There was a point in time, a little more than a year ago, when I thought simply putting something on Amazon would be enough to score a few sales. I proudly posted a short story, put up a Facebook post to my family and friends, and waited for a rush of sales. I don't need to tell you what actually happened.
If there is a way to go about self-publishing all wrong, I've probably done it.
I could go on for awhile with this list. The point I'm making is that I've made mistakes and I'm writing about them so that you don't have to suffer the same ones.
For the sake of research, I decided to revisit a few of my mistakes on purpose, just to have some real data to share. I posted an Amazon story and two stories on Wattpad in January and have done absolutely zero promotion on them.
The Amazon story went live on January 10. I have zero sales, and nary a Kindle Unlimited download. I didn't bother researching my keywords, I just picked ones that seemed logical and went from there.
On Wattpad, I put up two stories, one on Jan. 11, the other on the 15th. The first story has one read. The other one has four (and none since Jan. 30). As with Amazon, I did relatively haphazard tagging without much investigation into competition.
So then I decided I would add a new story on Wattpad, and promote it on Twitter with a Twitter card. That story went live on Feb. 12, and it already has six reads (though no votes). Most of those came right after I promoted it.
So what's the point of all of this?
It's really been the whole point of this series in my blog, that writing something is often the easiest part of the whole process. And your writing will not simply be "found" on any of the popular sites.
For one, there are scores of other people who spend far more time on promotion than they do on their writing. They know how to game the algorithms on Amazon or Wattpad to get their stories toward the top of the search results. It's basically a snowball rolling down a hill from there.
The other major factor is that people are not so willing to part with their valuable reading time. It has to be worthwhile. Good descriptions and good covers are major parts of getting onto someone's Kindle.
Clearly, if I knew the cure to those issues, you'd already know about me as an author. I'm still learning (slowly). I am finding that there really is no substitute for taking your time. It takes time to build a blog, a following, fans, connections and skills to become your own agent (which is really what a self-published author is.)
Others are doing it better than I am, and I'm ok with this for now. I also understand that occasionally people just get lucky. They strike a chord with the right person and score tons of traffic through one social media mention.
I know my moment is waiting out there. I know that I am a very good writer. To me, it's not a matter of "if" but "when". I'm trying lots of different things. I'm looking for opportunities. I'm biding my time.
While I'm wrapping up this part of the series, I plan on revisiting this after a while. I think it will be a fun exercise to see what I've learned and what new things I'll have to offer. Thanks for reading!