I have read more articles and blog posts about why writers should become indie authors lately. I’ve written my share as well. (You can read them by looking in the self-publishing and e-book categories of this blog.) However, it strikes me that while these articles and posts, even the one I wrote yesterday that features a great product that tells you how to get started self-publishing your own e-books, outline all the reasons why you should consider self-publishing your work, they don’t stress the fact the the authors who have become successful as indie publishers either had a great platform already or built one through lots of hard work before or after their book was released. That’s how come they sold so many books.
I’m not saying that millionaire indie novelist Amanda Hocking didn’t write some awesome books, and that the fact her novels were good didn’t attract readers. However, she spent a lot of time on line publicizing her work. That helped her gain a readership.
Novelist Barry Eisler had a readership, a fan base, when he decided to go indie. Those readers will follow him–buy his books–whether he self-publishes them or some big publishing house does it for him.
I say all of this not to dump water on the self-publishing fire that is burning so hot right now. I do it to add fuel to the fire in a productive manner.
If you want to become a successful indie author–especially a nonfiction indie publisher, be sure you do the work up front that ensures your book has readers. Build platform. Become your own best publicist. (Yes, put on your business hat.)
How do you do this? Let me count the ways…
2. Develop a strong social networking presence on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.
3. Be active in forums and discussion groups.
4. Consider getting your own television or radio show or becoming a podcaster.
5. Pitch yourself to the media on a regular basis.
6. Write articles for print media.
7. Utilize article marketing.
8. Have a great website that you update regularly.
9. Speak to audiences of all sizes.
10. Offer guest posts to bloggers.
You can think of more ways, I’m sure. So can I, but these will get you started.
In any case, don’t just enter the raging fire of indie authors thinking you will become an instant success without doing the work it takes to actually gain readers. If you do, you and your book may get consumed and go up in a puff of smoke before anyone even realizes you’ve published a book. I’d hate to see that happen.
It’s true that this is a great time to become a self-published author. However, you have to be a great self-publicist as well. And that remains true whether you are traditionally published or self-published, but it’s all the more important for indie publishers.