Should you write for yourself or a specific market?
Why are you self-publishing in the first place?
A few reasons why authors decide to self-publish:
- To make a million bucks
- Retire early
- For everyone to know your name
- For people to consider you an expert
- Make money doing what you love
- Share stories with your family and friends
- To have passive income
- To show their high school enemies how much cooler they are
- Because they have information they want to share with a community
- Because they feel they have a skill ready to explore
So after those reasons, are you going to make money from self-publishing?
Realistically? Probably not. At least not enough to keep you from needing another job. In 2016 the number of self-published authors considered ‘successful‘ I.e.: who had sold over a million copies in 5 years, was 40. Total. 40.
But that doesn’t mean you should throw away your hopes of earning the income you plan. I believe deeply in self-made success.
The only thing standing between you- and where you want to be is time.
The pros and cons of making money from your hobby
- You get to do what you love
- You can work from wherever you want
- You can choose your own hours
- You have full control over your day, and your career
- Because of how much you put in, the satisfaction of success is enormous and rewarding
- What you love will turn into work
- You are forced to be self-disciplined
- It takes longer to get work done
- You are at a much higher risk of burn out
- Your days can fluctuate wildly if you don’t stick to a schedule
- It is hard work
- You can’t guarantee it will work out and you’ll be able to earn enough to keep you afloat
What is writing for market?
When you write books that you know will sell. Writing topics, using themes and characters, that readers are normally hungry to engage in. Adapting your writing techniques to deliver a book targeted for a specific audience.
What is writing for yourself, or pleasure?
Writing books that come from your heart, from your muse. You allow your story to sweep you away, and the process of writing is organic. You allow the book to grow as you want it to, no matter if anyone is interested in reading it or not. You write for the joy of it, your own joy.
Should write for yourself, or the market?
“Authors who choose to self-publish are becoming small business owners, whether they know it or not,” says author Michael Hicks. “They are offering a product to a specific market. But from my experience there are two camps here: Authors who write for pleasure and authors who write for sales.” Michael’s article goes into great detail of his rude awakening of what it’s really like to be an author who writes for sales. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be, and is worth the reads.
Turning a passion into full time work comes with a price. The stress of having to deliver what you love for other people can turn your love for something into a day job. You are turning up every day to meet the expectations of others, not yourself.
You have to finish work you often don’t want to, you can feel disconnected from your muse. This can be especially tough when writing a series, and by book three you’re just not feeling it anymore. These are the risks you take when venturing into the world of making money from your hobby.
What’s more important, writing skills or marketing skills?
Question: If you have a business, how much of your product will you sell without marketing?
And once you have sold your product and gained an audience, how much of that audience will you keep by the quality of your product?
How much is your audience going to be worth if they do nothing but post negative reviews of your work? I am a huge believer in marketing, especially with my background in business, but nothing is going to beat a well-written book. This is where customer loyalty, or ‘raving fans’ begin.
10 raving fans will far outweigh 100 single buyers.
They will love your work and love you. They will follow your blog, wait eagerly for your next release, and recommend you to every member of their social circles as often as they can.
Writing is what drives you, it’s what got you here in the first place. If you can’t market then outsource. But lousy marketing is as nearly detrimental as no marketing, it could have a negative effect on your brand and sales.
Outsourcing it to someone else is much more affordable than you think and the return you will get will pay for keeping your marketer onboard. When your investment in a marketer can pay them and bring in a profit, you’ll find it’s worth it.
Kristine Rusch talks about the great opportunity that self-publishers have. “What’s truly important is the fact that Marie Force self-published a book in a subgenre that traditional publishers believed to be worthless.” Use your understanding and skills in writing to enter a niche that wouldn’t normally be open to traditionally published authors.
Marketing skills will sell your book.
Writing skills will keep your readers hungry.
Combining both writing and marketing skills will give you super heroic sales power. If you can meet the two, you will be an unstoppable force.