By Amelia James

When I self-published my novel in March, I had no idea what I was doing. Sure I read all the instructions and guidelines for Amazon’s Kindle Direct. I formatted my novel correctly (not an easy task) and uploaded my ebook. I’m published. Yay! Now what? Now I have to sell my book.

Publishing is the easy part. Selling is the hard part. Listed below are a few things I learned and need to remember on a daily basis:

  1. Patience – sales growth takes time. Lots and lots and lots of time.
  2. Persistence  –  Patience and persistence have become my words to live by. And “back at it tomorrow.” I’m gonna have that carved on my gravestone.
  3. Research – I did things backwards. I published my books and then I started marketing them. I didn’t know anything about book launches, release dates, or advance reviews. Getting a review takes a lot of time.  Learning to use Twitter and Facebook took me some time as well. Hint: set up a Facebook Page for your book, not a profile. I highly recommend research—and lots of it—before you start marketing.
  4. Determination – My first book, Tell Me You Want Me, sold half a dozen copies before I really started marketing it. Wow. Maybe this
    wasn’t so hard. But then it didn’t sell at all—for days. I stepped up the marketing and sold a couple more copies. I found someone to give me a review and that sold a few more copies. But then days went by and no sales. I got discouraged. What did I get myself into? Was it worth the effort? Could I really do this?
  5. Confidence – I don’t have a publisher to tell me my books are good. I don’t have daily sales to confirm that. All I have is shaky self-confidence that needs a good hard shot of encouragement more often than not. But the really cool thing is when I need encouragement, I get it. I have the best fans in the world. I may only have 12 of them, but they are awesome! And that is the best part of being self-published—having a personal connection with my readers, knowing people are reading and enjoying my books.
  6. Determination – yes, I said that twice. I’m going to have bad days. I’m going to have bad months. I’m going to have days I want to chuck it all and look for a day job. Gasp! The horror! But the only way I’m going to fail is if I give up. How many times have I said that to myself? Every. Single. Day.

Did I say selling was the hard part? No, the hard part is not getting discouraged.

Self-publishing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. My dad used to accuse me of avoiding hard work, and he was right. I used to. But there are so many resources for the self-published author the only way I’m gonna fail is if I give up when the work gets hard.

Here are a few of the resources I used:

Worthy of Publishing – Post chapters for free and add a buy link.

Breakthrough Bookstore’s Self-Published Author’s Marketplace – list your books for free.

Novel Publicity’s Building a Facebook Page – this is just one of the tons and tons of useful articles on their blog.

Top Ten Ways Authors Can Use Twitter – The key to Twitter is to follow people who give good information and to make your tweets a balance of promotion, good information and socialization. Don’t just promote yourself. Help others and they will help you.

If you publish on Amazon, make sure you fill out your author page and promote it.

There are lots more resources out there. I’ve only listed a few. When you get discouraged—and you will—don’t be afraid to ask for encouragement.
You are not alone.

About the Author:
Amelia James started reading steamy romance novels in junior high, but her mom took them away from her, so she started daydreaming instead. After she got married, she wrote some of her naughtier daydreams down and sent them to Playgirl magazine. Two of them got published.  She kept daydreaming and writing stories until her dirty stories turned into trashy books.

She lives in Colorado, but she’ll always be a loyal Wisconsin Cheesehead. When she’s not lusting after her next bad boy hero, she looks for inspiration in sci-fi and action movies, football players, bloodsucking lawyers, muscle cars, and kick-butt chicks.





Contemporary romance novels:

Tell Me You Want Me

Secret Storm

Erotic short stories:

The Devil Made Me Do It

Paranormal romance short story:

One Wild Night


14 thoughts on “The hardest part of self-publishing

  1. Thanks so much for these tips. I’m in the editing stage of a book I want to e-publish by the end of the year. I appreciate any and all advice I can get. Good luck!

  2. I agree to all of this, though it sounds like you’re way ahead of me in fans and sales. Putting up the effort to market and write more after a full day of working for money is a grind, but I need to keep picking up strength and powering on.

    On top of all the normal difficulties for independent writers, I’ve written some against-the-grain stuff: a series of post-apocalyptic poems. So far I’ve published two 1000 line pieces on Smashwords. I’m quite proud of my accomplishment and I have a few people who agree, but I do need to sell some. People are not lining up anywhere to say: please give me some long verse.

    I’ll put to use some of the resources you’ve listed. Thank you. Here I am at 3am thinking I should either write or sleep.

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