Self-published writer Adam Croft has a guest post on Joanna Penn’s writing blog, The Creative Penn, discussing how he has sold 130,000 copies of his e-books without any marketing budget or the services of a publisher. His advice is much the same sort that self-publishing author Michael Stackpole gives at his seminars, but it’s definitely good advice.
Croft urges that writers should know their audience, and write the sort of thing that audience wants to read. He says that writers should not set unrealistic goals, but rather set goals that they know they can attain so that they can put their efforts toward attaining them. He notes that writers have to do more than just write—they have to use whatever other skills they have in creating the book and getting the word out.
Use your other skills where you can, be it in graphic design or marketing. For me, marketing is not a problem as that’s my professional background. I promoted my books heavily using Twitter and Facebook, both of which are vital tools in the modern day. Free book giveaways are always a great way to attract new interest; one of my most successful avenues was to offer free copies of my book to a set number of new Twitter followers on a given day. Try this, and you’ll find that you get a surprising number of new Twitter followers very quickly.
He also advises asking your friends for help if they have useful skills, or even just as proofreaders. It’s also important to choose an outlet that will let you sell the most books (and, naturally, Amazon comes up here). Then you tell everyone about your book, because you are your own best (and often only) marketing tool.
Of course, self-publishing isn’t necessarily for everybody, and there’s no “magic formula” for success, but given how many of the successful ones have advice extremely similar to Croft’s, it seems like there might be something to these suggestions.