In this digital day and age new authors have a great opportunity to self-publish their books. There’s no shortage of sites out there dedicated to selling self-published books. Perhaps two of the most well-known are Amazon and Smashwords, but these certainly aren’t the only places. At a glance, this seems like a perfect opportunity for new authors with little downsides. Breaking into the industry is one of the hardest things after all. Even established authors today had huge chunks of time were they were unknown and struggling to getting their books in stores. Selling online also means being able to easily reach out to a large audience.
While there are many opportunities to self-publishing online, it isn’t all as positive as it might seem. One huge thing to keep in mind is that all of these benefits apply to other would be authors as well. What that means is there’s going to be tons of other self-published books constantly coming out. This creates a very competitive field, as new authors end up competing against each other just to get their book seen at all. Advertising is honestly just as important to new authors as writing a strong book. After all, even if have the most amazing book on the market it doesn’t mean anything if there’s nobody to read it.
Another advantage that comes from self-publishing websites is the fact that it is easy for readers to leave feedback. This is something that you can’t really get at a traditional bookstore. Physical copies of books typically include little blurbs or recommendations on the back. These are obviously going to be positive though since no author would have negative feedback printed onto the back of their book. Sometimes you can get the opinion of store employees, but they aren’t guaranteed to have the same tastes as the reader. Something they might hate is something the reader would love. Online reviews though are more than just a blurb, and aren’t handpicked by the author.
Of course to get a review you have to be noticed in the first place. A great way for authors to get some attention is by offering free samples of their book. This can come about in one of two ways. The first way is by offering just a small blurb, usually the prologue or the first chapter of a book. This is usually hosted on the author’s website. While this option is viable, it typically works better if the author already has an established audience. It is also worth noting that these short samples don’t give the reader a chance to provide a review. It’s just solely to draw them in.
Another option though is to offer a free copy of the book. Again, this is a great thing for authors to do if they have an already established audience. Many authors will offer something like five or ten copies of their book for free to their audience. It doesn’t just have to be from a website the author owns though. Some authors will go on popular sites such as Reddit and offer up free copies. This helps get their name out there, and ideally it makes the author a little more endearing to the reader. After all, most readers are going to be a little more inclined to writing something positive because they received their copy as a free gift.
It is very important that the author keeps their target audience in mind. For example, a science fiction writer isn’t going to want to hand out free copies on a website that discusses nonfiction subjects. For anyone wanting some examples of promos, there’s a number of websites just for samples.