Each and every one of us has a story to tell. There comes a day when you put that story into words and self publish a book. It can be so frustrating pouring your heart out, bearing your soul, only to have your book tank and launch to crickets. It’s book marketing gone bad.
For many authors, the problem arises when they spend all the time and effort in writing, only to discover after the launch that they have written the wrong book!
Let’s look at how you can set yourself up for success by planning your goals and strategy so all your efforts will pay off.
Reasons Why you should Self Publish a Book:
1. To weave a Personal Testimony or Story of Hope to help and motivate others.
Once you have experienced a life changing event, you either come out bitter or better. No one wants to read about someone who is still bleeding on the page from their past hurts. It’s imperative you work through the process before putting pen to paper. When you’ve moved through the process to healing and acceptance, then you are ready to share your story as a Christian author.
Identifying your target market is key for all future decisions so you write for the market, versus trying to find a market for your writing. Many Christians feel compelled to share their story. I feel is a requirement for writing for the Christian market. The Christian faith publishing arena is fast becoming a breakout market. Knowing that this is the market you are writing for is the first piece of the puzzle.
2. To record some of your Life’s major Events and for Posterity.
Think of your book as a recording of your experiences for future generations to appreciate. If this is your primary goal, then I would consider your book a vanity project. You could pursue the path of self publishing direct to Amazon or digital for the most cost effective method. This would allow you to setup a print-on-demand avenue, where you don’t have to spend on printing thousands of copies. Instead of having books gathering dust in your garage, you will print as you need them. Some of my favorite resources for this are Draft2Digital, BookBaby, Lulu Press, Ingram Spark and of course Amazon KDP.
3. To make some additional Money.
I’ll be honest, nobody gets rich on book sales alone, unless you are a celebrity. You need a long term plan and a robust marketing strategy. You can make a living if you put in the work. Ideally you want to create a library of at least 20 books and build that over 5 years. Where the big money lies is thinking of your book as a tool. This will lead to either consulting, coaching, or speaking opportunities i.e. backend sales.
4. To become a Full Time Writer.
If you have the goal to become a full time author then you do need a 5-10 year plan and strategy to get you there. You need around 20 books in your collection for the passive income stream to be at a sustainable level. You also need to be serious about building your author platform. Focus on getting your name known and leverage the relationships you have. If you know celebrities or other big names it will help to boost your visibility.
5. To become a Professional Speaker.
Using your book as a ministry tool or business card is a great way of opening doors to speaking. Speaking gigs vary in pay and many churches don’t pay at all. They do allow back of room sales where you can set up a table and sign books. This works once you’ve built up a network and a following so people are excited to hear you speak.
6. To establish my Authority and/or Grow my Business.
As a subject matter expert you can collate your knowledge into a book. This works as a lead generation tool for your business. They say having a book is the best business card you can have! It elevates your brand authority in a market and creates opportunities. This leads prospects down a funnel toward purchasing your products or more higher end programs. Self publishing your own book will ensure you keep control and reap the profits.
The Reality of Self Publishing:
1) Your story does matter but nobody cares unless it’s about the reader. The truth is that memoirs or autobiographies don’t sell (unless you are a celebrity or are well known). Many Christian writers make this mistake of thinking that they have to tell their whole life story in a chronological manner. Unfortunately it does not read or sell well. The solution is to think of the life lessons you’re trying to share. Write it more for the Christian Living space as a non-fiction teaching book. Focusing on a micro moment or major life lesson works better.
This is all about positioning and how the book is placed amongst others that are similar. Think of “how to overcome/discover/unlock/learn” etc. My own book “Worrier to Warrior: A Mother’s Journey from Fear to Faith“ started as a memoir but I altered it to fit within the Women’s Christian Living category. Here is the link for the book on US Amazon and UK Amazon.
2) Self Publishing a book requires an investment of money even if you do it yourself. The key is to do it professionally if you want your investment to pay dividends. You don’t want to skimp on a cheap cover or eliminate editing. Conservatively, you could get a professionally designed cover done for $30-100. You need to invest in hiring a professional editor/proofreader before publishing.
Even if you’re a great writer, you still need a fresh set of unbiased eyes looking for errors. I’m sure you have well meaning friends and family who are happy to read your book for you. However, they should not be considered reliable if they’re not familiar with editing for publication. Make the investment and find someone who can clean it up for you. The entire book project can tank if readers discover errors and you get bad reviews.
3) The other big mistake authors make is thinking that simply self publishing the book online the book will sell itself. The reality is books don’t sell themselves. The author is in charge of all the marketing and promotion. This is true even if you get a publishing contract with a big name publisher. They still expect you to do most of the leg work of book promotion. This is why building an online presence (website, social media, email list) is vital for continued success.
4) Nobody cares about your experience unless you make it about how it helps the reader solve their problem. This is especially true when writing for the non-fiction market. If you want to write it simply as a story, then consider it more of a work of entertainment.
So now you have some food for thought to ponder. You’ve got decisions to make about the route you want to take. Once you pick the path then the steps will become easier.
– Decide how you want to position your book before you go to the effort of writing the wrong book.
– Finish writing your story and first draft.
– Find a professional editor/proofreader and have them get the manuscript print ready.
– Hire a good graphic designer to create the book cover, or buy a ready made one on the Book Cover Designers or Self Pub Book Covers.
– Get to work building your Author Platform and Brand. You need to have your audience primed and ready for when you book launches.
For more resources and help with building your Author Platform check out my membership community at Platform Purpose.
Download the FREE Checklist “Build your Platform with a Purpose“.
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