I’ve self-published my ebooks off and on for 10+ years now. While this service is fantastic and I do suggest it for anyone interested, it isn’t without its faults. I want to discuss the reality of publishing an an ebook that every author will face. This reality is for any platform or distributor. This way you can prepare to endure the lengthy journey ahead.
The Reality Of Publishing An Ebook: You Must Pay To Play
The reality of publishing an ebook is this: When you go the self-publishing route you must pay for advertisements. If not, then building your brand and gaining the public’s attention will be difficult.
Yes, you can build your brand through free, organic means like deploying a website and through word-of-mouth but the Internet is vast place. Thus, you will get lost in the shuffle. If you want to stand out then you must pay for attention.
First, buy a domain name. It’s inexpensive and you will need one for your website, which is the next service you need to pay for. Yes, I know you can build and deploy a website for free but those services usually don’t allow you to use a custom domain name. Services like WordPress.com start at around $50 a year for their basic website. I wrote an article providing more detail here.
Regarding advertising services those can be expensive depending on the type of campaign you want to run, but the return on investment is worth it. And the general public responds well to ads, as many do buy the products and/or services shown to them through this media.
Finally, pay for the services of individuals who can help you succeed in self-publishing. You only have so much time in the day and you can’t spend it all building your website, marketing yourself, selling your products, and writing. So spend some money to pay others to use their time to run your ads, or build your website, or promote your event.
The Reality Of Publishing An Ebook: Learn How To Sell
The reality of publishing an ebook is this: When you’re an independent writer you must learn how to sell. Hence, if you can’t sell yourself or are unwilling to then this journey is not for you.
Frankly, I avoided this lesson. I didn’t like to talk to individuals and sell my books due to fear. I feared rejection. Yet, every good salesperson knows rejection is part of their job. Everyone is not going to say yes. Thus, you have to face that reality.
So I became friends with rejection. I learned it isn’t a mean friend. Rejection comes around because a person may not have the money for my book. Or rejection pays a visit because a person is just browsing. Finally, rejection appears because the person needs convincing.
I watched YouTube videos to learn different selling techniques. And I learned how to compose myself when I ran into a difficult customer. Now I feel very comfortable telling people I’m a writer and advertising my books.
The Final Reality: The Starving Artist Trope Is True
The reality of publishing an ebook is this: All self-publishing writers must face the reality that we will not make vast sums of money from our books. Oh yes, some will, but the vast majority won’t. We aren’t going to get an advance of pay from a publisher to live. And if we pursue our writing full-time the starving artist trope becomes true quick.
I highly suggest you have some form of income during your self-publishing journey. It can be a part-time job, contract/freelance work, a spouse/partner, or a savings account. You need money to live because you can’t write books when the lights are out or hunger gnaws at you due to lack of funds.