Everyone has something to offer when it comes to writing. I’ve read numerous books on bettering writing, and a lot of them say that in order to make it in the writing arena you should tap into something that no one else has in order to make your writing unique.
I got nothin’.
Or at least, I didn’t for a long time. I couldn’t think of what actually made me unique. Why should I start a self-publishing business? What possible advantage could I have over anyone else that would do such a thing?
That damn inner critic talking.
When I looked at some of the success stories of self-publishers, many were in the right place at the right time. Most of the failures were because they had no business sense whatsoever.
But then even the successes didn’t plan for that kind of success so they had no idea what to do with it once it came. Look at William Paul Young and The Shack. He and his business partner have sued each other multiple times over royalties and IP issues.
I thought to myself, If that were me, this wouldn’t happen. I have a degree in business. I have a track record of building sales and adapting to the higher level. If I published a book that was a success, the success would be deliberate because I planned it that way. Because I know how to run a business!
It’s hard to keep hearing the inner critic’s voice screaming, You have nothing unique to offer! when I have thoughts like that last one.
That’s what sets me apart from the rest.
My freaking business sense!
And what’s more, I love to build businesses up. I’ve done it for others, so why not my own business?
Building sales doesn’t use a difficult strategy. Rather, it’s a long term strategy that pays off over the course of months or years. In a nutshell, offer the best possible product and the customers will keep coming back for more.
That simple strategy made a recent difficult decision for me. My current budget won’t allow for both professional editing and professional cover design. (I have to give a shout out to Steph’s Cover Design here — she had the strongest, most eye-catching designs.) My choice was to have a professionally designed cover, which would attract more sales and thus make more money for me… OR a professionally edited book, which will attract few sales (amateur cover designs do that) but give me a higher percentage of repeat business.
If I’m keeping with the simple strategy outlined above, my only choice is to go with professional editing. While I will certainly make fewer sales on account of my amateurish cover, the customers I get will be more impressed with the words within and possibly turn into evangelists for my novels.
It means less money up front, but the long game will see more satisfied customers and thus positive word-of-mouth. And that’s better than any paid advertisement.