Author Topic: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?  (Read 2894 times)  

Offline Keith Soares

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What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
« on: February 25, 2017, 09:12:49 am »
I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I do know one thing.]

The #1 rule of self publishing is: If you do nothing, nothing will happen.

As in...

If you don't write, your book will never progress.

If you don't get through at least one full draft of the book, your book never be finished.

If you don't use a professional editor*, the words of your book will never be polished.

If you don't use a professional cover designer*, the outside of your book will never look polished.

If you don't write a compelling blurb, your book will not inspire people to buy.

If you don't click publish, the world will never see your book.

And, most importantly, once you have published, if you don't promote your book, your book will never be found.

This last one I list as most important because once you have a book out there, you can't just "set it and forget it." Countless times I have watched my own numbers fall off, and I've come back to the same truth: If I do nothing, nothing will happen. So I felt I needed to write it down to give myself a kick in the pants. If it helps you, too, that's a bonus.

K.

* Before I get railed on about "requiring" a professional editor and designer, note that I did not say you, the author, cannot do this yourself. You just have to be realistic about your abilities at either role. If you produce your cover, but you're not really any good at cover design, it will show. I also didn't say you had to pay for either of these services, as it is completely possible to "know a guy" or barter or whatever.



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    Offline H.C.

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #1 on: February 25, 2017, 09:19:07 am »
    Write a good story.

    Offline David VanDyke

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #2 on: February 25, 2017, 09:23:01 am »
    Effective habits and hard work matter more than talent.

    Offline JTriptych

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #3 on: February 25, 2017, 09:26:15 am »
    Join Kboards  :P

    Offline GeneDoucette

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #4 on: February 25, 2017, 09:31:15 am »
    I thought it was, don't talk about self-publishing

    Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #5 on: February 25, 2017, 09:46:17 am »
    Develop a thick skin - reviewers can be merciless.

    Non-fiction, Fiction, family saga, humour, short stories, teen, children's
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    Offline Flying Pizza Pie

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #6 on: February 25, 2017, 10:06:22 am »
    The goal of business is to create repeat customers. If you don't keep writing, you squandered those happy readers who wanted another title from you. Don't expect to make any substantial money with "One and Done."


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    Offline Some Random Guy

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #7 on: February 25, 2017, 10:13:01 am »
    I thought it was, don't talk about self-publishing
    Beat me to it.  ;D

    I always remind myself that this gig is a marathon and not a sprint.  To make it, you need to persist over the long haul.

    Offline SC

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #8 on: February 25, 2017, 10:15:18 am »
    I thought it was, don't talk about self-publishing

    My first thought too. It appears movies have us well-trained.

    As to the OP's actual point, that's just general life advice, so I wouldn't really call it a self-publishing rule.

    Offline Soothesayer

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #9 on: February 25, 2017, 11:02:39 am »
    Don't read reviews.

    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #10 on: February 25, 2017, 11:12:43 am »
    Collect underpants.

    Olivia Blake | Lessons in Love

    Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #11 on: February 25, 2017, 11:24:12 am »
    The goal of business is to create repeat customers. If you don't keep writing, you squandered those happy readers who wanted another title from you. Don't expect to make any substantial money with "One and Done."

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    Offline Rick Partlow

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #12 on: February 25, 2017, 11:47:38 am »
    I thought it was, don't talk about self-publishing

    Damn you, I came in here to post this...


    Offline Patrick Urban

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #13 on: February 25, 2017, 11:50:39 am »
    Don't read reviews.

    Imo this advise can hamstring an author. (I accept that Soothesayer finds advantage in the above, and he's doubtless not alone, nonetheless...)
    It strikes me as the AT&T (telecomm infamous for indifferent customer service) approach to market.

    In the telecomm's case, it's a behemoth and manages to survive nonetheless - primarily by offsetting constant attrition of disaffected customers with a stream of new customers through aggressive marketing.  In the case of an indie author, not reading the reviews (as general policy) is tantamount to ignoring your customers.

    Of course, no author need read all his reviews -- increasingly impractical as backlist and success accrue in any case. Also all reviews should not be treated equally, quite obviously. Nor should any single review engender change by an author. But canvassing reviews and looking for common denominators, both good and bad, in the interest of understanding your audience is a sound idea.

