24 things I learned self publishing 3 books in only 6 months
Basically, all the tasks that a publisher once did for you, you now have to do yourself. The alternative is to pay for someone to do them, but who has that money when they're just starting out? Better to force yourself to learn through necessity; then you become more powerful and less dependent, which can only be good.
Have more than one ebook already written Amanda Hocking, Stephen Leather, John Locke and many of the first wave of self-published eBook millionaires all had a number of titles ready to go at the same time. More ebooks means more chances to sell, and more chances for a reader who likes one of your titles to seek out the rest, thereby multiplying your revenues. Writing three or more ebooks before you even think about publishing is a mammoth task, which requires ninja-like patience, perseverance and planning. Most self-publishers are too eager to get their stuff out there, and so they publish too fast and without any strategy.
Better to carefully plan your sequence of titles, and to take the time to write well. Get the genre right Of course, write what you love, first and foremost -- but if you have your eye on money, the most popular ebook categories are thriller, mystery and romance novels.
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An episodic series, with heroes or heroines that readers can follow through successive releases, is a good strategy. John Locke created the character of Donovan Creed in his series of seven best-selling crime novels.
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Aside from this the other categories showing rapid growth are educational and self-help eBooks. Write shorter books, more often The average novel is approximately 80, words long, but ebooks lend themselves to shorter formats, some even the length of extended essays. Amazon call them Kindle Singles. The cold fact is, ebooks by definition are cheap, and however many words you write, you will only be able to charge a small amount for it online. Rather than spending a year or more producing one full-length title, it may be better to spend that time writing a sequence of three or four shorter eBooks of, say, 20, words each.
In marketing terms, publishing four times in a year is better than publishing just once. Price doesn't matter -- quality matters Some disagree with me on this. Many sell their ebooks for as little as 99 cents or less, which means they shift in bulk. But most people who can afford 99 cents can easily afford more than that before they start to get twitchy. I have bought terrible ebooks for five and ten dollars apiece and ended up disappointed -- not at the price, but at the low quality of what I bought. In tests people tend to equate poor quality with cheap prices, so a low priced ebook may not always be the best thing.
Social media marketing is the only way to promote. I have read posts by many of the first wave of ebook money-makers, and they all say the same thing -- that conventional PR and advertising didn't sell their ebooks. Most first timers can't afford the latter anyway. It wasn't until they started blogging and doing the other forms of social media that things really took off.
Lady GaGa presents an amazing example from the world of music. With 50 million Facebook fans and 20 million Twitter followers, she owns her own database of customers, and so selling becomes that much easier; crucially, she no longer relies on conventional PR. Of course, writers can't compete with GaGa's numbers, but the principal plan of action is the same. Create your own selling platform Amazon, iTunes and the like provide a good platform for independent e-publishers, but let's be clear -- as long as they provide the sole outlet for your ebooks, all the promo work you do drives traffic to their websites, not yours.
More importantly, they then own whatever database of customers you create from your sweat. Several factors go into the price of an ebook, such as author popularity, series number, and demand for the information for nonfiction. Ebook word count should also be accounted for when setting the price of an ebook. Experiment with different prices, a month at a time, to see what gives you a better result.
Keep in mind that readers often forget to check the length of an ebook before buying it and feel cheated when the book is shorter than they expected. Nonfiction ebooks are often shorter than fiction, and yet are generally more expensive.
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This is because they require more research and fact-checking and can become valuable resources to readers. Check out books of similar genres before you price your book, but keep in mind that many top sellers have big publishing houses behind them, and if you are with a smaller publisher or are an indie author, you may need to use price as an incentive to sell your book, especially in the beginning. As we mentioned above, word count in ebooks isn't nearly as important as it was in print books.
eBook Manuscript Formatting Guide | Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
As long as you write a complete story and don't charge too much, most readers will be satisfied. Don't fill your book with fluff to meet a page requirement, because requirements simply don't exist for ebooks. That being said, a very low word count may indicate that your book isn't complete and needs more plot. You can ask your beta readers how they feel about the length of the book and whether or not the plot was fleshed out enough.
Ask them if there was a scene they really wanted to see and didn't, or if they felt connected with the characters. Most sophisticated readers expect layered plots with at least 70, words. Some books with heavy world-building may require over , words to satisfy readers. A good technique to avoid negative reviews for shorter novels is to include your page count or state the size novella or short story in the book's description. We recommend doing this for all YA and adult novels under pages. Readers do usually read the description, so they will see your note there and won't be surprised by length.
So back matter and sample chapters will not be considered in your count which is a good thing for readers. If you revise and extend your ebook and not the print version, you may need to email Amazon to fix your page count. We wanted to see the page count and pricing of actual books, so we pulled the data below from Amazon.
We looked at 5 different genres, recording the pricing and length of 13 books in each genre. You'll see that each genre has two "pages" and "pricing" columns; this is because we sorted the search by "Average Customer Reviews" for one column and "Featured" for the other. These two sorts will show us the most successful books on Amazon.
Each genre also includes average and medium pages and prices for the data. From this chart, we can see that the romance genre is around pages, the YA genre can vary greatly, science fiction and fantasy are generally on the longer side, and mysteries and thrillers are in about the same spot as romances.
Self-help books, which are nonfiction, are shorter, as expected, and more expensive. We hope this post has helped you determine a good ebook word count for your book.
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If you have any questions or comments, let us know below. If you'd like to learn more about Book Cave author promotions or other writing tips like these, please enter your email below and click the "Learn More" button to receive our author newsletter. Do you have a blog idea or topic you know our readers or authors would love? Contact sarah mybookcave. Short stories are generally shorter than 10, words, while poems can range from 3 words to novel-sized.
eBook Manuscript Formatting Guide
For a collection of short stories and poems, you have a lot of flexibility. I would aim for novella size or bigger, since you've created a collection that should give readers more value than a single short story or poem. But again, there is no set standard for a collection of poems and short stories.
Very helpful. Thank you. After I finish my blog series on coping for depression I want to write my first ebook on the principles, and a workbook to complement and it.
How many words do you think would be appropriate if core content is about 20, words? I am creating a book whose objective is to simplify a complex subject - General Systems Theory. No pages of text.