Every author needs to grow a thick skin if he or she wasn’t born with one, because without it, the sting of criticism will stop you from doing what you desperately want to do: write.
Recently I got a nasty review for one of my books (I won’t name which, or who posted it). I was surprised that the reviewer ended the tirade with the words: “I won’t be recommending this book.”
Obviously, from the poor review.
I was shocked at first, then followed my own policy of never giving it a second thought and refusing to rush to defend the book in the review comments.
I am always reminded of this quote summing up criticism: “Something you can avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
It seems some reviewers are convinced that book that they don’t like should have never been written, that the author should have never been allowed to publish it, and that nobody else can change their mind.
One interesting comment this reviewer left was that the author (that would be me) presented the material in a way that made the reader doubt they could succeed in this home business.
Of that observation, I totally agree with the reviewer.
I always aim, in all my books, to present the pros and cons, the good, the bad and the ugly when I show readers how they can follow my steps and earn extra income. The reason I spend a lot of each book presenting the difficulties and the obstacles isn’t really to send a message of defeatism. It’s not that I want to discourage a reader from trying. I simply want to warn them that difficulties and problems are sure to crop up. Most home business ventures, whether they are part-time or full-time businesses, are fraught with problems, and what I try to do is to identify these problems early on some the reader can prepare and be ready to handle the obstacle.
I pride myself in presenting simple how-to books which help readers get a fast start to make extra money in their spare time. I also pride myself that I don’t make the process look too rosy. Yes, there will be problems, I tell my readers; But you can overcome them, I remind them. And, then I show them how.
Have I grown a thick enough skin over the years? Yes I have. Does the criticism still sting?
As a wise man once said: “If you want a place in the sun, you’ve got to expect a few blisters.”
All authors step out from the harbor of their dreams, to sail their written works out before the public. But being safe in a harbor isn’t what a ship was made for; likewise, being safe and protected and unpublished to avoid criticism isn’t the answer for the selling author. Toughening up that skin to deflect the slings and arrows of unfriendly reviews is the answer, and one of the most important skills to develop.
Don’t think I wasn’t appreciative of what that reviewer posted. I don’t think it will lose me too many sales. In fact, it gave me a reality check to completely explain the hows and whys of what I’m writing in future titles and when I update revisions of my current works in the future.
So, bottom line, this reviewer actually helped me see some improvements I can make to help sell even more books. Remember this: “To succeed, keep on doing what it took you to get started.”
It is never too late to revert to perseverance to get things done. It was Dr. Samuel Johnson who advised us: “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.”
Some call it “stick-to-itivness” or “gumption.”
Some call it grit.
Some call it obsession.
But I think staying the course self-publishing your work comes down to the internal quality of having the habit of persistence.
“Nothing in the world,” said Calvin Coolidge, “can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than the unsuccessful man with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is sull of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On!” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
So ask yourself….
“Do I practice the habit of persistence?”
“Could I be more committed to what I want to achieve?”
“Can I do something more, everyday, to advance me toward my goals?”
When you start putting pressure on yourself to reach your goals, you stretch your talents and abilities to new lengths, and they will never shrink back to their original limitations.
You have to set a fire under your butt to get going. No, you can’t do everything at once. But, you can do something at once. You can do one thing at once. So there’s no excuse to do one thing…. the next thing… that you need to do to make progress.
Not sometimes. All the time.
Everyday, think perseverance:
“He who is often shooting hits the mark at last.” (A German proverb)
“The sea is made bigger even by one drop.” (A Kalmuk proverb)
“Where one man finds an obstacle a stumbling block, another finds it a stepping stone.” (William Lyon Phelps)
“To wait for luck is the same things as waiting for death.” (A Japanese proverb)
“Weak men wait for opportunities…. strong men make them.” (Anderson Baten)
Finally, here is an extract from the public domain edition of Napoleon Hill’s classic “Think and Grow Rich” published by The Ralston Society back in 1937, where he underscores 8 key causes underlying persistence:
“Persistence is a state of mind, therefore it can be cultivated. Like all states of
mind, persistence is based upon definite causes, among them these:
a. DEFINITENESS OF PURPOSE. Knowing what one wants
is the first and, perhaps, the most important step toward the
development of persistence. A strong motive forces one to
surmount many difficulties.
b. DESIRE. It is comparatively easy to acquire and to
maintain persistence in pursuing the object of intense desire.
c. SELF-RELIANCE. Belief in one’s ability to carry out a plan
encourages one to follow the plan through with persistence.
d. DEFINITENESS OF PLANS. Organized plans, even
though they may be weak and entirely impractical, encourage
e. ACCURATE KNOWLEDGE. Knowing that one’s plans are
sound, based upon experience or observation, encourages
persistence; “guessing” instead of “knowing” destroys persistence.
f. CO-OPERATION. Sympathy, understanding, and
harmonious cooperation with others tend to develop persistence.
g. WILL-POWER. The habit of concentrating one’s thoughts
upon the building of plans for the attainment of a definitepurpose, leads to persistence.
h. HABIT. Persistence is the direct result of habit. The mind
absorbs and becomes a part of the daily experiences upon which it
feeds. Fear, the worst of all enemies, can be effectively cured by
forced repetition of acts of courage.”
When you create nonfiction ‘How-To’ or ‘Self-Help’ titles, the best way to be successful (that is, sell lots of e-books and earn a fair profit) is to discover what potential readers are looking for, research the solutions, compile the answers, write up the step-by-step plans, and then create/format/illustrate/upload/promote your e-book yourself.
With nonfiction you do not entertain; you offer solutions to problems.
HOW TO FIND OUT WHAT SELLS BEST
If you were going to invent something, wouldn’t you put all your energy and your intelligence and sweat labor into inventing something people actually needed and couldn’t wait to purchase?
