The Only 3 Ways to Succeed as a Self-Published Author in 2017

In 2012, self-publishing was touted as the future of book publishing by many global media outlets. The parade was so hyped up that literally hundreds of thousands of aspiring authors and unpublished writers rushed to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Press to get pieces of the pie.

In one year, Amazon recorded over $5 billion in Kindle-related sales (eBooks, eReaders, etc.) The interesting fact is that less than 4% of that sales figure was attributed to have come from self-published books; and of that 4%, a whopping 99% went to a privileged few like J.A. Konrath, Amanda Hocking, Andy Weir, Rachel Abbott, etc.

Take note that these privileged few only represent the tip of the iceberg of what might potentially be hundreds of thousands of indie authors, most of whom sell less than six copies of their books each year. In the blinding glitter of the moment, thousands of self-published authors allowed themselves to be sidelined in what turned out to be one of the biggest revolutions of the century.

Today, Amazon boasts of “millions” of published Kindle books, “millions” of readers and “millions” in sales and revenue. What does the average self-published author boasts of? You guessed right: nothing.

Two of the biggest revolutions of our time were happening right under our noses. The MP3 was said to be the future of music just as the eBook was said to be the future of publishing. The future is here, and what do we see? The MP3 has indeed found its place — right next to the CD; and the eBook has found its place — besides the print book.

The technology companies that drive both industries are not only solidly established but also enjoying tremendous success today. The only group that appears to be quite misplaced, left out and uncertain are the earliest adopters — the starving content creators, indie artists and self-published writers who embraced these façades when nobody else was taking them seriously, and dutifully and dedicatedly offered up their creative arts to make up an inventory that was greatly lacking.

For as long as we could remember, content creators were kept behind glass walls. They waved carrots in our faces — the privileged few — spotlighting them in the news and headlines and making us salivate about what it might mean to be like them. Now that the bubble is bust and we are no longer asleep, this is the time to consciously take back control of your book publishing business. 2016 is already over but 2017 must not meet you in this same state. This is the time for an internal revolution, and this revolution can only begin with you.

You have a decision to make. You can choose to continue to conform to a system that is obviously no longer serving you, or you can choose to bring the challenge home to yourself and fight for a difference.

The fact that you’ve read this post up to this point means that we are on the same side. You want change as badly as I desire it. Let’s examine three of the best ways forward, especially as we prepare to enter the new year 2017.

Partner with Other Indie Authors / Publishers

I have written extensively on the advantages and privileges of a joint publishing partnership. A team of ten authors working together as one entity can achieve a lot more than each of those authors will achieve on their own. There’s power and strength in numbers!

Hire Your Own Professional Team

Rather than work as part of a team, if you have the budget, you can choose to create your own team. This still gives you the power of the number, but without the personal commitment that would’ve been required of you.

You may choose to hire your own editor, designers, beta readers, reviewers, marketers, promoters and publicists, and even your own street team. You may have to do a lot of hiring and firing during the early stages, but once you’ve found the right team, you can quickly recoup those losses as you release one bestselling book after another.

Acquire Business Skills & Develop Own Strategies

Do you know what a “million” means? There are millions of Kindle books on Amazon, as proudly stated on the website. Millions of Kindle books from self-published authors just like you. What are your chances for success? It’s like one in millions! Unless you’re doing things differently, you have a greater chance of winning the lottery.

As a last resort for when nothing else works, build up and develop your business and marketing skills. Devise strategies to acquire and keep your own book readers and customers. Aim to grow your business as a publisher, and not as an author. Do something everyday to set yourself apart from the competition. This is the way to stand out. Only until you can stand out from the vague sea of “millions” will you truly be successful.

Not much has really changed. In fact, everything has gone exactly as planned. Self-published authors are only just awakening to the reality of the situation. If you still have those dreams you started with when you first joined the publishing industry, now is the time to start getting things done. You don’t cling to a mistake because you spent a lot of time making it, neither should you hang on to a business model that no longer serves you.


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