Crushing Your Dreams: Why Self-Publishing is a Dead End : Under30CEO Crushing Your Dreams: Why Self-Publishing is a Dead End : Under30CEO
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Crushing Your Dreams: Why Self-Publishing is a Dead End

| January 6, 2012 | 6 Comments

self-publishingEveryone’s making millions on self-publishing these days.  Authors who circumvent traditional publishers are getting their books out themselves, and giving mainstream publishing the middle finger as they rack up big sales.  It’s a (virtual) gold mine!

That’s what the media wants you to believe.  Just writing an eBook and adding it to Amazon’s inventory won’t make you famous or rich.  These are the very rare success stories, which get a lot more copy than the other 99.9% of self-published stories: failures.

Reality check: as an unknown author, no one is going to buy your book.  People invest their hard-earned cash on those who are known quantities.  Stephen King could pull down sales by releasing a book of Post-Its he’s left around the house for himself, simply because he’s written enough well-read books that people trust him to not waste their time or money.  Debut authors sell decent amounts of their books by virtue of branding and reviews.  Their publishers do the legwork of getting them face time on talk shows, getting more celebrated authors to glowingly review their book, and getting them on the front page of websites like Amazon’s.

Do you have a marketing team ready to carry out a full-blown campaign for your eBook?  I didn’t think so.  The only way to achieve success as a self-published author is to create your own campaign.  How do you do that?

  • Give your book away for free.  Right, this alone won’t make you a millionaire.  However, if you can build a fan base from your first book, you will be a known quantity as you release others.  It’s a smart way to demonstrate goodwill and build trust.
  • Spread the love.  Don’t settle into thinking that Amazon is the end-all and be-all of eBooks.  There are many sites that cater to millions of readers, who may or may not be going to the “Big A” for their reading materials.  The more virtual shelves you can get your eBook on, the wider you’re casting your net.
  • Get out on other forums discussing your topic.  Offering feedback and engaging yourself with the communities who are interested in your area of focus brands you as an expert.  People will seek out more of what you have to say, and this traffic will fuel your “sales” with a minimum of work on your part.
  • Develop press releases, and release excerpts of your book in advance.  Marketing your book as if it’s being talked about is key to traditionally published authors’ success.  It’s also key to your success.  Getting potential readers intrigued by sharing snippets of your eBook, as well as leading readers to your site through keywords on search engines, are essential practices.  Don’t be scared of bragging – no one else is.
  • Use social media.  Obviously, you should advertise your eBook on your Twitter and Facebook accounts.  But you should also include links to your social media sites within your eBook – readers can share your book, and you can connect with your readers directly.  Being accessible will go a long way to selling your product.  If you can get people like Stephen King (okay, or more realistic “influencers”) to tweet about your work, thousands of people will read those words.  Don’t underestimate the power of social networking.

If you follow these tips, you could find yourself in the company of people like Amanda Hocking and John Locke.  Hocking struggled to find a publisher for her paranormal series, and began self-publishing; she sold 450,000 copies of her books in one month.  Locke is equally impressive – he sold one million dollars’ worth of eBooks in a 5-month period and nabbed a spot on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

As a self-published author, your success falls squarely on your shoulders.  Writing the book is only the beginning of the race, not the finish line.  You’ll have to work hard to market yourself; posting your book on Amazon and walking away, middle fingers blazing, isn’t going to lead to sales.  Defy the odds by being your own best marketing director.  You’ll thank me later when you aren’t in the 99.9% of eBook writers.

Nicolas is the founder of Paradise Publishers Inc. He started online in 2006 with a single website — Nicolas has since acquired, developed and sold other sites, but he has maintained as the flagship site. His newest venture is, which serves the popular desire people have to be published. Foboko is a revolutionary concept because it’s a website that gives away free eBook downloads while also empowering its users to publish and profit as eBook authors themselves. has created the first ever “Publishing Wizard” to allow community members to receive help from their peers and connect directly with readers.

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  • Jason Baudendistel

    The title threw me off at first because I am a best selling self published author. I will agree however that it is not easy and it definately takes a gameplan

  • William Dorich

    26 years ago I considered myself a pioneer in self publishing.  Since that time I have personally written 9 books and produced and published over 185 titles including, Witness to War: Images of the Persian Gulf War for the Los Angeles Times that won a Pulitzer. My own titles include: Defeat Foreclosure, The Nursing Home Crisis, Sleep Seekers and 6 books on Balkan history.  My company, has published 19 digital camera eBooks by best selling author Peter iNova and most recently TransAtlantic Man, the auto biography of Sir Eldon Griffiths who served 30 years in the British Parliament and who was the foreign editor for Time and Newsweek.

    Self publishing means just that… self, meaning you pay companies like ours to edit your manuscript, design your book, print it or convert it for the iPad or other readers and then help you market your book.  We earn ever penny an author spends but over the past 26 years we have continued to pay our authors 60% of the net sales, the highest paid in the publishing industry.

    The most difficult task is promoting your title and it must be a team effort that requires extra money, time and energy.  Unfortunately the Internet deceives authors into believing it provides the opportunity for instant success and instant millionaires, but those same “gurus” never tell you that there is a 97% failure rate on the net.  Those are the people who believe you can get rich quick by barely lifting a finger or by buying some stupid computer program for $97 dollars that is the end of the rainbow.  

    Recently, a rather famous television producer came to me to self publish his book. As a rather wealthy man with more than 25 years of major television shows under his belt I knew he could afford my quoted price of about $12,000.  He decided to accept an offer from one of the online publishers that promised him a book for under $7,000.  In the end he got his book but it cost him well over $15,000.  It was full of typos and spelling errors. Inconsistent headings and type sizes and a rather disappointing presentation.  He was encouraged to print 250 copies that are now selling on Amazon for $175.00… no one in their right mind is going to pay that kind of money for a book.  Like everything in life, you get what you pay for and the online publisher could care less that this author was encouraged to spend $15,000 for 250 books that he now cannot sell. However, online self publishing experts are not in the business to produce a successful book, they are in the business to produce a hundred books to build up the ego of a first-time author who may only seek bragging rights.

    As the author of 9 books I am amused when I see those who will sell article spinners that can take a 350 word article and rewrite it 300 times by merely changing sentence structure and words… this only lulls a writer into believing that writing a book is mechanical and can be achieved with little to no effort.  Writing a book, either through an independent publisher or a major publisher still requires a bit of writing skill, extra research, and numerous rewrites to get it right. Do not consider publishing your own book if a bit of sweet on your brow or a few sleepless nights is asking too much.

    William Dorich, Publisher/Author

  • EntrepreneursKorner

    This reminds me of James Altuchter. Using Social Media to promote his own book.

  • Lucian Apostol

    Self-publishing is the hard way, maybe, but to hope that someone will help you to publish your book, to invest in you, then it is like lottery. There are enough publishers that will tell you that they will promote your book but they only want to get the rights and hope that it suddenly goes popular so they can get credit. Why they do this ? Because they have nothing to lose. 

    Making a publisher to invest great sums of money in promoting your book can be achieved only if you are already known, if you bribe someone or if you are really a rare talent and your first book is a great piece of work. None of above applies for a starting writer: no money, no experience, no value. 

  • Kindle Publishing

    Oftentimes, promoting your eBook can seem a daunting and intimidating task. It will be extremely lucrative for your online business if you promote it properly and understand the power of this additional revenue stream.