Earning Every Inch; Setting Expectations Correctly and then Following Through

Almost the first thing a potential eBook author reads when he or she begins to research the subject is, “Don’t expect money to rain from the sky onto your ‘deserving’ head.”

When I read these words at the beginning of my self-publishing journey, my reaction was, “Of course! No one really expects money to just come pouring in! I know it’ll take time to build up a following and then even longer before I start making ‘real’ money.”

The Trap of “Modest” Expectations

What I didn’t realize was that, even though I didn’t expect money to “shower” upon me, I did expect it to drip – even when I wasn’t doing anything. I think to words “book royalties” were too firmly ingrained in my mind. The words conjure an image of an unshaven author in a grey bathrobe and bunny slippers rubbing the sleep from his eyes, getting a check in the mail, and then going back to keep writing his next book.

Maybe that’s really how it is with traditional publishing. I wouldn’t know. With ePublishing, however, just about every single sale I’ve made can be traced to one of my promotional efforts. “Well, that’s perfectly reasonable,” you might say, and with some justification, but think about what that implies: Whenever I’m not actively promoting my book, it’s not selling.

In tangible terms that means that at the beginning of my vacation, my book was ranked on the Kindle bestseller list between 100 and 200 thousand, it is now 532,918. Ouch.

3 Tools for Self-Promoting

So, what’s helped the most?

Here are the 3 promotional tools that have worked best for me:

1) Friends, Family, and Word of Mouth:

Obviously, this one will only take you so far. However, if you haven’t already, definitely send an email to everyone on your contacts list and ask them to send it to everyone on theirs. Probably only your mother will actually do it, but the more “word of mouth” advertising you can get the better and it starts with them.

2) Local Papers:

Research your local papers. If they have an “announcements” section, that can be a good way to get the word out.

3) Twitter:

Although by far the least efficient, I’m pretty sure that Twitter has earned me some sales from people I don’t even know. So, once you exhaust your friends and your home town, turn to the Web!

I’m still working on cross-promoting with other authors and maybe doing some local appearances. I’ll let you know how those turn out, but, until then, just remember: if you’re considering ePublishing, it’s not going to just rain – or even drip – money you don’t earn.

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