Skip These 6 Self-Publishing Truths at Your Own Peril

FREE ignites your WOMB.

Is it just “Phake Gnus” picked up and circulated by unsuspecting wannabes like me?


So far I’ve made it through Day Fifteen, halfway through AnyWired’s 30-day plan for building a viable freelance business.

Then I nearly lost it when I found out I was 180 to 365 days behind in my crowdfunding campaign.


I had to ask myself,

Why was I going through this grind in the first place?

How did this all start?

What was I thinking?

So, this was my dream.

Follow my passion.

Write a book.

Somehow get it published.

And, live happily ever after.

Look it was a dream, right?

Apparently, you can’t just publish a book and then do nothing.

In my field of dreams, I so wanted to believe that I could publish an awesome book and that would be enough to sell it. 

But, it doesn’t work that way out in the cold cruel world, unless you’re already famous. 

And I’m not. 

So what should I do?

Wake up.

Get out of bed.

Drag a comb across my head.

Make my way downstairs and drink a cup.

Or two.

And …

1. Give it away for free for a limited time, such as 30 or 90 days. 

Why, are you crazy?

Yes, but …

FREE ignites your WOMB.

 Your word of mouth buzz.

And momentum to boost your confidence and kick off your covert authentically real sales process.

But, wait there’s more. 

Seems like everyone quotes Seth Godin’s unconventional wisdom.

Is it just “Phake Gnus” picked up and circulated by unsuspecting wannabes like me?

Or a purple cow?



You may not be as good a writer as you hope you are.  

The best way to find out is to ask your friends and relatives to share your FREE book.

If they decline, maybe you aren’t ready for prime time just yet.

But if you ask them “pretty, pretty please” to share with twenty of their friends, and they do.

And if each of their friends shares  your work of art with twenty more of their friends. 

And if each of them do too, and so on and so on, then the multiples of readers you can reach can be staggering.

In theory, right?

20 x 20 x 20 x 20 = 160,000.  

Not bad, eh?

If all goes right, when you bring your next book to market, you’ll have a strong, raving fan base.

Since it’s free with a capital FREE you can test your content without draining your bank account.

Especially if things don’t go according to plan.

Or your friends aren’t really your friends.

Or you relatives still haven’t gotten over your gaff during last Thanksgiving dinner.

But, realistically it’s the only way a first time author can publish successfully.

Or so I’m told.

What else?

2. Amazon sets the price structure.

On Amazon most ebooks fall under the $9.99 price ceiling. 

Pricing matters.

Low pricing attracts readers. 

At the right price point it motivates your potential audience to take a chance on your book.

Treat pricing as a knowledge laboratory.  


Experiment with it over time to assess your readers’ response rates.

For you (and me) the price may have to be $0.99 to encourage (fake ) friends and non-friends and relatives to take a chance on you, an unknown author.

If your first time readers give you rave reviews, then you may succeed with a lower price but at a higher sales volume.

You may not make mortgage-paying income (yet).

But with an enthusiastic base, you’ll be better positioned to receive a publisher’s advance next time.

And pay off some of your growing credit card balances.

Or at least offer your next book at a much higher price.

3. Partner with the In Crowd 

Find and participate with large-traffic blogs, websites, newsletters, and social media writers.

On July 9, 2013 almost 5 years ago Rob Eager, On Digital Book World, wrote “How to Sell Ebooks: 5 Proven Tips” and listed seven of the most influential back then.  

According to Eager in 2013, getting your e-book mentioned help gets the word out leading to more downloads than you could have grown organically on your blog.

Basically, he said, “You can write to the administrators of these e-book blogs and request a feature on your book. 

Look for sites with free listings.

Or those that will feature your book for a fee. 

He also  said “Kindle Nation offers author sponsorship opportunities to promote your book for $99 to $400” (check for today’s fees).

Don’t overlook web-based ads.

You can run them on GoodReads and IndieReader.

4. After experimenting with all avenues  of “Free” and “near Free” check out  paid book reviews.

Besides book mentions and paid advertising, independent authors can pursue literary reviews of their work for a fee. 


You boost your legitimacy as an unknown author. 

While a lot has changed over the last five years, here are two of Eager’s recommendations to get you started on your trial and error testing:

If you’re like me, I hope you’re not for your sake, you’ll find that writing a book takes so long it impacts your ability to make a living. 

And apparently that’s not the half of it.

5. So wouldn’t it make financial-survival sense to find a sponsor? 

Like receiving an advance from a traditional publisher someone pays you to create your book. 

Even better than crowdfunding.

The mutual benefit accrues when you agree to offer your sponsor advertising space or promotional activities for them. 

Eager profiled Al Pittampalli who “landed Citrix Systems as a sponsor for his new ebook called, Read This Before Our Next Meeting. 

Citrix invented the popular GoToMeeting videoconferencing service (, which is used by companies around the world. 

As a sponsor of Al’s book, Citrix got exposure to thousands of potential new customers. 

Likewise Al got funding through Citrix, legitimacy from their brand, and exposure to a much wider audience”

Great gig if you can get it, right?

How do you get it?

Begin by jotting down all the likely suspects you can even loosely associate with your book’s content.

  • People. 
  • Companies.
  •  Nonprofit Organizations 

Oh, right, you may need to do a little Googling or ask Siri and conduct a little market segment research too.

The key is to surface what each might have in common with you.

Like they want to reach their customers or donors with something new to keep them engaged, that you want to reach as readers and purchasers of your book. 

Then you contact  those organizations and pitch your value proposition.

That you’ll become a spokesperson for them.

Or your book is the ideal product placement opportunity for them. 


Wait, what’s in it for them?

An avenue for marketing in a non-threatening, more authentic manner to their potential customers or donors. 

Seriously, you can do that?


But the burden of proof falls on your shoulders. 

You have to convince them that your book’s audience appeals to their target market.

And that you can sell a lot of books.

6. It takes a knowledge laboratory to test what works and doesn’t. Now you tell me.

According to Eager:

“There has never been a more interesting time to be an independent author. The opportunities to self-publish and sell books are unprecedented.” 

Is interesting time enough?

Run a Knowledge Laboratory

What worked well 5 years ago may end up wasting your precious time  today. 

In fact, what worked well even a year ago might not cut it.

However, some of the fundamentals probably remain the same. 

  • You must write a great book that provides tangible value to the reader. 
  • Test that assumption with 20 of your friends and relatives.
  • Start small, use a low-cost pricing approach to gain new readers, 
  • FREE or near-FREE.
  • Grow your platform.
  • Connect with the in crowd of influencers. 
  • And if you dare, find a sponsor.

But,  keep Katherine Milkovich’s comment in mind (written in 2016).

There are always some new strategies, some of them are good while the others are not really worth my time because I saw no results. 

But there are some basics that never change, such as starting your blog and building your audience, using forums, guest posting… 

There are some useful tricks on

(Oops, no longer.)

But I would suggest trying EVERYTHING and testing what works for you. 

This is what works best for me.”

What works for you?


4) Nurture your passions and express your uniqueness — no one else can or will, for that matter.

11) Maintain a consistent process of content aggregation, curation, composition, and circulation.

12) Nurture your audience of followers striving to increase the number of your raving fans to 1000.

13) Make it easy for your fans to buy a piece of you, and then advocate on your behalf. 

14) Synchronize your selling process with their buying process — master the chain reaction  of Awareness – Interest – Liking – Desire – Trial – Repurchase and Regular Use.