Sunday, June 11, 2017

Lessons Learned So Far

I'm nearly a month into this book release thing, so I thought I'd share what I've learned so far.  The list may seem a bit negative, even though I don't really mean it that way.  It's just that we learn the greatest lessons from the things we need to fix.

1.  You'll never catch every mistake.  I went over Akeldama with a fine tooth comb.  It has been written for nearly six years, and I spent most of the last six months pouring over it to make sure it was perfect.  It wasn't.  I was no more than a day past release when I found my first typo.  I've found three so far, and it irks me.  I'm going to put in a correction, but I somehow doubt even then that the 10th go around will find everything.  Copyediting would be great, but it's expensive.

2.  Not every subscriber will buy a copy.  I've spent the last few years building a subscriber list of several hundred.  Each time I convinced someone to join my list, or they asked me to of their own accord, I got excited.  Well, it turns out that not everyone is as enthusiastic about your project as you are.  So far, barely a third of those on my list have bought a copy.  That makes me wonder how many were just humoring me.  Yes, build your list, but don't bank on it providing the bulk of your sales.

3.  Whatever you project as costs...double it.  Costs pile up.  You may think you're straight with a cover, ebook format, and print format, but there are so many more costs that you can soon find yourself overcome by them.  I needed proof copies, second proofs after the first resubmission, a business license, a (very small) advertising budget, book promotion copies, etc.  Costs I never considered came up.  Be generous with what you think you'll spend when you estimate cost.

4.  No one will be as enthusiastic about your work as you.  Many think that simply getting a book out there is enough.  It isn't.  If you want to do promotional events,. you need to really go after those slots.  If you want reviews, you need to ask, and possibly re-ask.  When someone says your book sounds interesting, try to close the sale at that moment.  Waiting allows them to cool off, and you're much easier to say no to if you're not there to make a face to face call.  People don't just run to Amazon and buy it just because you're the one who's excited about it.

5.  There are always surprises.  Some folks will come through in ways you never imagined.  Sales will come from unexpected quarters.  Always seek the opportunities that come, and that means being on the lookout for them, no matter how subtle they may be.  And then move past those opportunities you miss.  They may sting, but you'll waste time and emotion on that which you cannot change.

Overall, it's been a great start, and one to keep going.  Hopefully these lessons will help me continue to sell and make my next project even better.

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