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General > What Are The Common Problems You Are Facing As A Self Published Author?

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message 1: by Mayowa (new)

Mayowa Ajisafe (mayowaajisafe) | 12 comments Been a while on this platform but it's good to be back.

As authors, there are a lot of issues we deal with from how to get a book published to how to actually sell a book.

I am writing a detailed and well-researched blog post on the most common problems self-published authors are having and some cool solutions to those problems.

I need your feedback.

What are the two major problems you are facing as a self-published author?

I will love to hear from you and I will be in the comment section monitoring and responding to all comments when needed.

Cheers!


message 2: by Irial (new)

Irial O'Farrell | 2 comments 1. Knowing where to promote the book. The vast volume of information is huge.
2. Keeping track of it. Where to list author pages, pre-launch activities what, where, launch activities etc


message 3: by Miranda (new)

Miranda Grant | 1 comments 1. Marketing, preferably cheaply or free given we're just starting out
2. How to get reviews across all the platforms


message 4: by Steve (new)

Steve Higgins | 4 comments Marketing, what a nightmare. Must have spent 10 times more time and effort plugging my book than actually writing it. I still don’t think I’ve scratched the surface. I worked hard on Twitter and have 6.5k followers but that doesn’t translate into book purchases. I’m even starting to think what’s the point of Twitter at all! Exposure, yes but it’s not necessarily the right kind of exposure.


message 5: by Mayowa (new)

Mayowa Ajisafe (mayowaajisafe) | 12 comments Irial wrote: "1. Knowing where to promote the book. The vast volume of information is huge.
2. Keeping track of it. Where to list author pages, pre-launch activities what, where, launch activities etc"


Thanks for the feedback Irial

80% of what most authors do are just waste of time, energy and sometimes money.

I have tried a lot of things since 2012 when I wrote my first three books to see what works and from my experience, these are the only thing that worked

1. Writing a book that have a demand from readers, not one I love to write or see to be what I should write. This alone was a game changer as I realized that many book I wrote in the beginning are not what readers want and when I started writing books that address a pain point my readers need solution to (I am a non-fiction author anyway), my books started selling pretty well even without any promotion but when I now market them, it's like putting more fire to an already burning bush.

For both fiction and non-fiction author, there is a way to go about writing the book that readers want and I must say it takes some time but this is time that worth it at the end.

It's a lot more to say about this than what I can pour out here anyway as I can write a whole book about this alone.

2. Shunning all marketing channels that doesn't have a large pool of my target readers and one I can have control on how to target and how to target them. I haven't seen one marketing channel like this than Amazon ads for direct selling and Facebook ads for building a list and an audience.

I wrote an extensive post about this on my blog.

3. Writing more books - but not with how many have been taught . I am not a celebrity that can write one book and sell to millions of fans across the world but I am just an author who need more exposure. So I need to put out more books that readers wanted to read.

There is intentionality to this and that goes back to my first point.

4. Build an audience! This is a long term game but it's better to start right now. A celebrity or popular figure can write a mediocre book and sell millions in the first day. How and why?

This is so because they have an audience they can sell books to. If you are not a celebrity or a super star of some sort, it's better to start building an audience and one way I love doing this on scale is by using Facebook ads.

This work for both fiction and non-fiction authors and you can start as low as $5 a day in ads spend.

I got a great ROI from spending big money on Facebook ads in 2019 and I can't stop talking about how much of sense it makes to use this platform to good use to build an audience and sell to learn how to sell to them at the backend.

5. Ignore all those other shiny stuffs. I hardly care about growing my Facebook page, wasting time on Twitter (I did this for two years and all I achieved was just having a lot of tweets that got buried off the radar of my target audience after few minutes of posting them, what a waste of time!), asking or looking for reviews (reviews are important but they are overrated and now, I hardly care about reviews but they always come in as a result of selling books and having a book that is worth reading and reviewed).

I just spent my time on all the other four things I have mentioned because these are what brings 90% of result.

I hope this brief one can help an author who is about to go find a way to do all those shiny stuffs that litters the internet as advice for authors on how to sell books.

These worked for me, you are free to try it as well and see the results.


message 6: by Mayowa (new)

Mayowa Ajisafe (mayowaajisafe) | 12 comments Steve wrote: "Marketing, what a nightmare. Must have spent 10 times more time and effort plugging my book than actually writing it. I still don’t think I’ve scratched the surface. I worked hard on Twitter and ha..."

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your feedback.

Feel free to read my reply to Irial on this page.

I have tried Twitter for two years between 2013 and 2015 and I only wasted my time and energy. Stuffs like that are the 90% of work that brings only 10% of result if they ever bring any in the first place.


message 7: by Mayowa (new)

Mayowa Ajisafe (mayowaajisafe) | 12 comments Miranda wrote: "1. Marketing, preferably cheaply or free given we're just starting out
2. How to get reviews across all the platforms"


Glad to see your feedback Miranda.

I addressed this and some more in my reply to Irial on this page.

Pertaining to what you mentioned, I think you are focusing on the wrong things.

