You know that I’ve been considering going full-time with the online thing when I move to Canada in about a year from now, so I’ve been super-focused on drinking less and building my online empire more.
And, I’ve been listening to these two podcasts (search on iTunes): Self-Publishing Questions, and Self-Publishing Answers. The both talk about what it takes to be a successful self-publisher and here are some things they mention:
Having a platform of some kind (YouTube channel, podcast or website) besides your actual books on Amazon is huge. The good news is that I already lots of websites, and I’m working on YouTube now.
A Social Media Presence
You need to get your name out into the world in order to build your brand and a huge way to do this is through social media. I’m on most of the big social media sites and have small, but growing followings on them.
A Specific Niche
It is far, far better to focus on one niche and then put out related books in that niche. The theory is that people will like the first book they read and buy more related books of yours. The good news is that all my books so far are reasonably related and fall into the “ESL Teaching Niche.”
More than One Book
People who are making a living at writing books all have a lot of them; at least 10. The good news it that in a couple of months from now, I should have four and I have lots of ideas for more. And now that I know the (basic) ins and outs of self-publishing on Amazon, it’s much faster and easier to produce more stuff.
If you’re a terrible writer, it’s going to be an uphill battle to make it in the self-publishing world, or even the blogging world. The good news is that while I’m not the most fabulous writer, I’m proficient and with a good editor (thanks Jason!), I think I’m able to provide a decent product.
I think my strength is writing things in a simple way so that pretty much anyone can get it. So far, nobody has commented in the reviews that my books are unprofessional or filled with grammatical errors, or that they’re difficult to read.
An Email List
An email list is huge because you can share news of your new books with people who already know of and like you. Hopefully they will go on to buy it and leave you reviews, which really helps your Amazon rankings. You could also offer free, or discounted copies to your list in order to get the ball rolling as well. The good news is that I’m slowly and steadily building my list at around 100 people a month.
Whatever you call it: passion, fire, desire, positive attitude, it’s the number one thing you need if you want to make it online. Also, you need to deal with failure well, never give up, and also keep learning. The good news is that I have this strong desire to be my own boss and am willing to put in the time it takes to do that.
I think you are looking at non-fiction books, but Scott Sigler’s example in science fiction might be interesting for you. I can’t really say that his stories or writing is great -he may have simply been a mid-sized fish in a small pool in 2005 – but he grew a lot of fans in ways similar to what you have described in this post.
Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll definitely check him out. What are you working on these days?
I can’t really say. Nothing secret; I just have a dozen things I should be working on and am not.