This year, following are three things I’m doing to increase my earnings as a self-publisher. As an aside, since 2010, over half my annual earnings come from ebooks I write and self-publish via sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble mainly.
1. Increase Output: In 2011, I uploaded 50 ebooks to Amazon. Yep, that's not a typo. But you know what, it was exhausting. The last couple of years (2012 and 2013) weren't nearly as productive. And my income reflects that in that it's kinda leveled off. I can count on a certain number of sales, but my earnings aren't increasing.
One thing I'm learning is that you have to constantly produce to make money when you self-publish, so I'm back on the grind. So far this year, I've published two ebooks on Amazon and will upload one more before the month (January) ends.
In his annual "Resolutions for Writers" post in 2013, self-publishing guru JA Konrath spoke to the productivity thing for writers, saying:
I have 10,000 followers on Twitter, but I only use it occasionally Facebook? Haven’t been on there in eight months. I witnessed the rise and fall of MySpace. I’ve opted out of Google+ because I saw no benefits. LinkedIn? I can’t even remember my password. I haven't blogged or Tweeted in months. I've been busy doing what writers should be doing: writing. … And guess what? My sales have remained constant.
2. Invest in Professional Ebook Covers: You simply can't sell a lot of ebooks in my opinion without this anymore. Why? Because self-publishing is maturing (thank goodness!). This means that ebook buyers will by-pass anything that screams amateurish.
At the end – and beginning and middle – of the day, self-publishing is a business. And what do you have to do to succeed in business? Invest in it; ie, plunk down cold, hard cash.
FYI, ebook covers don't have to cost a fortune. For my non-fiction, how-to ebooks I create my own covers. For the few fiction titles I've written, I've paid someone to do the covers because they're outside the scope of what I can handle skill-wise.
3. Learn about Online Marketing: In a word, this means learning SEO (http://www.seowritingjobs.com/
Also, Amazon, the largest seller by far of ebooks, factor some of this into their algorithm, eg, things like keywords to help users search their huge database of books. Want your ebook to pop up in relevant search results? Better learn some SEO to give yourself a decent shot.
The bottom line is, there's never been a better time to be a writer. Self-publishing has brought about opportunities most authors have never dreamed about. But, if you don’t treat it like a business and produce, invest in and learn how to market, you'll remain the proverbial "starving artist." And there's just no need for that – especially these days.
About the Author: Ms. Black has written and self-published over 50 ebooks, which can be found on major sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, in addition to her freelance writing website, InkwellEditorial.com. If you found the info here insightful, get more in the complete self-publishing package on how to write -- and market -- an ebook (http://inkwelleditorial.com/