Self-publishing digital content can grow to be an incredibly lucrative business. Although individuals might feel like it is easier to publish their work, rather than dealing with big businesses and the possibility of rejection letters, that means the work falls on the writer’s shoulders.
But the work of self-publishing does not have to be daunting. With proper preparation, publishing the individual’s work can be incredibly rewarding. Self-publishers have to consider everything that any company would when marketing a book or any other content.
Authors who make content that might not be picked up by larger publishers can find an income from self-publishing and marketing themselves and their writing. The author can find an alternate route, through digital publishing, that is not readily available to print publishers.
Effective self-publishers should begin marketing their content before the content is even complete. At this point, they are marketing themselves, and perhaps some previous writing they have done. For those without previous writing, they are marketing themselves as an author.
YouTube has become one of the tools of marketing. A community of “BookTubers” exists on YouTube that discusses books with their fans, and some are currently working on projects.
Popular “BookTuber” Savannah Brown, with roughly half a million subscribers, recently posted a video about how her self-published book of poetry sold 20,000 copies. For the past five years, on and off, she has been able to posts poetry videos. Then for two years, she has been posting various snippets of the writing process and has accumulated a following that would go on to purchase her books. Although she did not digitally publish, she self-published to Amazon through their print on demand service (copies of her book are printed only when they are bought).
The service she uses for print on demand is Kindle Direct Publishing, which allows anyone to publish their book with Amazon freely. Writers can “earn up to 70% royalty on Kindle eBook and 60% on paperback sales.”
Brown talks openly about pricing, especially regarding her first attempt to publish her book of poetry with a small publishing company that she worked directly with, and it adds up to roughly $1,000. However, through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, the fees are minimal until they take a 30% royalty fee.
However, there are plenty of platforms to self-publish on. Brown talks about building an audience so that new writers are not throwing a book into the void of these platforms.
She expresses how she had garnered a following through YouTube long before she ever published her first book. She states how people can develop a following on Instagram. With social media, a single author can reach millions of people and is the most effective way to build an audience when self-publishing.
Building an audience is slow-going, even with an interesting novel idea. In some cases, it requires that the author goes viral in some meaningful way so that an influx of people go to their social media.
Digital publishing expert David Gaughran talks about:”
a completely different approach to marketing is emerging, based on a constant drip approach, heavy on email marketing, big on lead-gen ads, adopting a ‘micro-targeting’ approach to finding readers.
Email marketing allows authors to develop a loyal audience. Emails go directly to the audience, rather than posting exclusively on social media and hoping they will come across it. Blogging can be another effective way of garnering an audience, especially because your readers already enjoy reading lengthy posts. Typically, bloggers will have a pop-up on their website, inviting people to sign up for their email subscription.
Perhaps the most important part of social media marketing is engaging with your audience. Depending on the author and the genre, they will have to create an audience that is most likely to be drawn to their writing. For young adult novelists, their audience might be found more on Instagram or Snapchat. Something more niche, like magical realism, might find an audience in blogging and advertising on all social media, including Facebook pages.
Advertising is another important step in marketing. Advertisements cost per day, and the cost increases based on how long it will run and how many users the ad will reach — all of the marketing for a novel starts with the individual advertising themselves and their social media. Facebook or Instagram are payable platforms to broadcast a post or photograph to the rest of its users.
Once an author has developed a loyal audience self-publishing a book does not seem nearly as daunting. If Properly done, the audience will enjoy the author and the work they have previously read and more than willing to buy the book.
Many of these steps can be repeated and continued to grow a larger following and sell more books after you have already published your book. With curating a following on social media comes more opportunities for cash flow, more eyes on the individual and their work. The possibilities are endless, and, with self-publishing, they are all in your hands.