publishing will probably not hut your chances of traditional publishing." By "self-pubbing" agent Gardner meant e-book publishing - not going to a vanity press. Not worrying about having your book in print, only an e-version on as many e-readers as possible (Kindle, Nook, iPad etc). Provided you're careful at putting out a quality product. She advised "be ready to pay for help in editing, design and e-book coding if you need to".

I'm self-pubbed too (a YA paranormal/historical romance - see right top corner of my blog) and I tried my utmost to produce a quality product, including using help for file conversion to e-publishing and the title design on the book cover (no need for an illustrator - I used one of my own paintings for that). BookBaby did the work for me and I'm quite happy with the way it looks...Why did I self publish? Because it was such an unusual book that I had a hard time getting an agent interested in it. It just didn't fit  into any pre-established genre - except YA literature which is where genres tend to mix (that YA literature is so flexible is interesting and worth another post on its own). I had  published a first version of the book in Italy with a traditional publisher and it had been very successful locally. So I rewrote it for the American market in English (the original is in Italian) and put it on the Kindle (and elsewhere) last month. It's too soon to know how it'll fare, but before self-pubbing I carefully researched the publishing industry (I'm not a trained economist for nothing!).

And I found some very interesting things.

I found that, in addition to putting out a "quality product", there are quite clearly 4 known secrets to successful self-publishing:

1. adopt a price that is a promotional ploy and triggers impulse buying: 99 cents is preferred. Look at how John Locke has been successful, selling 1,000,000 books in 5 months! It works up to the $2.99 level (where Amazon starts paying 70% - at the lower levels it leaves you with only 30% of the price); a "sweet spot" for established self-pubbed authors may be around $4 but not above: that's what J.A.Konrath found.

2. pick a "niche" or "genre" that is currently fashionable and known to sell: eg. YA paranormal like Amanda Hocking or sexy thrillers like John Locke or J.A. Konrath.

3. put up more than one title for sale: Amanda Hocking started with a trilogy, John Locke has a series. It doesn't matter as long as it's a number of books: that makes you look like a professional writer.

4. market your book everywhere on Internet (FB, Twitter, on your blog) but don't kill yourself doing it: the key to success here is to have lots of readers reviews...

I don't know whether this will work for me, but that's what I've learned about self-publishing and I'm happy to share the knowledge!

Do let me know whether you found more secrets for successful self-publishing.
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