3 Practical Things I Learned From My First Book

Since my ebook Sunrise Over Beijing came out in March I’ve learned a lot about self-publishing and the common mistakes you can make.

Here are 3 things I wish I knew before releasing my ebook.

1. Know How Much You Want to Make

As of this writing, Kindle Directing Publishing offers you two ways to make money off your book.

You can get a 35% royalty (making 35% of the money from each sale) or a 70% royalty (making 70% of the money from each sale).

Obviously, you make more money with the larger royalty option.

However, I discovered if I wanted to get a 70% royalty, I had to charge a higher price for the book.

Depending on what kind of book you’re selling, charging more can mean fewer sales.

In my case, I decided to go with the 35% deal so I could sell my ebook for only a dollar.

I reasoned that since I’m not well-known, most of my customers would be friends, and most of my friends are currently college students.

College students generally don’t make a lot of money, but a $1 ebook is easily affordable.

I also reasoned that one dollar for an ebook might mean more sales because of my experience on iTunes. I

find that I’ll gladly buy a 99 cent song on iTunes without thinking much about it. Once I have to pay more than a dollar, I start to think twice and consider whether I really want the song.

2. Get Everything The Way You Want It Before Release

One of the tough problems with releasing a self-published book is that you’re the only person involved.

You have to be the one who makes sure the grammar is correct and that the material makes sense.

You have to be the one who sets up the table of contents, the page numbers, and all the related details.

You have to be the one who designs the book cover.

All of these things take more work than you expect.

I manage to sidestep some of these problems.

I released each of my book’s chapters as standalone articles through an online publication called the Odyssey, which meant every chapter got edited by several people before I collected into the book.

I’d taken a graphic design class, which included making some mock book cover designs, so I knew the basic steps for designing a good book cover.

The fact I’d reviewed at least 2 self-published books as a professional reviewer and seen what their covers looked like helped as well.

I still made some mistakes though and had to change things and re-upload the ebook’s content into Amazon several times.

Since Amazon currently doesn’t send updates to previous customers, this meant some costumers bought flawed copies.

So, if you want to give your costumers the best product, always make sure you have everything ready before releasing it.

Asks friends to edit the book for grammar and typos.

Look up how to add page numbers and similar features.

If you plan to release a paperback version, look up the best page size and change your manuscript to match it.

3. Coordinate Your Social Media Accounts

One of the hard lessons no one tells you about making money online is it takes a lot of work.

By and large, you only get lots of people following your social media accounts, seeing your work, and buying your product if you use your online accounts (social media, websites, etc.) strategically.

This means you need to learn to build a web presence and find ways to advertise your work wherever you get a chance.

I’d done some of that before my ebook came out because I had this website and several social media profiles.

I’ve added some things since then.

I now have an Amazon and Goodreads profile, and recently began releasing pictures associated with my ebook on Steemit.

I’ll make a point to keep experimenting and finding new and better ways to use my social media presence.

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