peeps: Brian Rathbone
Brian Rathbone is a standardbred horse trainer turned technology geek turned independent fantasy writer and podcaster. In his own words, he’s “a bit of an odd duck armed with a few too many dragon jokes.”
How Brian Got Started Self-Publishing
Brian found an audience pretty quickly on Mobipocket when he first started publishing ebooks back in 2008. But real audience growth started happening when he began podcasting free serialized audio versions of his books on Podiobooks.com. Donations were welcome, but he reports that “revenues from donations was negligible.”
Then the Kindle market started booming. “When the Kindle grew in popularity,” he says, “I took a couple lessons from Mobipocket with me.” And those lessons proved golden when he put them to work for the Kindle marketplace.
Start taking notes, Grasshopper, since Brian has graciously gone into detail about his methodologies in the tips below!
Self-Publishing Tips and Observations
- “First: Sales generate sales, and free downloads count in this regard as sales.” (ED.: Such as the free downloads you can offer through the Amazon KDP Select program.)
- “Second: Visibility and discoverability are the key to sales. Simply put: If no one ever sees your book, no one will ever buy it. If I could give away a million ebooks right now, I wouldn’t hesitate for an instant. And given the chance to sell 10,000 ebooks for $2.99 each or 1,000 for $29.99, I’ll opt for the 10,000 ebooks almost every time. Value drives volume, and volume increases visibility and discoverability, which drives additional volume. If you give away the first book in a series, you give the reader the chance to try your work risk free, and if they like your work, they can purchase the subsequent books in your series. In the end, it becomes about getting your story in front of as many people as possible and letting them judge it for themselves. This method may not work for everyone, but I’m happy to say that it has allowed me to make the leap to full-time writer.” (ED.: Got all that?)
- “I believe self-publishing and print on demand has become a proving ground for the traditional market. Writers with a quality product can build an audience through electronic publishing, and attract agents and publishers using self-published sales numbers. If you hit the bestseller lists enough, they may even come to you. The lessons the self-published writer learns promoting their work and building their platform are directly applicable to traditional publishing. What better way to attract an agent or publisher than marketing savvy, a proven sales record, and crowds of people waiting to buy your next book?”
- “I will offer a word of caution against publishing too soon, without professional editing, or with lackluster cover art. We only get to make so many first impressions, make them as great as you can. Assemble a team of talented people who can do the things you can’t do yourself. You may be able to do your own cover art, but I would strongly advise against forgoing the editor.“