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How To Make Money Self-Publishing Your Book

How To Make Money Self-Publishing Your Book

    One of the biggest undertakings for any writer, author, communicator, journalist, artist, or professional is publishing a book. Specifically, self-publishing is one interesting venture, but may not be a huge return on investment (ROI) for your efforts right away.

    Wikipedia defines “indie” literature as publishing a book “outside mainstream publishing.” Falling under this category of “indie” literature, self-publishing a book can be a great way to build your brand as a writer and can be an avenue with which to experiment. It will provide a self-starter with hands-on experience and an inside look into what the process is all about.

    Basic Facts About Self-Publishing

    The following are key facts about self-publishing for readers and authors:

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    • 30 percent of the top 100 books on Amazon are self-published and the number continues to grow.
    • Classics from Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, and others were self-published works.
    • 21st century technology has made financially-viable digital printing, eBooks and online book retailing to its current form.
    • Self-publishing can give authors much greater earning potential than the traditional route on day one.
    • Self-published books never go out of print.
    • Self-publishing frees an author from writing what the publishing company tells them to write, and allows them to write about what they like and what makes them tick.

    Tips for Self-Publishing Success

    This infographic paints a picture on what should be considered the top keys with having self-publishing success:

      To recap here are some important takeaways from the visual graphic above:

      • Put your heart into it
      • Provide quality of content
      • Invest time, money and effort

      No matter the scale of success you are aiming for put all of you heart in the project. If you don’t feel passionate about your subject matter or at least put all of your heart and effort into your writing, your book will fall short.

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      If you dedicate the necessary amount of hours of writing, carefully investing your money and maximizing effort you will come away with a successful piece of literature.

      Effectively Promoting Your Book

      So, once you have found what to write about what do you think happens next? How do you promote it? Do you contact a publishing company? These are just one of the many question that have no specific or magical answer.

      If you opt to go with a self-publishing services you better have money saved up and invested. You will have to pay fees, and fork over a percentage towards printing your book. Services will typically provide editorial assessment, copy editing, proofreading or a combination all three. The price is ultimately calculated from the total number of words in your book.

      While it may seem like a done-for-you solution to hire a “self-publishing” company, the fees associated with it will eat into your profits on a continuous basis. You see, if you self-publish on your own, you don´t pay a cut to anybody and keep the earnings for yourself. However, you may not have the connections and resources that a self-publishing company will have. You will need to weigh the costs and benefits of either publishing on your own or working with a company in order to have the greatest chance of success. There are many places to look online to learn more, for example, Steuben Press is an online book printer and a valuable resource for self-publishers.

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      Once your book is written Steuben Press suggests these proven steps to promote your self-publishing work:

      1. Sell to those you know
      2. Encourage sharing
      3. Recruit influencers
      4. Create a buzz online
      5. Organize a launch party

      Word-of Mouth Promotion

      When you pitch your own work to people you know it will build word-of-mouth marketing and it is cheaper than paying for advertising (online, social, mobile, etc.). Furthermore, someone in your immediate circles might connect you to that person who has access to an audience via a podcast, YouTube channel or just any other medium out there among the masses.

      Social Media Promotion

      You can also provide the first digital copies in advance in exchange to have readers submit reviews on Amazon. Additionally, you can use social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn to promote your book. Utilize the Facebook Live feature to talk about your work, host a Twitter chat to answer questions, post beautifully crafted images of the cover and memorable quotes or excerpts from the book on Pinterest, and publish multiple posts that provide insight about the process of writing this book.

      All of these efforts will help connect you with potential influencers, and at the same time create some buzz online. The more times you share content related to your work on the web while others simultaneously talk about on their existing networks, it will become increasingly visible to others. The process does not happen overnight.

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      Launch Party Promotion

      Finally, host a launch party. Do this within the confines of your budget and resources. Once you have compiled all the data, the number of people actively involved in the process and demand for copies will allow you to foresee just how large the gathering should be.

      The goal of a launch party is not only to be a catalyst for spreading your book via word of mouth and social shares, it also serves to facilitate another vital component of a book launch – book reviews. Each member of the launch team should be incentivized to write a review on Amazon. You see, Amazon’s algorithm that determines product listing rank, and relies heavily on the number of reviews and the velocity of reviews. The term ‘velocity’ means the algorithm picks up on if many reviews all come in at once and interprets these signals as popularity. In turn, more visibility results in the book listings.

      Takeaways and conclusions

      Now that you understand the nuts and bolts of what it means to self-publish, the sky is the limit. You do however have to understand that there is a fierce competition from a pool of talented writers out there, but it is possible to successfully self-publish and self-promote your book.

      Featured photo credit: StockSnap/Pixabay via pixabay.com

      More by this author

      Anthony Carranza

      Multilingual writer and journalist covering all things technology and productivity.

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      Last Updated on December 3, 2019

      7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

      7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

      I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

      It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

      A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

      1. Define Career Success for Yourself

      Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

      What does career success mean to you?

      This is about defining your career success:

      • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
      • Not what people may think of you
      • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
      • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

      “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

      When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

      There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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      • Work-life balance
      • Opportunities for growth and advancement
      • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

      Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

      • What do you mean by work-life balance?
      • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
      • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

      Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

      • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
      • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
      • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

      Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

      • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
      • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
      • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

      Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

      Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

      What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

      2. Know Your Values

      Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

      There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

      Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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      • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
      • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
      • Put the words on your fridge
      • Add the words on your vision board

      Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

      3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

      When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

      How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

      Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

      • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
      • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
      • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
      • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
      • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
      • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

      Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

      • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
      • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
      • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
      • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

      Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

      By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

      4. Determine Your Top Talents

      What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

      What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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      What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

      What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

      What do you notice?

      5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

      Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

      I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

      Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

      Keep these words visible too!

      Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

      6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

      Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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      Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

      “These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

      7. Manage Your Own Career

      Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

      Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

      Summing Up

      For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

      Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

      Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

      1. Define Career Success for Yourself
      2. Know Your Values
      3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
      4. Determine Your Top Talents
      5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
      6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
      7. Manage Your Own Career

      “When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

      Good luck and best wishes always!

      More Tips on Advancing Your Career

      Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

      Reference

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