Maybe it's because I'm involved in e-publishing, but every news item I see lately is about how great independent publishing is, or how horrible it is, or a debate on the topic. Most of that debate is preaching to the choir. Still, as part of that choir, I pay attention. I'm always interested in learning new tips. What is writing about, anyway, if not continuous improvement and [self] exploration?
Along the way in my exploration, I've picked up three e-books that each take a different tack on the subject of self-publishing. The first is John Locke's How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! With a title like that, who can resist? I've read criticism on Facebook's Indie Author Group that he's not sincere and such. I don't really care; I'm not adopting him, I'm reading his book. His background is business. His approach to e-publishing is analytical and, well, businesslike. It's an interesting read with useful advice. The main takeaway for me is the idea of knowing who your audience is and marketing to that audience. He says that if you're doing it right, you'll get negative reviews from those readers who are not your target audience, but they should be balanced by positive reviews from those who are your die-hard fans. I think part of my problem with Second Death is I'm not quite sure who the audience for it is. If I care about selling more copies of it, I need to figure that out. He also emphasizes caring about your fans and cultivating them by being accessible.
The next e-book on self-publishing is less of a how-to-publish guide and more how-to-market. I discovered Jon F. Merz several years back when I started on Twitter. I won a contest of his after buying one of his e-books (before Kindle). He seems like a genuinely nice guy who cares about his readers. His book is How To Really Sell EBooks: Practical Steps to Increasing Your EBook Sales. I haven't had time to implement his suggestions yet, but the book is, as the subtitle says, above all practical. The big discovery for me was TweetAdder, a program he gives step by step instructions on how to use to increase your sales. Marketing is the key to success in self-publishing (or traditional publishing, for that matter). And Jon F. Merz knows marketing.
The third book is one I just bought the other day and started last night. Michael R. Hicks is a seasoned tweeter whom I've followed with interest for several months. His self-help title is The Path To Self-Publishing Success: How I Left My Day Job Behind for a Full-Time Writing Career. Now how could I resist that? It's my dream! In what I've read so far, Michael emphasizes the journey. Self-improvement is key to success, he says, and recommends several books that helped him. Having been on a journey of self-rediscovery myself, this advice is right up my alley. The tone of the book is friendly and casual, but the editing is good so far (in fact is in all these choices). I look forward to reading more.
Three books, three different approaches to e-publishing. Great, now it's completely MY fault if I don't sell more books.
[Speaking of selling more books, pick up The Color of Darkness and Other Stories, hot off the computer!]