One, there is nothing online like FREE. Anything that will bring you result will cost money and if there is anything called free in marketing generally, it will cost you a lot of time and effort.

I started writing in 2012 and I have no money to pay for editing, cover and formatting. I did all these by myself but my books are horrible and today, I have wiped off those book from the internet because they are books I am not proud of in any way.

When you are working with a tight budget as an author, the best advice I will give is to have a job that pays the bill and can help bring in some money for well targeted and result focused marketing or find a way to earn money online or offline to have enough money for your books.

This is what I did. I started freelancing online to be able to afford all I need to write a good book and also publish them and market them.

Beware of the word FREE anyway.

Two, reviews are overrated and you might be surprised at seeing this.

I operate from the point of view of what is important and I have see that review are not as important as many have said they are.

I have written books that solved problems and wrote a great description that will make anyone with such problem want to buy my book and I sold well without reviews.

The reviews started coming in after readers have been buying the books and reading them and this is how I love to get reviews - real feedbacks from real readers, not reviews from my brother or anyone who doesn't even know what I am writing about.

Focusing on things like this waste a lot of time you can use to make research on how you target audience are, what type of books they love to read and how you can write such books.

I think this is a better and more result bearing work than worrying where you going to get reviews.

This is my own 1 cent.


message 8: by MaryJo (new)

MaryJo Dawson | 25 comments Mayowa wrote: "Miranda wrote: "1. Marketing, preferably cheaply or free given we're just starting out
2. How to get reviews across all the platforms"

Glad to see your feedback Miranda.

I addressed this and some..."


I'm also a self-published author, and I would say Mayowa's advice is spot on.
Find out if your book is well written and well edited. Is there a market out there for it? Seek honest feedback - like those impartial reviews - and be willing to listen to what they are telling you.
Offering a book for free for a time was something I was Very reluctant to do, figuring free meant it wasn't worth paying for. But that was a misconception. Free put it out there to an audience, a bigger one than I thought.

Some people simply have no talent for writing - or they need honing on their skills. It is hard to accept that if you are the writer, especially the first. If you fall into the later category, are you willing to put the time and effort into improvement. Meaning, do you really love to write?


message 9: by Margaret (last edited Jun 06, 2020 04:01AM) (new)

Margaret Skea | 33 comments Steve wrote: "Marketing, what a nightmare. Must have spent 10 times more time and effort plugging my book than actually writing it. I still don’t think I’ve scratched the surface. I worked hard on Twitter and ha..."
As you've discovered, Steve, Twitter isn't a route to selling books. I began as a traditionally published author. I am now hybrid, which mean that some of my books I completely publish myself, but some are published in one format by a mainstream publisher (ebooks) and other formats by me.

I moved into self-publishing in autumn 2015 - 3 1/2 years ago. As a result of my background and experience to that point up until 2019 I operated very much like a traditionally published author, even with my self-published books - focusing on festival appearances and events, getting books stocked in bookshops and other suitable outlets and so on.

In 2019 I branched out into attending specifically targeted craft fairs - I write historical fiction rooted in real history, so I went to fairs at historic houses for example. There a) the other goods on sale were usually high quality and relatively expensive - cashmere, hand-blown glass etc, and therefore the clientele came prepared to spend money and it made my prices for sets of books at £25 - £30 very reasonable and individual books at c £10 appear a 'snip'. b) I was also usually the only person there selling books and the age and interest profile of the folk attending fitted physical books rather than ebooks. Much more productive than book fairs (which I tried) - far too much competition at them across all genres.

So at the end of 2019 when I looked at my statistics they were as follows - 49% of my income was from Paperback sales, 50% in speakers fees and only 11% from ebooks. This incoming year I should have been paying tax on my author income - one year earlier than my 5 year plan. Until Covid. This cut my income by 89% at a stroke - no speaking events, no bookshop sales, no fairs and so on. So in March I realised I needed to start functioning as a 'normal' indie and signed up for a free, 5-day challenge on running Amazon ads, which I had always avoided before. It was an eye-opener. Even for someone non-technical, like me, I have been able to make these work by following the guidelines and be profitable. With only 1 book to advertise and possible read-through of the sequel I have been agreeably surprised at what I've been able to achieve in the last 6 weeks or so.

So much so that when my contract with the traditional publisher comes up for re-negotiation in October I think I shall take my rights back and become fully indie, so that I can advertise that trilogy also. Once Covid is under control I will go back to my previous methods, as I love the face-to-face interaction with readers and enjoy speaking, but I won't stop the advertising. Mark Dawson - who last year spent in the region of $750,000 on advertising (and made a whole lot more back) began on a budget of $5 per day - and advocates starting out authors to do the same. You need a lot of books ever to spend that money - but I have had a 400% return in May on my very modest budget - and it has so been worth it. At the moment I'm quite slow at the process - but I am getting faster.

One thing I would say - my books have always been professionally edited and formatted and with covers also professionally designed - that would be the first thing I'd advise any author to spend their budget on first. You only get one chance to convince a new reader - if you do that right at the start, then you hopefully turn a reader into a fan.

