This is the beginning of a self publishing tips article from a newly twice published author in the iCreateDaily community. Shannon DeAnna Schofield published her first book in January, 2020 and her second one in February 2021. AND… she’s starting her THIRD book this weekend!! Way to keep that momentum going, Shannon❣️
Tips, Not Tricks
The first thing about self publishing is that there are no tricks. As with most success, it’s all just a steady process of daily learning and doing, learning and doing.
Shannon is just average with technology, is not a trained writer or editor, and yet she took it on and made it work, even when it was hard. Then, in order to help other newbies, she’s shared her self publishing tips here.
And while Shannon is not formally trained, she has a natural writer’s instinct and the ability to tell great stories.
So let’s dive in and discover the learnings she’s sharing with us.
Self Publishing Tips for Beginners
Things I’ve Learned Self Publishing
By Shannon DeAnna Schofield
You will need help. Don’t be scared to ask or buy help. If you can afford a publishing company and/or professional editors, go for it. If you cannot, still go for it. You just might have to do most of the work yourself at first.
Amazon’s Self Publishing Platform
Amazon is not the only self-publishing platform, but they are the easiest to use and have the most options for publishing and sales. If you decide to self-publish on Amazon, please check out their KDP University. Everything you will need to know about publishing through them is there. They have videos with step-by-step instructions and it’s all for free.
Take advice and put your ego in your pocket. Even if the advice does not sound good, I suggest giving it a try. Don’t look at any advice as criticism. Rather, look at it as love. Someone cares enough about you to help you improve your work.
Find an Editor… or Two… or Three
There are only so many times you can read your own book. After about a dozen times you will get dizzy at the sight of it. And, you’ll still not see those missing words. So, get an editor or editing team. If you’re not able to buy editing services recruit eagle eyed friends and family. I have a few great, grammar nazi, friends who were willing to help.
Trust Your Intuition
Despite everyone’s help, you will still have to do this adventure your way, with your process, your will, and your strength. Every artist has a “process”. Trust yours.
You Can Self Publish for Almost Free
I now have two self-published books with very little out-of-pocket expense. The second book was started in March of last year. I had a major life crisis in April. I had little money or hope. All I had were a few supportive friends and a sliver of hope. I did this. YOU CAN TOO!
You won’t regret it! Imagine your publish date. Oh happy day!
Here’s a summary of Shannon’s publishing tips for beginners.
7 Publishing Tips for Beginners
- You will need help
- Take advice and pocket your ego
- Don’t be afraid
- Hire pro editors if you can
- Study and learn the publishing platform (until you can outsource that)
- Trust your intuition – in the end, after feedback and pros, you have to love it too
- Enjoy the process – don’t fret it, embrace it!
Congrats to Shannon and thanks for sharing her experience to help others.
Launching Your Book
Many new authors think their task is done once their book is published. However, without a vigorous launch and promotion to anyone and everyone you can, your book could languish in the long tail of books in the Amazon graveyard. Or… in boxes in your closet or spare room.
Toward that, here are a few tips for promoting your book.
Self Promotion Tips
Yep… you will have to self-promote at first. Even if you have a budget to hire someone to promote your book for you, it’s still your book and you’ll need to be the one to make the rounds
- Start your own author Facebook page and other social accounts (if you favor others, such as):
- Post intriguing blurbs from your characters
- Begin to let your characters come to life in the posts and tweets they make
- Get audience feedback on various questions. People often enjoy contributing to the creation of something; just don’t let it lead you off course from your own goals for your characters, plot and book.
- Join relevant Facebook groups and pages
- interact regularly
- contribute as you can / be helpful
- Start researching podcasts about book launches and begin to implement recommendations
- See if there are smaller podcasts for authors and contact them about coming on to share about your book once it’s ready for order or pre-order
Prior to publishing her second book about a feral dog she rescued, Shannon joined pet adoption groups and began to interact and contribute. You’ll want to do the same. If there’s any kind of Facebook group around the subject of your book, or aspects of it, then join even before you start writing, so that by the time your book is done, you should be welcome to share it.
