Can a Self-Published Author Find Success?

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I have always been a voracious reader. Even as a small child books have been a big part of my life. There are good books and bad books, and most of this is a matter of taste.

It is interesting though that as my purchasing scope for books expands, I am finding myself having the same conversation on a consistent base with my friends and family. It pretty much goes, “This book is not good. Like really not good. How can this be this bad?”

I don’t mean that in the respects of taste. I am talking about shallow plots and or characters. The inability to trust their reader whether by hand-holding or over explaining ( see general lack of subtly). Also, and one I thought I might not see as often in traditionally published works: poorly edited books.

Wait . . . aren’t all of those things supposed to be from self-published authors? Aren’t the gatekeepers supposed to keep these types of books out?

Unfortunately, both forms of publishing have these types of books in abundance, but it is self-publishing that gets the bad name. There is a distrust from readership that has formed as a result, and this can make it truly hard to get your work out there.

So, what should we do? Should we just give up? 

I say no. There are a few ways that people are getting out there. One way is to write a book every month to three months and have a huge catalog for people to jump into. I don’t know about you guys, but that just isn’t how I write.

For the rest of us, it seems that getting ourselves out there is the most important thing we can do for our books. More and more it becomes evident that the best way to have a successful book is to have some sort of built-in audience. 

It has been said that a good book will find its readers. I agree, and the start of any of this is making sure that your product is quality. That you are not only putting out a book with a decent cover but that has also been beta read and revised multiple . . . multiple . . . times and most importantly edited, but also making sure that the content is the best stuff you are able to produce.

Then what? You have this book, and you are proud of it, but how do you get people to care?

The next step is being present. Life is hard, but if we want to have readers, they have to be able to find us. There is a variable sea of social media out there, pick a few and spend some time being out there.

Another option that we have seen show some real result is, YouTube. While the site has been showing some growing pains lately and thus changing quite a few things with how it is used and functions, it is still a very viable path.

There are quite a few success stories out there where the YouTuber spends some time making videos, usually about books, but at least in the topic that they plan to write about. They build a following and at some point announce they are working on a book. 

The theory is if you like the person you might like their writing. At least you would be willing to give them a chance over some random jane or joe.

Once you have this audience, it is much easier to push your brand, which is you. There have been some who self-published and once they sold a certain amount were approached by a publisher to pick up their title. Others have a strong following and are able to sell well enough on their own to make a living at it.

I wish I could tell you how to achieve this audience. I wish I had a list of surefire things to do that can be done to generate hundreds of thousands of views. Unfortunately, that is where trial and error come in. There is a monetary element involved here. You want a decent camera and to make sure your voice is able to be heard. You also want to set up an area so that you can easily produce a video when the time comes.

I will say that there is one thing that divides those that are successful at this sort of marketing and those that are not. Consistency. Many of them publish at least twice a week with others putting out a video nearly every day.

It isn’t the only way to get yourself out there, and each of us have to figure out how we want to spend our time, but it is one way. Maybe it is something you might like to try.

I will say that it isn’t easy out here in the writing world, but if you love it and you keep pushing, eventually you can find your way.


By Brandon Ax

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Brandon Ax is the award-winning author of The Light Bringer Saga. He is an unapologetic nerd and obsessive revisor. The act of creating new worlds and interesting characters brings him great joy. He dreams of one day being as prolific as another famous Brandon … last name Sanderson, but for now he will settle with getting his next series started. 
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