How is that possible? Because I decided to take both of my books off of Smashwords and Barnes and Noble. The majority of my sales come from Amazon, so I might as well benefit from their awesome program they have for authors called the KDP program. This means I can determine when I want a book to be free or discounted for only .99 cents with a countdown. My books are also available in the Kindle Lending Library, meaning prime members can borrow it for free.
May 20th was my one-year anniversary of being a published author! So that was also a factor in my decision-making of giving readers a free gift. When I first started, I said that I would never give my book away. The most I would offer is a .99 cent sale. I learned along the way that offering your book free can actually be a benefit.
I lose out on getting royalties from those downloads, but I’ve reached readers willing to take a chance on me. Recently I checked Amazon, and my free ranking was #313–#10 Thriller and #13 Suspense with 762 downloads!!! That blew my mind, considering I hardly promoted the way I should have.
Maybe I’ll get reviews, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll gain fans, maybe I won’t. Maybe by the time they read my book I’ll already have something else available, maybe not. I can’t wait to see what the future brings!
I thought it’d be fun to list the things I’ve learned from my first year as a self-published author. Here goes:
- Appreciate all readers and authors who reach out to you. Staying in contact with authors who write in your genre can provide great networking opportunities concerning guest posts and sharing tips on how to reach readers. And, staying in contact with readers (without spamming) is a good way to get a feel for what they like regarding what type of stories they’d like to see from you.
- Have patience. It takes time to build a readership. Success isn’t calculated by how many books you sale. Success means you were vulnerable to put yourself out there. You were brave. But trust me, it’s always fun to keep checking your stats on your dashboard and see readers buying your books!
- Research different marketing strategies. It’s not a bad idea to jump on the bandwagon if something is popular. However, you must realize that promotion/marketing doesn’t work the same for everyone. Tweak ways to make it fit your comfort level. Remember DON’T SPAM.
- Respect readers’ opinions. If they took the time to write a book review, thank them. Don’t harass them if you didn’t like what they said. Learn from their constructive criticism and keep it moving. Reviews are for readers, not authors. You wouldn’t believe how some authors go crazy over certain wording of a book review. Not everyone will love your book. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
- Last but not least, view the experience as a marathon, not a race. Have fun with it! Keep an open mind and you’ll be all right.