Well, that’s what I do. In my opinion, nonfiction, self-help, “how-to-do-it-yourself” e-books will tend to sell better, longer, and at a higher price point than any other type of digital product.
Before you waste time choosing the wrong e-book to research, write, edit, publish and promote, follow these two simple rules to determine your best options by writing in your notebook answers to these questions and exercises meant to get the creative ideas flowing:
- Ask yourself: “What do I love to do?” The answers will lead you to consider what you’re passionate about in life, work, play and relationships. By being passionate about something, you’ll find the energy you’ll need to follow through on a subject long enough to dig up the information, compile, craft and distribute your work to others who are able and willing to pay for this information.
- Write down five 3-5 word phrases like “work from home” or “natural acne remedies” or “how to stop smoking fast” that relate to the things you love to do. Type them the way you speak them. Some will be winners, some will not. Your key to success is eliminating the keyword phrases that have low demand/high supply (that is, not many people looking for them and/or too many webpages competing for a high ranking on that particular keyword). Another factor in your decision making process will be how valuable your keywords will be. It’s nice to rank high in the search engine results for your keyword… but if no one is buying in that category or advertisers are not spending money on ads in those search results, you’ll be barking up the wrong tree with you e-book efforts and you’ll likely spend a lot of time writing an e-book that few people are needing. If they don’t need it they’re not going to spend money on it. And charging for your e-book is the only way you’ll make steady cash in this business.
Back when I earned my keep selling advertising, it was understood that you always needed new prospects, even when you had plenty of sales. That is, you had plenty of sales right now. Next month, you started over from zero. Not having any prospect halfway sold was like being out of business.
It is called keeping your pipeline full.
That holds true for self-publishing as well. No projects in the pipeline, no juice to keep your sales going.
Now, it you’re not writing to make money, then stop reading right now. This blog is for writers who treat what they publish as a business. If it’s a hobby for you, what I’m about to share will probably just irritate or annoy or outrage you, so skip this blog post.
For myself, I have come to the end of my author series, on how to sell more Kindle books, at least for the time being. I have the outline of a new ebook on how to gain more positive reviews and how to advertise your books for free, but those will move over and wait. My latest book will publish in March 2015, and will focus on helping the indie author find that missing spark, that magic formula if you will, to get started and complete everything you start.
And “The Magic Formula” is the basis of my next series of books. They’ll allow me to look at non-fiction self-help topics in a fresh way. I’ve got one ebook almost ready for final proofing. I’ve got several other titles in development. I’m filling the pipeline as we speak.
My goal has evolved to the point where I want to create a long-lasting, “evergreen” body of work, that will sell long after I’ve written it. That’s what I hope you, the reader, strive for too.
My topics will aim at self-help solutions. They will fall under the “Magic Formula” umbrella. Yes, they will be shorter than my current works. But they’ll offer up immediate solutions to everyday problems. The goal: once you read it, you can apply it; once you apply it, problem gone.
Yes… many would scoff at such an approach. But in my mind, people are buying Kindle books either for escape or personal solutions. They want fast ways to solve their problems. They need help. These new books will allow me to deliver that help. Quick and easy.
Back to the pipeline: by pushing this new series of ebooks forward, I can anticipate these new projects, work through them, get them published and move on to the next. They’ll be available both in paperback and in digital download formats. Having my pipeline full gives me a full plate to start working from.
The secret now is staying on track, keeping up with a full schedule, and knowing when to stick a fork in once book project, publish it and then move on to the next.
So what do you have in your pipeline?
Have you set up a series that needs to be finished?
Great. What then?
What have you got waiting in the wings?
Kindle book publishing is a simple process. Write what you want, push a button, and whoola! — your book is available to millions of readers on the world’s best bookselling platform, the Amazon website.
Once you’re finished with the book you’re currently writing, what will you write next?
If you’re not sure, then decide now what you will write next month, next year, five years from now, and do it today. Time will pass. Tomorrow — the day you put the hard stuff off to — is rushing toward you. Fill up your pipeline now to be ready when it arrives. Keep writing, keep learning, keep expanding your indie publishing bookshelf. You will succeed so long as you never quit!
Excellent tips on how to get more eyeballs reading your fiction. Promotion is an ongoing part of being a self-published writer. These simple tips are a good reminder on the right ways you can promote your fiction and sell more books: https://www.facebook.com/SellMoreKindleBooks
I don’t make many paperback sales through my CreateSpace page; almost all the paperbacks I sell come through the Amazon sales channel. But I still keep that book description updated, because if someone does indeed buy my book there, I wind up making an extra buck or two.
I noticed recently that my CreateSpace sales page often ranks higher in search engines than my Amazon Marketplace sales page.
So, this set me to wondering: “Could I use a small part of my CreateSpace description to also cross-promote my Kindle book and drive more e-book sales that way?”
Turns out, the answers is ‘No’… and… ‘Sort of.’
I contacted the CreateSpace customer support and posed this question to them.
Here is their reply:
Thank you for contacting CreateSpace with your support inquiry about linking other URLs in the Description.
CreateSpace doesn’t allow using URL links in the description section on our website or eStore. You can reference your other products and even put the ASIN or Identification information to make a search easier but not the actual links.
So, I had the information I needed to copy-and-paste my ASIN from my Kindle book sales page, into my CreateSpace book description. I planted it right at the end, where a prospect might be getting to the point of making a Go/No-Go decision on whether or not to click the “Buy” button. In any event, I learned something new to share with you.
Let me know what your experience has been when dealing with the CreateSpace customer support team, and also if you think it’s a good idea for me to be promoting my e-book from inside my paperback description.