So You Self-Published Your First Book—Now What?

Updated on March 30, 2017

So, you self-published your first book! Congratulations! Welcome to the wonderful world of author-dom. Nothing will ever compare to pushing that beautiful ‘Publish’ button, especially after years of hair pulling, face palming, caffeine addiction, and rewording until your fingers twitch. But, afterwards are you staring at your author dashboard waiting for the sales to come in? What do you do with yourself now?

Instead, here are a few things you can do to help gain, readers, followers, fans and above all SALES.

-Get REVIEWS! This seems like the simplest, obvious thing ever but still to this day authors slack off in this department. Did you know that Amazon’s algorithms will begin to promote you more the more reviews you have. After ten you start to be featured as ‘People also read’ after fifty you get recommended by them as ‘featured recommendations.’ After one hundred, I’m sure it’s even more promotional opportunities, but I’ll let you know when I get there.

My advice to you—call in those favors. Get everyone you know to leave a review. Family, Friends, your third cousin twice removed, Facebook friends, author/writer friends, -- pass that book around like chicken pox.

*Even negative reviews count! – Don’t be afraid of those negative reviews. Not everything is for everyone. It still counts toward your number, and it makes them appear more reliable.

-Get SOCIAL! – Don’t be afraid of people not knowing who you are. Make friends. Author friends and reader friends. Join readers groups and create relationships, swap books for review.

Sites to make sure you’re on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and always create your own website. Also join some reader driven websites like: GoodReads, Shelfari, Library Thing, and The Reading Room.

Don’t always hawk your book either, talk about who you are and what you’re doing. Share hilarious memes and really create a following. People don’t like to be sold things; they want to get to know you.

-Get PROMOTION- Unfortunately, this is the area that might cost you. You’re going to need some promotion, even with all the social media followers in the world you’re going to need some bloggers on your side. Create a Blog Tour, Review Tour, etc. Now, you can try and do this on your own. It would take some research and zillions of individual emails or you can pay someone. I personally don’t have the time to email blog after blog, so I use some promotional companies. Those I have worked with before include: Xpresso Book Tours, Lady Amber’s Reviews & PR, Bewitching Book Tours, and Indie Sage. They all do a really great job, whether it’s for one day, a week, or a month depending on your budget. They will help get your name out there to bloggers. Bloggers > Reviewers > Readers.

-Go to a BOOK EVENT: I know this seems a little intimidating especially as a new author. My advice- don’t go as an Author, go as a reader. Meet people, connect with other authors, take a workshop or a lecture. It’s the best thing for your books and your soul. There is nothing like being surrounded by people that share your same interests. I could talk my best friend’s ear off about my books and writing and she’d nod her head and agree… but she never really understood. I feel like these authors have been there and really understand me.

Attending my first event, I won a table in a raffle. I brought my two books (at the time) and I was so afraid no one would stop by my booth. I sold out that weekend. Authors and readers are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Some of those people are still my internet friends to this day. We help promote each other when a cover reveal or new release comes out. It helps to build your support system.

-BE OPEN to criticism. I know this book is your baby. You’ve cried over it, poured your heart into it and it’s a sensitive subject. Reviewers are honest, sometimes brutally so. Be open to that. I’m not going to lie, I rushed releasing my first book back in 2013. I was just so damn happy I did it! My reviews mentioned the story was good but something was missing and additional editing was needed. So, after much deliberation—I listened. I took them down for over a year and re-worked them, re-edited them, now The Seraphina Series is getting great reviews!

Congrats again on releasing your first book, hopefully this helps start you off on the right track. As I’ve learned in this crazy world of self-publishing it’s all about trial and error. Everything has a learning curve, just enjoy this crazy rollercoaster ride of book publishing.


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    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 11 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi, Sheena. I like your advice, "don’t go as an Author, go as a reader." Seems pretty solid to me, as is the rest of your hub. Thanks.

    • AuthorShea profile image

      Sheena Hutchinson 11 months ago from NY

      What kind of books do you write Kathleen? I've definitely found some of my titles are more popular than others (Romance especially) I think it all depends on your genre as well.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 11 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I've tried all these to varying success. My conclusion: It is easier to write a book than to sell a book. You can only go to your friends and family so much before you've worn out your welcome. I truly believe the secret to success is . . . write an outstanding book. Now, how do you do that? I'm on my seventh. Here's hoping.

    • profile image

      Fiddleman 11 months ago

      Great advice and informative hub. Thanks for the information.