Do NOT join and then promote it, (unless it’s that sort of group). But join from interest and starting engaging, then when the time comes, ask permission of the admins to share a blurb and a link to your new book.
Consistent Persistence Over Time
We want to encourage you in your writing aspirations. However we also need to help you be aware that the path to financial success as an author, if that is your goal, is a long and arduous road. It’s definitely more of a marathon than a sprint.
To give you a perspective on that, we’ve outlined some author resources further below, which includes some revenue estimates on how much authors are earning. However, these are approximate and don’t include Kindle programs revenue that pay authors by the number of pages read, and aren’t available to Amazon sales trackers.
But first, KNOW that it’s possible to earn a very good living as an author if you’re willing to be in it for the long haul. And if you can’t not write. I.e., if you’re compelled to write and your stories won’t leave you alone, and you’re happy and content writing, no matter the outcome, then this journey may be for you.
To stoke your resolve and inspiration, check out this article on an 80+ year old author who has been a prolific writer since 1963, publishing over 70 books to date at a rate of about two books per year for these past number.
“If you feel that you just can’t write or you’re too tired or this, that, and the other, just stop thinking about it, and go and work. Life doesn’t have to be so overthought. You don’t have to wait to be inspired. Just start working.”SOURCE: Joyce Carol Oates on the Tim Ferriss podcast
~Joyce Carol Oates, prolific author, professor, b.6/16/1938
Self Publishing Resources
Coaching Program for Writers
If you have a budget for hiring editors and publishing companies, these resources might help:
- Joanna Penn of TheCreativePenn is a great resource for writers
- Laura Franzini with Author Accelerator’s Website
- Lisa Tenor, writing coach
Editors for Self Publishing Writers
- Sandra Haven, editor, Sandra did an excellent job editing Coleman Alderson’s two books
- Christie Stratos, editor, writer, podcast host
Experienced and Prospering Self Published Authors
This list includes those able to support themselves through their books alone.
- Jeff Goins – fiction and non-fiction author, we highly recommend his books for writers
- Joanna Penn – highly successful multiple times author of both fiction and non-fiction:
- fiction as J.F. Penn – US sales revenue isn’t showing, likely due to Kindle programs. Joanna also sells in UK and European Amazon.
- nonfiction as Joanna Penn – Noteworthy: a good portion of Joanna’s book sales come from her non-fiction, how-to books for writers at an estimated average $4,400/month from just 7 of her books. She has more but they’re on ebook programs that aren’t showing sales numbers in our Amazon sales tracker app.
- Joyce Carol Oates – over 70 books of mostly fiction, estimated to be earning over 6 figures per year just from her top 10 selling books.
NOTE: Sales that are a part of the Kindle Direct Publications (KDP) or Amazon Kindle Unlimited (AKU) programs may not be included in the total sales revenue paid to authors. KDP yields between 35% and 70% royalties depending on your book price. The AKU is more complex as it pays by the number of pages read. For more on that, this article on how to make money on Amazon from SmartBlogger may help.
Newer Self Published Authors
These authors are more than once published but estimated to be earning less than $300/month (in book income from Amazon, (not counting Kindle $0.0 programs).
- Audrey Jalving, co-author with her daughter
- Coleman Alderson, twice published fiction author
- David Perry, pharmacist, novelist
- Joshua Robertson, multiple times fantasy author on:
- Lilian Oake – young adult fantasy novelist, (AKA Diana Robertson)
Twitter for Authors
For more on book sales tracking, check out our article on successful author, Joyce Carol Oates. Note also, that some of them may be selling books in other venues.
Don’t Be Discouraged
If you’re passionate about writing, then don’t be discouraged by how hard it can be to earn anything worth mentioning, for that applies to any craft or profession. A dancer must practice for many years and invest a lot of money in lessons over time. Same thing with a musician, singer, actor, etc.
So it’s normal for it to take time to reap the rewards of your efforts as an artist of words — or any medium. Beyond that, it can also take many years to earn in any credentialed profession you choose. However there are also many options for earning while learning, such as getting paid to write for others, like Eric Rosenberg.
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