Yeah, it has come to this: a Top 5 list. Oh sue me, I need the clicks.
1.) Use your Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Days whenever you can
Cannot stress this enough: you have five days of free promotions per quarter. Use them. I used them all five days in a row this January as a new year’s present and got an amazing 205 downloads out of it. Where there were none before (20 downloads in the tree months prior surely don’t count), there are now more than 200 people who might read it one day and if only a small percentage of these people actually review the book it will have been worth it. For future promotions I would recommend going with a weekend and a long weekend spread out over the three-month period. And stay on Kindle, it is the best way to get anywhere.
2.) Social Media: focus on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit
Social media is the best tool for self-promotion. I mainly use Twitter for link sharing because of the hashtag feature. Facebook and Reddit are even better tools but also multi-functional. I already use Facebook groups to communicate with far-away friends and people of similar interests and thus you don’t feel to bad to do some networking and self-promotion on top of it all. It will also mean that others are more inclined to listen what you have to say.
3.) Link all your social media platforms
Seriously, link all your social media to your website and the like. It saves so much time to share it once with hashtags, links, and pictures. You will have to do it so many times a month that it’s not even funny.
4.) Quality over quantity
The best thing about self-publishing is that you are working on your own schedule. The worst thing about self-publishing is that you are then told to flood the market with new material. Don’t. It’s not worth it. Instead of writing five interconnected short stories/novelletes write a novella or short novel. It’s why I gave up on Pariah Company, of which I posted the first chapter on here last Sunday. I don’t think I could have kept up the quality instead of resorting to filler. My current goal is one project per quarter, with a maximum of two novels per year (200+ pages). This gives you time to polish your work up. While you don’t necessarily need an editor if you are critical enough or have the training to do it yourself (having degrees in English and the insanely paranoid History certainly helps), that does not mean you can skip quality control. There is only one first impression.
5.) Find a cover ARTIST rather than a COVER artist
Maybe I’m biased but Peter managed to make an amazing cover for Historian’s Crusade. To this day I remain convinced that it is the main reason why people actually give the book the time of day. And that’s because it’s custom-made, it’s unique. As much as I admire people who have mastered photoshop, I cannot deny that the influx of those public domain digital covers on Amazon is the biggest problem with self-publishing: everything looks identical. Come on, guys: we’re in this because we don’t want to be tied down by the publishing sector. Try to stand out.