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Five months ago, I self-published my very first book of short stories.

This article is aimed at those of you who are on the road to publishing your first piece of work. This is from my experience and viewpoint alone.  This self-publishing thing is hard if you work a full time job and have family.

It took me roughly two years to get my short stories ready to publish (proofed, edited, and re-edited). Next was dealing with cover art, copy write submissions, numerous proofs ordered from CreateSpace. Finally, the day came in November when I was ready to say, “Ready or not world! Here is my book!”

It was exciting!

Now the glam is over.

I never entered into this thinking I was going to be a best-selling author. However, as time grew close to publication – I was hoping for being at least a selling author.

My book sales have slowed to a screeching halt. Why?

Due to the type of person I am (which some say is messed up) – I analyze everything. I see the world from the viewpoint – if there is an issue – there is a solution. First, I need to figure out what the under lying issues to the problem is. Since last year, I’ve been doing book reviews on my site. This has gained me a little insight also. Below are my ramblings.

Problem:  Quality

I suck at the English Language. MS-Word is my best friend. My greatest fear was someone would read my book and laugh at my mistakes. Proofing it was the longest part of my release process. It’s not 100% perfect in grammar, spelling, and pov – however, it’s a hell of a lot better than a majority of what I’ve been reading.

Solution: Read – edit – repeat at least 200 times.

Problem: Multiple Outlets

When I refer to multiple outlets – I mean other venue where you can pimp your book. When I started, I was exclusively CreateSpace and Amazon. The very first copies of anything you sell will be to friends and family. That’s when I found out the majority of my friends and family didn’t have an Amazon account. Most of them were split between Barns and Noble and iTunes. I didn’t understand this when I signed up for the 90 days KDP select program.

Solution: Don’t plan on sticking with just Amazon, iTunes, B&N.  I went with the KDP select program at Amazon because it has amazing potential. However, I should have also had an EPUB version of my book so I could release it to Barns and Noble too.  My point is, be sure you have your book in different formats for the different outlets that are available.

Problem: Marketing Budget

This one kicked my ass. I didn’t understand exactly how much money a person would need to market their book. You can do some marketing for free – your Facebook friends, local bulletin boards, blogs, KDP select program. However, to hit a large amount of people you will need money. Numerous sites out there cater to mass media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). These sites know this – and they charge. Even the smaller sites have fee structures. However, by far the most disconcerting issue I ran into – was that the top ten sites that Google returns (advertising sites for indie authors) – are the same ten sites that ALL indie authors go to – not readers – authors.

Solution: Here, I’m addressing the fact you will need a budget for things like Facebook ads, Twitter promos. I spent $50 bucks on Facebook ads and out of 10000 people – I got 106 likes. How many of those folks actually bought the book – I’m not sure – not enough data. This means, I’m looking at $1000 in a marketing budget if I want to see any significant increase in sales.

Problem:  Marketing (free and paid) and Multiple Works

My friends – is the biggest issue I discovered. The first few weeks I sold several 100 copies of my book.  A few weeks later- I moved almost 1000 free copies of my book with the KDP select program. Now, if you are like me – and find something that an author wrote you like – what do you do? You look at what else they have published! In my case, I had nothing else to offer.

Solution: Have at least two items in publication at once. I know this is hard for those who just spent three years writing a 1000 page novel. Yet, I really think you will lose potential sales if you don’t.

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