The reality that most authors face, but refuse to acknowledge, is that their work isn't as good as they first thought. They receive criticism and praise from family and friends - who tell them, "...you can and should write!"
Ok - so publish an ebook. Test the waters. If, after the first 12 months, you manage to sell 50 copies or less - chances are, you're not the hot-shot writer you first thought you were.
Here's some reasons why you probably failed:
1) You simply wrote something people are not interested in reading.
2) You wrote something that was poorly written.
3) You didn't hire an editor to polish your manuscript.
4) Your cover is crap.
5) You need to rethink your title.
6) You have no idea how to write a gripping book blurb
7) You only told a handful of people that you published something.
8) You expect others to do all the promotion for you.
9) Your social network has less than 100 people in it who are interested that you wrote a book.
10) You rarely interact with your readers and would-be readers.
So, you decide to try the traditional publishing route.
You approach publishers with the hope they'll help you do better. You receive rejection letter, after rejection letter. 6 months go by and you don't even hear back from them.
If this is the case, refer to the list above and rethink your manuscript. It probably sucks, so scrap it and start over.
If you hook a publisher's interest, and they make you pay to publish your book, RUN!!
You most likely will never recover your investment, especially if you're a newbie author without a substantial reader following.
How do I get a reader following?
Simple. There are loads of online story sites that you can share your stories with would-be readers, and make friends. If you're a real writer, you'll likely have hundreds of stories penned that you can use to generate a reader following. Write something short. Put it out there for free to introduce people to your style. Gauge the comments and scores you receive, but be careful. There are some people out there who will vote you up without pointing out where you need to make improvements.
ASK for constructive criticism. Remember, there are expert readers out there, other writers, editors, and publishers who are reading your work. They know what they're talking about, so don't be shy. Ask them questions to better your writing. When in doubt, there are always online support groups and physical writing groups in the real world. Check your local guides for these support networks.
Writing is tough and can be a lonely road if you're not connected with like-minded, creative individuals.
The truth most authors don't want to realize is that if you pay a publisher thousands of dollars to publish your book, they will NOT promote you - despite what they claim - it is your job! If you only have a small circle of friends, you're not going to get anywhere. You need to grow your network.
Growing your network involves doing a lot for other people. You can't expect others to do all the work for you - ever, but you do need to help others if you want help in return. It's a little bit like, "...you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." You will need to do a bit of free work for your fellow authors. Make lots of friends and be generous with your freebie favours.
When I mentioned 'scratching each other's backs,' I did not literally mean the physical act - rather, you help each other in the digital and real world to get noticed. I do not mean bribing or swapping reviews for books you're roped into buying from other authors. That kind of thing happens a lot on Amazon and it leads to fake reviews and misleads readers. Don't do that! It's not very fair, especially when you're forced to give an author a glowing review when you really thought their book genuinely sucked.
Instead, offer to do free book reviews, providing the author is prepared to gift you a copy for review purposes, or a portion of their book (free of charge) - which is only fair because the review can then be shared on blogs, and Goodreads, social media, etc...
The more people that hear about your book, the more people are going to want to buy it! Giving away free books is a great way to get your work noticed (when you don't have a reader following), but limit the amount of free copies to genuine reviewers only. You want to make some money for your hard work.
Remember that nobody is going to want to buy the cow - if they can cat the milk for free... Same rule applies to selling books and ebooks!
There's this Thursday's tips for the average author. Hope you enjoy! <3