If you are considering self-publishing, read this book. I cannot recommend it enough. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn close. No, really, stop reading this review and go buy it. Now.
You’re still here? OK, let me tell you why you should go read this book.
First of all, it lays bare some of the ugly truths about self-publishing. It is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a lot of hard work. In the beginning, you won’t sell much of anything at all. Friends and family will look at you funny and talk in concerned whispers behind your back. Bills will pile up. You’ll fly in faith of the awful-sounding Yog’s Law. But for some us, it’s the best thing ever.
Their title pretty much sums up the recipe for success. Write. Keep writing. Never stop. Publish that writing. Get it in shape. Make it awesome. Put on a cover that does not look like it was made by your 3-year-old master de crayon. And then do it again, again, again, and once more… again.
The talk a little about productivity techniques, about how writing faster does not mean writing crud, and how a lot of time, it’s just about putting your butt in the chair and writing instead of being out and about talking about how someday soon, you’re going to write.
They also talk about doing the publishing side of. It’s not a step-by-step guide to filling out the forms on Amazon or Kobo. Rather, they talk about the things to look for, the things to watch out for, and how to think about your publishing goals. Ultimately, they encourage you to establish a direct connection to your readers to help you survive any disruption for any particular vendor.
And on the repeat side? It’s more than just a commandment to go at it again. They talk about why it’s important to build up a large collection of books to sell and how to best leverage that growing inventory into increased sales. They give ideas of how to cast a wide net and funnel those readers into successive purchases of your extra books, as well as how those extra books can help you those readers find you in the first place.
Mostly, the book is about strategies that should work for the next five, ten, heck, even twenty years. These are not the latest tricks for gaming the Amazon ranking algorithms. These are plans for the long haul of building a career.
I only have two quibbles, both relatively minor. They push Scrivener as though it’s a must have. It isn’t. It makes something easier. It makes other things harder – at least, for me. Find the tool that works best for you. Second, they are mostly geared towards writing shorter novellas linked into series, i.e. each “book” is about 20-30,000 words long. I find I can’t write that short. That does not invalidate any of their strategies, however. It just means it takes longer to implement them.
So yes, if you’re thinking about self-publishing, read this book.