The most interesting thing about self-publishing is that each book is like a virtual micro-business. Everything I have written about micro-businesses applies to self-publishing almost without exception.
For example, micro-business success on a limited budget usually requires identifying a niche market in which people communicate about products which they find useful or entertaining. In this kind of a market, a valuable product or service at the right price will benefit greatly from word-of-mouth advertising.
Successful self-published books generally begin in a niche market, although they can spill over to a general mass market if enough word-of-mouth buzz gets generated and there is enough entertainment value to appeal to a broader market. The Harry Potter books are the best-known example of this.
Until you find that niche market, you spend a lot of time and money promoting your book to people who are interested, but don’t recommend it to others. The ideal niche market would be people for whom your book is a solution to a problem. Reaching them may take a little doing and may involve finding other people who deem your book useful.
I self-published Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day almost a year ago to help level the playing field for hardworking people who were trying to support their families and maintain their sanity in a troubling and uncertain working environment.
The gritty, no-nonsense advice appealed to those who had been blindsided by career-shattering discoveries, but it turned out to be a quick test of a person’s willingness to confront unpleasantness. This statement I made about HR was a typical example:
Page 83: …Human Resources, contrary to your expectations, is not your friend. HR is there to protect the company and its executives against employees like you.
Some of my book reviewers were incredulous that I would make such a statement. On the other hand, I got rave reviews and thanks from people who were driven to the point of doubting their own sanity because of insane work situations and lack of support from HR.
Thanks to word of mouth, people kept on buying the book, but I did not feel I was reaching opinion leaders for the target market I was trying to reach.
Recently, I have gotten my book in the hands of people in the career management/recruiting/outplacement fields and book sales are trending up.
It appears that my book may help these professional recruiters when they deal with candidates who have not been job hunting recently and have unrealistic expectations.
My takeaway from this experience is to find those who my target audience pays attention to and get my book into their hands. I will send a free review copy of Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day to any professional in the recruiting, headhunting, outplacement, and career counseling field. Just send me an email and I will send you a copy within 24 hours.
I have also been helped in great measure by my good friends in the blogosphere who reviewed my book on their weblogs and by friends who have continued to promote my book through ads on their sites. You can see their names listed on my left sidebar.