I've seen a large number of new authors or about to be authors these days and they run the gambit in experience. Some come with more knowledge than I have now and some come with even less than I had when I started and that was very little. Oh I was clueless.
Some of the posts about selling more books or how to make more money remind me of Cosmo articles. The titles make you buy the magazine, because they make you feel like they finally have come up with the secret to losing that last ten pounds or what men like in bed. Then you buy it and it ends up being something you already knew. Something everyone knows. Something so generic and so obvious that you want to take the article writer by the lapels and shake them screaming no DUH!!!!
Shhh!!! The secret to losing weight is diet and exercise. I'm sorry if I've ruined Octobers <insert woman's magazine name here>. We all know this, but we aren't all skinny. Why is this? Its hard work. Some of us have slower metabolisms, or work at a desk all day. Some of us just really fucking love cake. Whatever the reason it isn't an easy thing to do, you have to be committed. You know there is no secret pill, despite Dr. Oz's claims, that will make you skinny over night, but you buy it anyway just in case. So the only thing to do is get comfy wearing your jeans with the elastic waist or work really hard to lose those extra pounds.
Then there is the what men like in bed article. Ummm have you met a man, they aren't hard to please. Number one - blow jobs...WHAT? Men like blow jobs? Why have I not heard this before? In other words you are told things everyone knows.
So I am going to throw a little knowledge out there and for some it might be as obvious as men like blow jobs, but for others it might be a welcomed (or not) bit of news. This article is mainly for the latter group. I'm going to tell you the truth with no sugar coating. I'm going to take off your rose colored glasses. Buckle up its going to get real.
Some authors have come on the scene these days not knowing how colossally hard it is to build a fan base and make enough money to take the family out to dinner at McD's. I know, I know, you're a brilliant writer, your words are a work of art. You are literature's greatest gift. Bad news time, even if that's true and lets face it, it's unlikely, it might not make one bit of difference. I want to save you some time. This is hard work. It takes dedication and maybe years of plugging away, with no reward before you get to see reliable sales. That's if your work is good.
Over three hundred thousand books were published last year. That's in the US alone and since you can live anywhere and publish a book on amazon, as long as you have an internet connection, you can bump that up to over 1/2 a million if you only include countries that speak English as their main language. That is a shit ton of books.
The average indie makes less than 10,000 dollars annually. What's that you say? That isn't bad, it might not mean I can retire, but its a nice bit of extra pocket money. Hold on. Half of those surveyed make less than 500 dollars a year. I was one of them my first year.
This is a business. I know creative people aren't supposed to be good at that stuff, but you don't have a choice. No one else is going to do it for us. Indie authors have to wear many hats.
You have to have a polished product. That means a good looking cover, a book that has been edited and not by you and a plan on how to get that book noticed. I'm not going to sit here and list all the social medias and what works best blah blah. There are a gazillion articles out there on that, but do your homework, see what works. What works for everyone and what works for you. If you don't think you can sustain doing it day in and day out then it isn't a method for you. It's a part of your job. If you want to sell then you have to be a salesmen.
No one is going to go on amazon and actually skim through all the books to page 523 where your book is ranked at 400,000 and see your book by accident. Its not going to happen. You have to bring your book to the reader.
So still want to be an indie author? I will give you some advice. I've only been doing this for two and half years and I came into the game green, but I came into it willing to learn and do almost anything to get my name out there. Methods for selling books change all the time. The rules change all the time. I'm always on the lookout for that new thing that might end in a sale or two. Here is one thing that always comes up in any discussion on sales, write and write some more. The more books you have out there the more you'll sell. You'll gain more readers with each book you release.
One more thing. Don't give up. If you're serious about writing and getting your books in peoples hands or on their kindles then plug away everyday. Its a marathon not a sprint. If you're good and you work hard I believe people will respond to that. It just won't happen over night, but it will happen.