I was curious if there are any Wattpad authors who have made the leap from publishing on WP to publishing on Amazon and other online markets. Did you encounter a lot of challenges or was it easy for you?
No experience, although I do want to try it later on in life
I was first published in 1968, and from then through the 1970s, 80s and 90s, increasingly. But these were journal and trade articles, and then newspaper and magazine columns and feature articles. None of these required promotion. From 1998 through 2008, I concentrated on compiling and publishing auction catalogues, and because the success of my auctions grew exponentially, there was no need for promotion.
I shut down my last companies in 2009 and sailed off over the horizon. Along the way, I wrote four books on boating, and I self-published. My following meant no promotion was required to generate gratifying sales. Then in 2015, still cruising, I turned my hand from nonfiction to fiction. My first three novels were picked up by a small press, and this is when I realised the need for promotion. I’m still trying to figure it out as I continue to write. I now find myself with three so-so performers, three completed and unpublished sequels to one of them and two major works-in-progress. The challenge I now find is promotion.
This is actually a great time to be an indie author so I recommend you give it a shot as soon as you can, especially if you have one or two books completed ️
Oh wow. Do you find your Wattpad audience contribute greatly to your sales?
If they have, I’ve not seen it. The greatest contribution from Wattpad is the steady flow of germane, cogent, constructive and encouraging feedback.
I’m one. There’s a lot you have to grapple with as an indie author, but there are also many online resources to help you through technical challenges like formatting a manuscript for paperback or finding freelance cover artists or editors, etc. Honestly, I do everything except the ebook formatting by myself just because I like the freedom and control.
What it comes down to is that self-publishing offers ultimate flexibility. If you have a small budget, you can self-publish. If you can’t afford to spend any money at all, you can self-publish. If you know nothing about formatting ebooks, you can self-publish. If you know nothing about designing cover art, you can self-publish. You can pretty much learn how to do everything necessary to publish a book, and if you’ve got the budget, there’s also the option to take the easier route on things, like buying premade cover art or hiring someone to design one for you.
Marketing, though. Marketing is a pain in the ass. I’ve studied the major options and trends for promoting your books for about six years and have found that nothing is reliable, there are no guaranteed results, and what works and what doesn’t varies so much. I know people who’ve sunk money into ads without making anything back, people who do really well with ebook promotion sites, etc. It’s all really unpredictable.
I haven’t done paid advertising yet but from what I understand, there aren’t any high-earning indie authors (six figures a year and higher) who don’t spend a lot in advertising. I’ll need to work out my finances first haha
The market is ridiculously saturated right now, especially with scammers and those not playing fair. Cockygate tore apart the indie community, and Tara Crescent, Kevin Kneupper and the romance writers association have been battling Faleena in court. Pair that with the drama surrounding book stuffers, Amazon taking down reviews, Amazon banning authors for no reason, and more, it’s not a fantastic time to publish. It’s just more accessible. But I love publishing and I’ll continue to do so, providing the drama leaves me alone, LOL
The first time I published, I thought it was ridiculously easy. But, I was 16. I didn’t know there was more to it than hitting publish. Anyway, I’m sat with four books out right now, one is critically acclaimed, one is a solid one-star and considered ‘confusing and weird’. No biggie. I don’t particularly struggle with the publishing side, as I run a publishing house and have access to beta readers, editors etc, and I’m a graphic designer so I do my covers and formatting myself, but the marketing? Sheesh, sometimes I wish I never got involved. It can take a lot of work, but I could whip out a book and get it published in under a month if I wanted to, that’s how easy it is (full length, including Amazon’s wait time and editor), AFTER you learn what you’re doing. It can also get quite costly depending on how you go about it. If you want the best covers, you may be forking on 500$+, the best editors can run you thousands, the best formatters can run hundreds. Marketing on top of that? It can cost more than your house. Not to mention the holy grail of indie authors: BookBub. That can be expensive, too. BUT, if you can get your edits done cheap, get your cover done free, get your marketing done using free resources (I actually tried the free method. It surprisingly worked very well), and everything else you do cheap or free, you could publish for under 100$. Now, if finances aren’t relevent, I’ll have to say there are few challenges for people with a decent understanding of the book world. The main problems lie in marketing, to me.
From what I’ve seen, Cockygate seems to have united the indie community. Never felt prouder to be a romance author than seeing other romance authors supporting and helping one another. The book stuffing issue is terrible but I’m quite sure the romance community will weather this storm.
Hi @PrayforDeath! Why do think it’s the main problem?
Hi @JulieMidnight! Can I ask what have you done or what has worked for you so far in terms of Marketing?
At first, I tried out blog hops, Rafflecopter giveaways, guest blogging, entering contests on popular blogs, and applying to bloggers for reviews as attempts at getting more exposure. Got really bad results for all those. As in, there still wasn’t anyone who wanted to read my shit, haha.
After that, I started over from scratch with my work (including a new pen name and joining Wattpad), so everything else I’m about to say comes from comparing notes with fellow writers who had enough books for sale to try other marketing techniques.
Getting your book on ebook listings is usually expensive and difficult (have to have a certain number of reviews + an acceptable star rating for most listings), and there’s no guarantee you’ll make enough sales to break even or make a profit at first. I know people where it never worked out, and people who depend on that tactic to make a nice profit every month. A lot seems to come down to if readers respond to your work and if you have enough books for sale that you can cycle through submitting them to the listings (a lot of listings have a clause where you have to wait six months or whatever before submitting a book to them again).
I don’t know anyone who’s had good success with Facebook ads for their ebooks. Amazon Marketing Services works a lot better for some as long as you have good keywords (as in, hundreds of dollars more profit per month) and barely moves the needle for others.
So, yeah. Again, this is all either personal experience or from working closely alongside others as we shared tactics and data. Hope some of this was helpful, haha!
It was very helpful! Thanks a lot for explaining so well how it’s been working for you !
What do you write?
Mostly gritty paranormal romance and werewolf erotic romance.
I write Romance too. Which plataforms have you used? Only Amazon?
That’s too funny. I’d thought about running an experiment to publish a book under a pseudonym just to try and have something to work with and learn the ropes without having to worry about sales and rank, etc.
Seriously, 2 hours on the KBoards where people were hashing out all the various controversies you mentioned above and I was like, “Nuh-uh! Forget it!” Geesh! These threads are education enough!
The time of smooth-sailing, just get it out there self-publishing seems to be over, or at least closed off, until the next innovation occurs and the early-adopters can benefit from the first-mover advantage.
Yeah, just Amazon for now, but my future plans are to expand to other retailers, probably via Draft2Digital to make it easier.