I wrote at length in my last post about how hard it is for authors to sell their books, especially if they’re self-published.
There’s an equally difficult challenge for new authors to overcome if they have any hope of making a living from their writing: obscurity. To put it simply, if no one knows who you are or what you’ve written, how are they going to buy your books?
Right now obscurity is my biggest challenge. I’m a nobody. Only my friends and family know my name (maybe a few Twitter followers also pay attention to me). Because of that, every ebook sale I make is a small victory and the result of a lot of work. But how do I, and other authors, overcome obscurity?
Give Your Ebooks Away For Free
This is a controversial tactic in the writing world. On one hand, many view it as cheapening an author’s work and driving the overall price of ebooks down. On the other hand, readers are much more likely to take a chance on reading your book if they don’t have to take any financial risk. If they like the book you gave away for free, they’re much more likely to buy a future book from you since they know you write good stuff.
When I used a free promotion for my Brad’s Reader Guide To Writing ebook, it was downloaded over 500 times. Got 2 positive reviews from it, which has helped get some sales. My point is that it got my ebook some attention
Offer Your Ebook In Multiple Formats
Not everyone has an Amazon Kindle. Not everyone has the Barnes & Noble Nook. Therefore, it’s important not to limit your ebook to one format. I just made my short story, “I Took Grandma To The Strip Club” available as a PDF download that can be paid for with Paypal. In the future I might record it as an audio book (not with my awful voice though). It’s just one more way to make it accessible to buyers.
Digging Out Of Obscurity Takes Time
Unless you’re one of those really rare one-hit wonders that takes the literary world by storm in a very short amount of time, getting your name and book into the public’s collective attention span will take a lot of time.
It will also take hard work. This means constant self-promotion – which can be a double-edged sword. Too much self-promotion and you’re an egomaniac. Too little and you’ll never achieve the success you want. There’s a fine balance you need to find. I’m still trying to find it myself.