So… the first short story is written. The cover art is complete. All of the front and back matter appropriate for a short story of only 10,000 words is complete. What is the next step on my self-publishing journey? Actual publishing. But, here’s where it gets tricky.
It might seem like a breeze to simply upload a file in book format to Kindle’s Direct Publishing, brush your hands off, and call it good. Certainly this would be the path of least resistance. After all, once it’s online and available for purchase, the sales should take care of themselves – right?
Oh, my smart readers, you know that is not the case. The answer is a resounding “No.”
So, what is the next step? Proper marketing, of course. The uninitiated among you might wonder why that would come before the actual publication for a beginning writer publishing her first short story. That answer is simple. One must jump through all of the marketing hoops, like research and copy writing (which is different than copyrighting), before publishing because some of the best marketing tools (and certainly some of the first points of contact with a potential reader) comes during the publishing stage. I’m talking about the book description.
How can one write an effective book description, one that will entice a reader to click the “Buy it Now” button if one has no real clue what marketing tips and techniques to use for writing that description? This is a killer first step.
So, while we’re on the subject of killing, please allow me to reference the book that helped me work through the process of marketing before publishing. Michael Alvear’s “How to Make a Killing on Kindle (Without Blogging, Facebook, or Twitter)” is a one-of-a-kind book that discusses the exact ins and outs of self-publishing on Kindle, and marketing it only through Amazon with zero hidden expense.
Michael is not paying me to say this. I have received nothing as far as compensation for discussing his book. Well, that’s not true. I bought his book. I read his book. I am implementing the extremely easy and extraordinarily simple techniques, to publish my book. If he has done his job right, and I have followed all of his advice to the letter, I should start seeing sales roll in (as much as one can with short erotic fiction).
I would like to reiterate how much of this book has made me say, “Oh, duh. Why didn’t I think of that?” Most of his advice, after reading it, makes perfect sense and seems like it should be second nature. But it isn’t. I was going to make over half of the mistakes that he has warned against. His book has reconfirmed, in my mind, that I don’t know everything there is to know – even though I think I do.
I’ve always told people that I am horrible at marketing. I don’t like to talk about myself, or my work. This fear is exacerbated by the notion that I write erotic fiction. Who can talk about that it polite company? It isn’t like I can sit around the dinner table with my friends and family over holiday and say, “Have you read my new book? There is some really hot sex happening in there. You should pick up a copy.”
Michael’s book definitely shows a way of marketing without the need for all of that. More importantly, however, he dispelled a myth that I have been arguing against since I was in college. Every single professor I had expounded upon the importance of a writer’s platform – a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, Snapchat, and Instagram. The notion here is that, by simply having these things one will magically draw readership from followers.
I won’t give away Michael’s words, but he makes very valid points as to why ALL of my professors were wrong. None of that is necessary. (Of course, I still have some of those accounts – and you are reading my blog – because I enjoy the notion of being sociable with my readers, fans, and friends. Simply put, however, I am not going to utilize these accounts as marketing springboards or to pitch sales. There are different, better methods.)
I will keep everyone (and at this point, everyone includes just me as no one is following this blog, so I’m writing more of a diary) posted on how well Michael’s advice works for my first short story. Perhaps the tips he offers isn’t meant for short form fiction. On that topic, anyone thinking of picking up his book, please understand that it is written with the non-fiction writer in mind. However, he does offer several tips and hints for fiction writers, and the rest of the advice still applies. One might need to “think outside of the box” if things seem different.
So, until next time (when, with luck, I will have officially published through Kindle)…