Richard Weirich

The Enormous Challenge of Self-Publishing

One of the great positives about being a self-publishing author is freedom. Who doesn’t want to be their own boss?

I answered to bosses more years than I care to remember. There were a few along the way who were somewhat tolerable. But autonomy is nice, albeit enormously challenging.

When I wrote my first novel in 2012, I was motivated by a need to get something off my chest. It was therapy. Yes, Fifth Sunday: The Loving Hands Murder is a work of fiction, but it is based on a true story. In it, I shared many of the realities of church life, the stuff that goes on behind the scenes. I would like to believe what I experienced was the exception to the rule, but it’s not.

Truthfully, I came out of the ministry deeply wounded. The related nightmares aren’t as frequent as they once were, but they still pay me an occasional visit.

So I finished the book and submitted my manuscript to CreateSpace and Kindle Publishing. And then I just forgot about it. No promotion. No advertising. Nada. Consequently, as a self publishing author on Amazon, I ranked somewhere near the bottom, or so it seemed. Last I checked, Kindle listed 1,490,599 titles. Somebody had to be last, right?

Fast forward three years to 2015. That’s when the writing bug hit me in a big way and in September I published, In the Valley of Hope: Faith Conquers Fear. And then I was hooked. Followed up with a second novel in the series, Farewell PFC Polk: The End of A Nightmare.

Since then, three more titles.

The Angels Diner SeriesAlexandra’s Song and Miracle at Gabriel’s Rock. And Hope of Cherry Blossom Lane.

I tell you all of this because there is so much more to self-publishing than writing books. That’s only part of it.

You’ll quickly learn as a newbie author that you are needy. Need help with writing, formatting the interior and exterior of your book, and submitting your work to electronic and print publishers. Need help learning to use social media and cheap advertising. Oh, yeah. You also need a self publishing author website.

Beware! There are wolves seeking to take advantage of your neediness with promises of miraculous results just for purchasing their proven tools. They’ll even show you how much money they’ve made with their tools of wonder. Rest assured, their profits have come from suckers like you and me who have fallen for their tried and true, time-tested methods.

Wise and knowledgeable counsel is indispensable for mastering the self pub process. The big question: Who can, and who should you trust?

Best advice. Find out what the guys at the top of the self publishing industry are doing, especially those in your genre.  Do that.

Everyday, there’s something new in my inbox from online marketers touting the latest and greatest method for climbing the self-pub mountain. But nothing beats hard work, discipline, and consistency.

Early on, I read a blog that has proven helpful for my approach to book sales. To the author, I apologize. Can’t recall your name. But the advice was the best I’ve gotten. In a nutshell, don’t get distracted by stuff. Write. Publish. Run some inexpensive pay-per-click ads on the Kindle site. Price your book low enough to break even until your sales pick up. In the mean time, write another book…and another to build a following.

Speaking of writing additional books…it effects the sales of your previous books. Fifth Sunday is now my second best seller. Keep on writing.

One last thought. If you run across a magic bullet that really works, let me know about it. I’m game for anything tat really works.

Have a great day!

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