ASP 14: Answers to Your Top Self-Publishing Questions
Quote of the day:
“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”
— Philip Roth
To start, here is a bit of housekeeping info from Steve: We will be going back to episodes every Monday and Thursday, starting January 11.
Now on to our topic of the day: According to survey results, many authors need help with the fundamentals of self-publishing. They have a number of different challenges, which we will address.
1. Some are unable to finish books and projects.
Our suggestion is to not try to do everything all at once. You won’t make any progress if you do that. Focus on one thing at a time. Put your head down and see ONE project through, from start to conclusion. Doing everything all at once prevents you from celebrating small wins, so it’s better to do it in microsteps.
Barrie finds that the best way to facilitate that process is to get it out of your head and down on paper.
2. Others struggle with scheduling time to write every day.
Mark Dawson wrote on the train on his way to work, which was a very efficient use of his time. And eventually, being on the train become a trigger. It got to the point where he needed to write while on the train.
3. Some people are confused about and intimidated by marketing.
In this case, the best strategy is to have a process in place to deal with marketing. Have a checklist so you know what you need to get done—then simply follow the checklist!
4. Many people are overwhelmed by the process of publishing, marketing and selling a book.
It’s true—self-publishing can be overwhelming. That’s why you need to focus on your 80/20 activities. Take note of the few important/key things that bring you the most success and focus on those before everything else. These may include:
- Writing your book
- Building an email list
- Making connections with your audience
- Trying out paid advertising (which is what Steve is currently doing)
Focus on “just-in-time learning”—learning what you need to learn at the moment, but not wasting time on superfluous activities.
5. Choosing a profitable niche can also be a challenge.
Steve likes to focus on the 3 P’s: passion, profitability, and personal experience. There must be some interest in what you are writing—otherwise it won’t sell. And it helps if you enjoy talking about it. After all, you are writing a book about it! Check Amazon and look at the bestseller lists to see which topics are selling. And be flexible. You may find that your greatest success comes from being willing to learn about the topic that you’re not an authority on yet.
Barrie has found that many people have personal traits that they take for granted (such as leadership, being frugal, etc.), and that these can be great topics for books.
6. Knowing how to build an email list of book buyers can also be difficult.
Ron believes that it is very important to have a landing page with a lead magnet. As we have discussed before, a lead magnet is sort of like an ethical bribe—basically you offer something of value to people in exchange for their email address.
But Steve has found that a lead magnet doesn’t necessary have to be another book. You can create a checklist, a cheat sheet, a list of resources, or any number of other things that your readers might find useful. Create something that could help potential book buyers right away, or that solves an immediate need. An example is Eben Pagan as
Barrie has found a lot of success with quizzes and self-score assessments as her lead magnets.
Whatever you decide to use, it’s important that you have something.
7. One of the biggest deterrents in self-publishing is not feeling confident that people will like your book.
Steve is NEVER confident that people will like his books! In fact, he can guarantee that there will always be someone out there who will not like his book. Remember, you can always improve the book down the road. (You can edit or unpublish on Amazon, which is a great tool if a book is not doing well, or if it needs more work.) And even if something doesn’t do well, it can still be an asset. You can use it for a different purpose in the future. Do your due diligence, provide good value, and results will come.
One thing is certain—you will get better with experience. Self-publishing is a process of writing and learning, so keep a learner’s mindset. Everything is learnable, if you commitment and determination
8. But what if you don’t have a blog or other platform with which to build your following?
People tend to overemphasize building a platform. A blog is a good place to start, but ultimately, it’s more important to get your first book finished and ready for publishing. A platform will help you retarget. You can provide different useful offers to an audience that trusts you. So start with your book, then start building your email list, then develop a stellar blog. And make sure that your blog matches your book’s niche. You can even use guest posts to build credibility and attract traffic to your blog.
9. So how do you keep book sales strong after launch?
Self-publishing is not a “set it and forget it” process. You have to be proactive. Here are a few useful strategies:
- Run sales events: Take a group of your books and do Kindle Countdown Deals—maybe on holidays like Cyber Monday, Black Friday, or St. Patrick’s Day.
- Use PermaFree Books: Get people to join your email list and potentially buy your other books.
- Use book bundles.
- Leverage paid traffic: Steve is currently testing 75 different paid ads sites.
- Leverage your platform: Promote your books on your blog, or use HelloBar.
Hopefully this has gone a long ways towards helping you build your confidence and answered a few of your questions when it comes to self-publishing.
Speaking of publishing, our bestselling Breakthrough Series is available in a three-part video series. We go over a lot of challenges with you there. For more information, go to http://authority.pub/.
The Authority Self-Publishing course is also useful. It has six modules and helps you learn one thing at a time. Check it out!
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