Authors who self-publish, worry about sales for several reasons. Your sales can mean the difference between cat food and steak for dinner! The term “self-publish” means that the author alone is at the wheel without being able to rely on the Tesla self-driving mode. When you point to the reasons for success or failure, your finger points directly at your head!
The traditional method of publishing assumes that you, the author, will write the next Gone With The Wind. Then you ship off your manuscript to a major publisher and sit around, often for months, just to receive the dreaded rejection letter.
The typical publishing cycle for new or unknown authors means months of waiting and potential disappointment. But there is a better way!
What has to be appreciated is that there are thousands of other potential authors trying the same path of getting your story in front of the readers. It’s similar to growing up and wanting to be a basketball player when you are five feet tall. Plus, of course, is the ratio of professional basketball players to the population in the United States.
When there are a few hundred basketball players with over 300-million people, it’s easy to see that you have to have a tiny percentage of making the big times. As an author, it’s the same type of thing when you are going against famous authors such as Stephen King or James Patterson.
Go ahead and have a good cry, then get over it. You’re not a loser. You just need to take a different path.
First, look at what is called the Vanity Press. Vanity Press publishers make you pay a fee to publish your book. This insult on top of injury sort of like when you’re being raped, and you have to hold his balls up off the ground when he’s butt fucking you.
After paying hard-earned dollars to publish your book, what comes next? You end up with a garage full of unsold books that you’ve paid good money to print beforehand.
I have been writing and publishing erotic novels for close to eight years now and have learned some tips and tricks, often painful, to making money writing stories. Writing as Larry Archer, I came into this gig as an engineer by education and training. As a typical engineer, I tend to be anal and detail-oriented in a lot of things.
When I should be out hyping my stories, I’m often alone in my home office, trying to improve my methodology and craft. Currently, I’ve published over thirty novels and novellas to reasonably good reviews. I’m not James Patterson, yet I grovel at his feet for his skill in making a hundred million per year. Will I ever get there, no I doubt it, but I’m having fun.
After writing the next blockbuster, what’s an unknown author to do?
Self-publishing, of course!
Self-publishing is a no-cost method of publishing a story directly to a publisher without having to have your manuscript accepted. Of course, being accepted does not guarantee that anyone will buy your work of art.
The one skill no one seems to acknowledge is that the writer must be able to articulate a story someone else wants to read. It’s like the old story.
Ansel Adams and Ernest Hemmingway were having a drink at a bar. Hemmingway asked Ansel, “I love your pictures! What kind of camera do you use?” To that, Ansel replied, “I love your stories. What kind of typewriter do you use?”
I realize that a number of younger readers may ask, “What is a typewriter?” The lesson here is that equipment doesn’t make a writer good. Their brain is!
After publishing over thirty stories, now it’s easy to do. If you had asked me that question after I’d written my first story eight years ago, the answer would be completely different. But I can boil the solution to that question simply.
First, go to SmashWords.com and grab a free copy of Mark Coker’s publishing guide. It is over 100 pages, yet I would condense it to about ten pages. After reading Mark’s book, which applies to both SmashWords and Amazon Kindle, your story needs to be formatted simply. Do not do anything fancy but typically use “normal” or body style text and “Heading 1” text.
Grab a copy of Calibre for testing purposes. Calibre is a program that allows the user to start with a Word document and convert it to Amazon Kindle MOBI or SmashWords ePub file.
Convert your manuscript using Calibre to one or both formats and inspect the results in Calibre. When you see formatting issues, figure out the problem, then fix it, and reconvert it.
Once the output looks like you want it to, then publish to Amazon and/or SmashWords. During the publishing process, stop at the point where the document file is converted to a MOBI or ePub file format. Download that file and open it in Calibre or your favorite reader software.
Before publishing, make sure that the output is correct. If it looks okay, then complete the steps to publish your story. With Amazon, it takes about two days before they will approve your file. If you discover a formatting mistake, you have to wait two days to fix it.
If you see a problem and fix it, then re-upload while you’re still in the publishing process and don’t have to wait two days to fix it.
As SmashWords publishes immediately, you can immediately fix and republish a story, but if it is fixed beforehand is a cleaner method.
Finally, I want to hype my reason for writing this blog post in the first place. Once you get your story published, the dreaded question is, “Is anyone buying?”
One of my favorite programs is “Book Report,” which can be downloaded at https://app.getbookreport.com/. The picture at the top of this blog is a section of my sales results, which shows your top sellers.
Book Report is a free service until your sales reach over $1,000 per month. It runs in your browser and will predict your sales daily, monthly, or a custom date range. Book Report only works with Amazon, which is a shortcoming, yet sales at Amazon will typically give you a similar indication of SmashWords sales.
Larry Archer is a writer of erotic literature, and more on his stories can be found at https://LarryArcher.blog/stories.