What’s the toughest thing a self published author needs to do…? i.e. what’s the toughest part of self-publishing?
I am definitely not an authority on this matter, I’ve only published one book so far. So of course I couldn’t tell you for sure, but what I do know is that it’s not one of the following obvious options
- coming up with an idea
- the actual writing process
In my opinion, a writer is a storyteller -or should be- & wants to get his/her story out in the world. Often a writer is also creative with words, though grammar may not be their strongest asset.
Editing then maybe?
it is advisable, no it’s a must to ask beta-readers and a separate editor to go through the manuscript. This can be a paid service or done by a fellow writer; both options are fine. So no, writing & editing, are not the toughest parts of being an author.
Then, what is?
It’s something I hadn’t given a single thought before publishing my debut novel Colours of a Cultural Chameleon. If you are a self-published author, or an indie author….or as a matter of fact just any author; then it’s the marketing of your book which is going to be the biggest challenge. It soaks up lots of your time; it probably drains you or drives you to despair. As I have come to understand, over the course of two years, even authors contracted by a publishing houses have to do quite a bit of ‘self promoting’.
On the verge of publishing my debut, I joined twitter and became a member of the writing community. That’s when I realised there are loads and loads and loads of people out there who love writing and want to publish their books. That’s when my naïve thoughts -of publishing a book that would be easily accessible to all who might be interested- were immediately crushed.
I realised that I wasn’t one of the few people who want to self-publish…..No, I was one of thousands!
So, upon joining twitter I was suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who shared my passion for writing and who’d published their book. I had found my community. By reading their tweets I saw others struggling with getting sales and strategies being shared of the best way to reach target audiences etc etc,
In a woodland of books, how can any reader find the book that resonates best with them?a puzzled self-published author
How can a writer stand out in this crowd?
How do I reach my potential readers….
& all of this without being pushy….without being the door-to-door salesperson?
I started writing this blog almost a year ago, as can be seen from the dashboard graph below. I published Colours of a Cultural Chameleon on 28th November 2020. By September 2021 I was disheartened. My sales had plummeted and I didn’t know how to revive them. I wasn’t able to figure out how best to ‘market’ my book. I am a pantser not a plotter… and I figured this made me a miserable ‘online salesperson’. I still haven’t found the right keys nor the route that’s gonna help me target the right audience….make sure readers -who would be interested in reading this coming of age travel book- actually find the book. For them to know of its existence.
Then in Jan of this year I saw a spike in online page reads and I got exited. Readers had found my book! I was thrilled when I even received responses from people who’d read it, some even left reviews. Each review I read makes me happy.
The reviews are 4 and 5 stars (one 3 star; who thought the MC very likeable, but she just wanted more book…….am working on it….Work In Progress).
Digitally I was (and am still) disheartened. I still need to find the right way of reaching my target audience – readers of Colours of a Cultural Chameleon. I’m in it for the long run….it’s a marathon, not a quick win.
When readers get back to me and tell me what they enjoyed about the book, I know why I want to write my stories. I know they’re appreciated, they resonate, they transport people to different places across the globe. That’s what it’s about: the ones who’ve read it, enjoyed it. One of the things about the book that most of the reviews touch upon is this
In my next blog more on how I plan to reach out to my target audience …