When I decided to self publish I saw big dollar signs in my future. I wrote a really thought out book, had my best friend beta read and found an editor I believed would help me perfect my art. I checked and double-checked and finally hit the publish button. In the six months I had it on sale, before pulling it for more intensive edits, I had a lot of time to hit myself in the head, repeatedly.
When I was told that I needed to take more time to perfect the story and that I needed to change a few things, I waved it away. I thought I knew what was best but sometimes we can't see the problems others can.
2. Double check.
I didn’t do my homework and check out the editor I hired. OK I can't lie, I did check them out but I went with the lowest bidder. I figured if the government can do it I could too. Wrong. When I started getting reviews in talking about the bad grammar and the inconsistencies I went back through the book and found some of the inconsistences but I have a hard time with grammar. When I received a two star that was the last straw and I hired a different editor.
3. Make friends, don't spam.
I was told I needed to post in a lot of groups and send out newsletters every week, so I did. I finally noticed something, my sales were flat lining and people were unsubscribing from my newsletter. Oh did I mention my FB page was getting no engagement? No one wants to see a page full of ads, they want to know the person behind the words. When I started posting about my pets and dating life people started to respond. I also started doing takeovers, FB parties and started a fan group. Now the friends I have made help me by telling their friends who tell their friends and so on. Ads don't sale books, people do.
4. The back cover matters.
When a reader picks up a book or browse on Amazon they read the blurb or back cover and make a decision. I was told this and wrote one that I felt would draw people in but after a while I noticed it was filled with grammar mistakes (see number 2) and was all over the place. A horrible backcover will cost you sales.
5. Have a supportive team.
Many times your family is not your supportive team. They wont buy your book or care about your sales. Often they will view your work as a hobby and talk about it like collecting rocks. You need people like you - authors, bloggers and readers. Start a fan group, join author only groups and make sure you have a strong team.
Not only have I learned from my mistakes but I have had the opportunity to make my work better. I have reread Stone Guardian, my first book, and it actually flows and reads like a big time author book. I have a few authors I can write to and talk about anything with and I couldn't be happier.