Why You Should Wait To Self Publish That First Book
So, you have done it. You have finally done it. You have completed your first book. You can't wait to upload that sucker to Amazon so you can sit back and wait for those fans to shower you with love. And why wouldn't they? You're actually pretty good at this.
STOP! Take a breath. I have got a really good reason you might want to hold off for a bit. And it has everything to do with making you more money.
What I am about to layout for you is a process that was handed down to me by another author who reached out to me to try and guide me along. I am about to do the same for you. Take it with a grain of salt. Results may vary.
Now I won't go into each step in nitty-gritty detail. I will just give you the overview. If you have specific questions, you can reach out to me. This is just to lay out a game plan for you to realize greater earning potential when you finally step into the market and show your face to the public. It is a marketing plan that will launch your career. But you have to be patient. We are doing some foundation building here.
(DISCLAIMER - This only works for a series and not stand-alone books. It is also only for a new author. It must be modified for existing, already published authors.)
STEP 1 Now that you have finished book 1, set it aside. You are going to immediately write book two. I know what you're thinking. "But it took me so long to get this one done." Trust me here. The next will come much faster. Additionally, if you have not set a goal for writing daily, you are shooting yourself in the foot. Do you know what a SMART goal is? It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Based. It simply means to set goals for yourself that you know you can achieve. I will give you one here. Write a thousand words a day. That is about two typed pages of text. Seriously, you can knock that out in about an hour. This is what I live by. At this rate, you can write a full-length novel every 90 days. That is 4 books a year. If you do this one thing, the rest of this will all happen for you quickly. So, even though we are delaying your release, it won't be for long.
Now that book 2 is complete, we are starting to see the finish line. But guess what, we are going to take a pause and write something else instead. Stop it. I know it doesn't make sense yet. When we get to the end, however, you're going to think I'm a genius. You have now written 2 books set in this new universe of yours. You have a clear idea of how everything looks and functions. You know who all of the main players are, so now we begin to get a fanbase even though we haven't published anything yet. We are going to pause and write at least 3 short stories set in this new world of yours. They don't have to prequels. They really don't have to have ANY established time frame on when these happen within the scope of your series. Just put them anywhere, make them exciting, and make the reader want to know more about them. It's ok if the reader doesn't have the complete backstory. Think of any successful series on TV. We learn backstories as we go. Now, since you have a habit of writing a thousand words or more a day, you can write three novellas of between 5,000 and 10,000 words in less than a month and a half. Design good book covers for them, and publish all three of them.
But wait, you say, the series isn't up yet. I know. They are novellas. It's fine. There is a market for this stuff, trust me. But now we are going to start using this to build the fanbase for the series. Bear with me, keep following along to the end. Your lightbulb moment is coming, I promise.
Don't expect to get many downloads of these three novellas. You may not get any. It's OK, we are going to use them as a marketing tool. What we are going to do is take out a Facebook ad asking for subscribers. In exchange for signing up to our mailing list, you will give them the three novellas for free. On a modest $5 a day budget, you can expect to get roughly 300 subscribers a month. This will begin to snowball on you quickly. You will keep these ads running until the end of time. They will just sit there churning out subscribers. You may have to tweak them from time to time, and I am not here to give you a tutorial on that, but it is the easiest and smartest thing you can do. So set the ads, give the three novellas away, and turn your attention to book 3.
Write book 3. If you are following my 1,000 words a day goal, you will complete it in three months or less. During this time, you will have amassed a mailing list of about a thousand names or more. Those names are about to make you a lot of money.
Get you a really good set of covers for your books, spend some time and energy to write great descriptions, and get ready, because here we go. You will release Book 1 on a 90 prerelease schedule. Meaning, it will go up today, have the book covers and description right there with a download button, but it won't be delivered to the customer for ninety more days. Next, now that you have a description page on Amazon, grab the URL, and send off your first email to all of those subscribers. Give them a brief description, give them the whole first chapter, and tell them to go check it out by providing the direct URL. (Make sure that the first chapter has an opening paragraph that hooks them right from the beginning! I cannot emphasize this one thing enough.)
30 days after the prerelease of Book 1, do the same thing with Book 2. Set it for a prerelease for 90 days later. Grab the URL to book two and head back to the document for Book 1. Edit it to include a direct link for the second book after the words "The End". Re-upload the document to Amazon. Fire off a second email to your subscribers. You should have close to three thousand o more subscribers by now. Give them another taste of book 1 with an exciting excerpt. Tell them how Book 2 is ready for them to check out and provide the URL.
At the same time as you send that second email and prerelease book 2, jump back into Facebook and create a new ad for selling Book 1. You are going to target that ad by using your subscribers. You will basically tell Facebook to take these email addresses and build me a lookalike audience from them. Facebook will match those emails to people on Facebook. It will then create a targeted audience to serve those ads to other users who have similar habits, likes, dislikes, and trends. That targeted audience will be hundreds of thousands of people strong. Every one of them will be similar to the same people who said they wanted to read your free novellas. Set a modest budget of about $10 a day.
60 days after the day you pre-released Book 1, and thirty days after the day you pre-released Book 2, you will now prerelease Book 3 on a 90 prerelease schedule. This means that in 30 days, your Book 1 will be live. Send out another email to your subscribers. Let them know about Book 3, give them another excerpt from Book 1, and provide the URL to all three books. Go into the document from Book 2 and add a direct link to Book 3 after the words "The End". Re-upload the document to Amazon.
15 days out from the launch of Book 1, send out another email. Give them chapter 1 again, and provide them the link to Book 1. STEP 10
On the day Book 1 goes live, send out an email to your subscribers. Thank them for helping you get your series out into the world. Shower them with appreciation. Your day one sales will hit from any prereleases that have built up. If you have done your job and followed the schedule up till this point, you make get a few hundred downloads of Book 1 on your launch day. But stay tuned, because that number will only grow.
If you have done a great job in writing a great book, as soon as your readers have finished Book 1, they will jump over and preorder 2. Some will even preorder 3. On the live date for Book 2, that initial first-day bump will have snowballed into something bigger than Book 1. You may double or triple those numbers. This is good for advertising because when Amazon sees such a large spike, they tend to advertise for you for a while because they see there is an interest there. And remember, you are still advertising Book 1 and adding subscribers in exchange for those three novellas. And now, those novellas, become worth so much more because potential customers see there is a whole series waiting for them if they like what they read. When Book 3 goes live, you will likely double or triple Book 2's first-day numbers. Again, you get a nice spike in sales, Amazon advertises for you because it is popular, and you may even get the book onto the best seller's list. If that happens, Amazon will serve it up organically to people searching for books in your genre, AND you will be able to claim bestseller status on your book description.
You may now thank me.
Now, like I said in the beginning, I did not detail how to set up a mailing list, what vendors to use, the importance of a good website, how you should word your emails, or how you need to set up your ads so they are the most effective they can be. We did not cover things like setting up great, professional book covers. This was only to show you the general marketing strategy for a new author to jump in and actually make money. There are many other things to consider, and you have to be good at what you do as far as being an author. But you get the idea of how you can take those things and actually make a living at this.