1. Write in a popular genre, even if you hate it.
The popular genres: mystery/thriller, romance, erotica, and young adult in some genres, like paranormal. Anything else, pretty much forget it. Fantasy and scifi is only read by weirdos, literary is too boring, historical is for old people. Go where the money is, even if you’ve never read in that genre. You can fool those readers. I mean, they may have read dozens of more books in that genre than you, but YOU’RE the writer.
2. Get a cover that looks like everyone else’s. Preferably with a stock couple everyone will recognize.
3. Upload away!
You finished your story, right? GREAT! No need to do any market research and you definitely don’t need any editing or proofreading. Just throw together a poorly formatted novel and join Amazon’s program Select (your book must have 90 days of exclusivity on Amazon.com). Then you can use their free days to get your books onto as many Kindles as possible. Very few of these people will actually read your book, but what matters is getting up on the charts, not dedicated readers who enjoy your work.
4. Spam everyone.
Join every writer and reader group and message board you can and tell everybody about your book. Don’t bother with reading their rules. Schedule tweets to go out every twenty minutes and mass follow people on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and every other social networking site you know. Send mass e-mails to people who like books similar to your books. Trust me, they’ll thank you — they’re looking for authors who are touting their own horn, and your book is exactly what they’re looking for. They just don’t know it yet.
5. Leave fake reviews.
Easiest to do on Amazon. Just make a new account and leave a shining review for your piece of work! When people accuse you (but they shouldn’t because you should work really hard to make your reviews convincing — use the same words, don’t make them longer than 4 or 5 sentences), act indignant. You would never do that. But you kind of have to because how else are you going to convince people your book is amazing? There is a market saturation out there and your book needs to stand above the others beyond just your duplicated book cover and plot.
6. Watch the money roll in and enjoy your fame.
That’s it! Pretty soon, you’ll be gracing the top selling lists like other self-publishing successes EL James and Amanda Hocking. Quit your day job and write a novel or two a year. Readers will eagerly await your next release, even if it takes forever.
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Now, just in case you missed the sarcasm, this is a tongue-in-cheek post. Writing is hard work, publishing even moreso. (Of course, I say that as someone who has been studying the craft of writing for 10 or 15 years and I’ve only recently dove into the publishing world. Someone on the other side of the fence may think it’s the opposite). Many people expect self-publishing in today’s world to be as simple as the steps here, but there is much, much more to it. There is no blog post that can tell you how to become a best-selling writer on Amazon. Even if you do do everything right, there’s no guarantee.
But if you’re still interested, even though you know there is going to be editing and costs and one-star reviews and everything else, I’d check out Christiana Miller’s “Insanely Helpful Links for E-Publishing”. You could get lost on there for hours and still not know everything there is to know about self-publishing in today’s electronic world. But you’d still know more than someone who only followed my tips!
And a disclaimer about the covers: I haven’t read most of those books except for Easy by Tammara Webber. The others I picked up from Goodreads. They are probably great books with authors who know the hard work of writing and publishing. They just, unfortunately, have a cover with a common stock photo. It’s happened to me, too! My book Promising Light has a cover clone here. The only good thing is it’s in a completely different genre (memoir).
Anyways, the point? It’s not easy. And if you’re a best-selling author, share your secret 😉