Good luck Steve.


message 10: by Steve (new)

Steve Higgins | 4 comments Margaret wrote: "Steve wrote: "Marketing, what a nightmare. Must have spent 10 times more time and effort plugging my book than actually writing it. I still don’t think I’ve scratched the surface. I worked hard on ..."
Thanks Margaret. I can see I’ll have to change my approach.
All the best, Steve


message 11: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Skea | 33 comments Steve wrote: "Margaret wrote: "Steve wrote: "Marketing, what a nightmare. Must have spent 10 times more time and effort plugging my book than actually writing it. I still don’t think I’ve scratched the surface. ..."

The Ads challenge I was part of is run by Bryan Cohen - and he will be doing another freebie in July. If you google him just now he is doing some preliminary podcasts (again free). He has a paid course - but I haven't signed up for it. Chose to save my money for ad spend. Another person to look out for is Dave Chesson - he has an ads course - also free you will find him under his name or under Kindlepreneur - his is always available I think. (I've been through it too in the last 6 weeks.) But the 5-day challenge worked for me especially because there is a FB group runs alongside it - so help, encouragement and the added impetus to do the homework that you're given every day.


message 12: by Jim (last edited Jun 07, 2020 08:56AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic Most public libraries provide access to entire sections dedicated to books and periodicals written by well-known commercially successful authors, publishers, editors, and marketing experts.

Those same libraries, along with community colleges, book dealers, and literary clubs feature seminars, courses, and interactive programs specifically designed to help novice authors obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively participate in the literary field at little or no cost.

For whatever reason, the majority of self-published authors choose to not expend the time, effort, or energy to take advantage of the aforementioned opportunities.

Very few authors ever achieve commercial success within this extremely competitive field. That said; some have. There is no reason why those of you striving to do so might not eventually become one of them. I wish you success.


message 13: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Skea | 33 comments Steve wrote: "Margaret wrote: "Steve wrote: "Marketing, what a nightmare. Must have spent 10 times more time and effort plugging my book than actually writing it. I still don’t think I’ve scratched the surface. ..."

Oh and by the way, I know lots of folk advocate giving away a book for free - I would suggest that only really works for those who have a decent length of a series in order to hopefully get the read through - and there are pitfalls - 1) many many people download a book if it's free whether or not it's a genre they enjoy - many will never read it - that in a sense is fine - better that than 2) the other problem which is the people who do read and give a poor review because it isn't the kind of book they actually like to read. Pricing your book at a discount even 99p / c often weeds out those in that category.


message 14: by Jim (last edited Jun 07, 2020 03:10PM) (new)

Jim Vuksic I would encourage novice authors to seriously consider Margaret's advice expressed in message 13.

The offer of a free book may actually discourage an avid reader from seriously considering reading an author's work. Others constantly request a free copy of authors' work, often accumulating so many that most are never read.

Those authors that offer a free copy of ther work in exchange for a posted review may be unaware of the Federal Trade Commission regulation that requires any review obtained in exchange for the offer of a cash payment, gift card, free book, or promise of reciprocal review must include a disclaimer clearly stating so within the review.

Sales drive reviews, not the other way around as some authors assume.

How do I know these things? Simply by taking advantage of the opportunities mentioned in message 12.


message 15: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Skea | 33 comments Jim wrote: "I would encourage novice authors to seriously consider Margaret's advice expressed in message 13

The offer of a free book may actually discourage an avid reader from seriously considering reading ..."

It is also totally against Amazon terms and conditions to offer a free book in return for a review - and can lead to reviews being removed and worse!


message 16: by MaryJo (new)

MaryJo Dawson | 25 comments Jim wrote: "I would encourage novice authors to seriously consider Margaret's advice expressed in message 13.

The offer of a free book may actually discourage an avid reader from seriously considering reading..."


I did not offer my first book for free forever, and none of the rest ever were. But I did accumulate a great many honest reviews - unsolicited - by putting the first book in my series out there temporarily as a free download.


message 17: by T.R. (new)

T.R. Robinson (t_r_robinson) | 89 comments Marketing and discovering new readers.

I am not one who generally likes to promote myself though I have learnt, as an indie author, it is something that has to be done. I keep looking and learning and perhaps one day I will master it. In the meantime I share what I learn through my website and integrated blog.


message 18: by Linda (new)

Linda Acaster (goodreadscomlindaacaster) | 7 comments Mayowa - thank you for starting this thread (I shall look at your website), and to everyone who has added their experience. It has proved a fascinating read. I, too, am an originally mainstream published author, now indie - but one who has been unable to keep up the momentum of "write more books" and so sales have faded. I also have an awful habit of writing in more than one genre.
Margaret - thank you for being so open about your experience of using Ads. I've shied away from this as it looked overwhelming but I shall look up the names you suggest. And brilliant idea to attend craft fairs at historic houses!


message 19: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 453 comments Promoting and marketing my books for sure. 11 years in and it hasn't gotten any easier for me. I do what I can by trying new things or re-trying things I gave up on that may or may not have worked.

Finding my target audience. I've been trying to be more engaging and post more so people take notice but again it's not easy. I won't quit though, just keep at it and eventually it will pay off.


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