    Candidly, an author who experiences emotional distress at bad reviews needs a thicker skin. If they are occasional and don't reflect the broader sentiments, then emotional pique beyond mild irritation is neither healthy nor productive. See if there is any merit in the comments; absorb what you judge has intrinsic merit; dismiss what doesn't. Not a big deal.

    If negative reviews predominate then this is very likely useful informtaion. Sift for the common denominators and chew on them. Avoid the missteps in the future and you've been well-served.

    But as to the OPs question, I submit as the #1 rule:
    Approach the whole endeavor as a business. You do not have the luxury of being merely an artiste, indifferent to the labors of marketing, editing, and all the rest of it, if you wish to make a career of it. Harper-Collins and Penguin aren't picking up the slack or going to bat for you. You have to be everything from the GM to the manager to the player to the bat boy. Embrace it.
     

    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #14 on: February 25, 2017, 12:17:48 pm »
    Hooky book.

    Offline Rick Partlow

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #15 on: February 25, 2017, 12:25:27 pm »
    I'd say the first rule is the same as it is in academia:  publish or perish.

    Offline Anarchist

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #16 on: February 25, 2017, 12:31:00 pm »
    If you want to sell, only take advice from authors who are selling.
    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

    "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu

    Offline Elizabeth S.

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #17 on: February 25, 2017, 01:57:16 pm »
    Write a good book.

    Without that, no other advice matters.

    Offline D A Bale

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #18 on: February 25, 2017, 02:08:13 pm »
    Remember first and foremost - this is your business.  Treat it as such and show up every day.

    Offline Fel Beasley

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #19 on: February 25, 2017, 03:02:01 pm »
    There is only one rule in self-publishing.

    You have to publish.

    Now if you were asking what is the number one rule in having success in self-publishing, the only acceptable answer is: you don't talk about self-publishing.  ;D

    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #20 on: February 25, 2017, 03:18:37 pm »
    By the way: I read my reviews, learn from my reviews, and get upset by negative ones. The same emotional sensitivity that causes that is also what makes me $$$ as a romance writer. Gotta take the bad with the good, people are different, etc. I also mainly write because I like to instead of that it's my business. Shrug. Works for me.

    Offline D.Drake

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #21 on: February 25, 2017, 04:35:45 pm »
    Collect underpants.

    We're on the same wavelength. xD
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    Online Patty Jansen

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #22 on: February 25, 2017, 04:43:04 pm »
    Collect underpants.

    I thought we were meant to take them off :P

    Rule #1: do it.

    Don't talk about it, do it.

    Offline Ava_Red

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #23 on: February 25, 2017, 05:25:03 pm »
    Have an objective of what you want to achieve, and then make a plan that will get you there. That's a longer way of saying, work smart. Work hard... but also work smart. What one person should do to achieve their goals is going to be different than what someone else should do to achieve their goals.

    Decide what it is you want.
    Research how to achieve your goal.
    Develop a plan.
    Implement your plan.
    Re-evaluate the results of your efforts.
    Adjust.
    (Repeat these last two as many time as needed.)
    Recognize when you have achieved your goal.

    Make a new goal, and start over. Of course, goals and their implementation can overlap, and they can even amplify your other successes.

    Offline BellaJames

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    Re: What is the #1 rule of self publishing?
    « Reply #24 on: February 25, 2017, 06:43:09 pm »
    By the way: I read my reviews, learn from my reviews, and get upset by negative ones. The same emotional sensitivity that causes that is also what makes me $$$ as a romance writer. Gotta take the bad with the good, people are different, etc. I also mainly write because I like to instead of that it's my business. Shrug. Works for me.

    I have spoken to authors who say the same thing. Reviews are for other readers but authors can learn from them if several people are saying the same negative comment then you can learn from that and improve your writing. If several people are saying the same positive comment then you can also learn from that and keep giving readers more of the same.

    What I have heard time and time again and agree on is:

    1. Write engaging hooky books first and foremost

    2. Publish often. That could mean a book a month or four books a year depending on the length of your books and how long it takes you to get your next book out.

    3. Be professional. You are a business owner. Don't sit on public forums talking about 1 star reviews. Don't sit on forums or in the comment section of Goodreads arguing with readers. 


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