Monday, July 21, 2014

How are your books selling? A $5 book that can turn sales around.


Do you have a head for business?

You should. 

If you’re a writer, of any kind, your business – like it or not – is writing.

It doesn’t matter if your books are full of butterflies, fairies, nymphs, talking animals and whimsy.  Once you’re done writing them, if you expect them to do anything other than just

image And the best guide I’ve seen so far to building a writing business is a hefty tome (479 pages) with the hefty title Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success).

With a thousand-dollar title like that, you’d expect to pay maybe $17 for this gem, but I just checked and the current Kindle price is $5.58.

Sometimes, as self-publishing children’s writers, we figure we’re somehow exempt from all the messy business-type stuff that applies to other self-pubbed writers today.

We’re not exempt.

As a self-publishing (or, as they say, indie) writer, you have to keep your head on your shoulders and focus on the 80% of activities that pull in the vast majority of profits.  Don’t worry; writing is one of them.  Stuff like piddling around with facebook and blogs (oops) might not be.

Besides its intense focus on marketing (in a good way!), my favourite thing about the book is its intense focus on writing as a way of life.  There are no tricks, the authors say again and again: the best way to get “discovered” as a writer, in any genre, is to write lots of great books.

Although the authors – well-known from their weekly Self-Publishing Podcast - insist that there’s no magic, they do also share some of the happy mojo, that helped them publish two million words in 2013 alone. 

Of course, writers are readers, too.  So any book by writers as well-connected as the authors of Write, Publish, Repeat, is going to mention a number of other books that are sure to help you along the way. 

Here are a few that came up again and again that are now either part of my virtual writing bookshelf or at the top of my wishlist:

Cover Title Why they recommend it Kindle Price
image image The War of Art and Do the Work, by Steven Pressfield Just because you have to fight to create it doesn’t mean it’s not art.  We all struggle. $9.99 and $4.99
image image Let’s Get Digital and Let’s Get Visible, by David Gaughran Nitty-gritty how-to’s for going digital and marketing yourself online. $2.99 and $4.99
image How to Market a Book, by Joanna Penn Goes beyond writing to marketing principles that could take your writing career to the next level. $5.99

On Writing, by Stephen King

Part memoir, part instructional.  This guy’s the master, that’s why. $9.76
image image Writer Dad and Writing Online by Sean Platt If you like Sean’s contribution to this book, he’s got books of his own! $3.99 and $4.99

I hesitated to list these extra books, because none have anything explicitly to do with kids’ books.  I already feel guilty enough telling you about Write, Publish, Repeat.

But then I spanked myself, just a little… because writing is writing.

If the goal of this blog is helping you (and me) become a better writer – and it is! – then not sharing tools to help you get there is not only wrong, it’s downright selfish.

In the end, though it’s a long book, the aim of Write, Publish, Repeat is simple: convincing self-publishing writers that they can succeed… as long as they stick to this simple 3-step formula.

So – enough reading about writing. 

Click through to browse the books if you like, but then close all your browser windows (even this page!) and sit down at your keyboard to write… publish… repeat.

What’s the one writing or self-publishing manual that’s made a difference to the way you do business as a writer?  Let me know in the Comments section.

[photo credit:  Grant Hutchins via flickr]


  1. That's a fantastic book! It's hard to find good books on self-publishing that work for fiction authors as well as they do for non-fiction. These guys really walk their talk, and have been doing so since the early days of their podcast. This is definitely one of my favorite books for self-published authors.

    1. I know, right? I have rarely met a book that just made me want to jump up and get writing in the way this one did.

  2. You got me so excited about the book I bought it! Can't wait to go through it! I am currently working in a series if children's books targeted at Highly Sensitive Children. The first book has been written and illustrated. My research has brought to my attention the importance of editing, so now I am trying to figure out how much I should be spending on this step. I haven't done this before, and I worry about spending more than I will be making on this book, and also that by not spending enough I'll make sure my book doesn't make it. I find very little information online specific to children's (self published) books, so I'm not really sure what to do.

    1. I like the book so much I bought the audiobook, too. As for editing... I am actually just finishing up a short, accessible, fun book on self-editing for children's-book writers. Should be out sometime in August. So hang in there, and there may be help on its way. :-)


As always, I love to hear from you.