If you are considering publishing your first book as an indie author, or if you have just published your first indie book, you are probably hoping that you will be an exception to the rule and your book will sell like green beer on St. Patricks Day. We all have that dream. It is good to believe that your book is great.
However, in reality, that seldom happens. Many books don't sell at all. Certain genres are more popular than others. Some people just don't have many friends that buy their books and help get the word out. But, most importantly, your book just does not get seen by many people. It gets buried very quickly after coming out as a new release.
I have already blogged about how important book reviews are. The more reviews you get, the better chances you have that your book will be recommended on Amazon and B&N as a "customers who bought this item also bought" book. You don't need all 4 and 5 stars, either. It is great to get 5 star reviews, but when a book has 20 5 stars and no others, it appears that the reviews were "fixed" somehow. So, don't worry if you get a few 3 star reviews. 3 is a bit better than average anyhow! Even one or two 2 and 1 stars won't hurt, as long as they are fair. Sometimes, what one person hates in a book is what another person is looking for. Lower reviews can also show you if you are weak in certain writing areas. Then, you can improve.
However, even when you get lots of reviews and use social media to the best of your ability, chances are you are not going to make livable income (or part time livable income) from your first book. You are a new author and people are skeptical. Are you going to write one book and fade away, never to be seen again? Why should they invest emotionally in you only to be left in the dust? This is especially true for a series. On one hand, readers LOVE a series. On the other hand, that first book in the series by a new author may sit there without selling. People are afraid to read the first in a series because, again, what if you don't continue to write? They will be left with an incomplete story.
The most important thing you as an indie need to do is: do it again. Write and release the second book. Then, the third. Get the picture? I received a comment from another author yesterday who said the same thing. Just keep going. Always look forward. You must keep putting quality books out, doing your marketing and showing people that you are here to stay.
The odd thing is that, from what I have been told, your first book starts selling more with each book that comes out. That is if you are writing interesting books, of course. This is true even if your books are not a series. People who buy each new book are not necessarily that same ones who bought book 1. If they like what they read, they will look for other books by you.
To recap, put out your best possible work, get a compelling cover, write a dynamic blurb (book description), do your marketing and get reviews...and then you simply have to play it again, Sam. Play it over and over, creating new, exciting stories and showing the reading world that you are here to stay.
Happy writing! I need to get busy. Gastien Part 2: From Dream to Destiny is almost ready. Book 3 wants me to hurry up, stretch my fingers, and play it again. The melody has been started and it is dying to become a full out symphony.