David Kadavy – Self Publishing CoachSelf publishing coach

Self publishing is truly a jungle. I've written bestselling self-published books of traditional-publisher quality, so I can show you the way. (But if you're still considering the traditional publishing route, I've been through that, too.)

I've sold more than 100,000 books – most self-published. My first book launched in the top 20 on all of Amazon. My second book was endorsed by Seth Godin on his blog. I want to help you with with self publishing, Amazon advertising, optimizing your book's listing for more sales, or simply getting out of your own way to put an end to writer's block once and for all.

Book a call with now. I'd love to help!

Recent Answers

If it's your first book, I would recommend publishing and marketing in your native language (I'm assuming English), before worrying too much about translations.

It's hard enough to market your book in your native language and market. Doing so in another language and market is generally more trouble than it's worth, especially if you have the privilege of being a native English speaker in the golden goose of the U.S. market.

I know self-published fiction authors who went through the trouble and expense of getting their books translated, and had a bad time.

I did talk to a non-fiction author who writes titles that are keyword rich (in other words, they're about things that people are searching about a lot on Amazon), and he said Spanish and German-translated books sell themselves.

So I personally ran a test with one of my shorter books, one that is keyword rich. I got 7,000 words translated into Spanish on Upwork, for about $250.

That was several months ago, and I'm nowhere near turning a profit. Amazon won't allow me to run ads for the book, and even though I have native Spanish speakers on my email list, few of them bought.

Now, if you can get a publisher in another territory to translate, publish, and market your book, then that's great. They know the market and can do the marketing. But, I wouldn't recommend putting much energy into that.

Long story short, I recommend concentrating on your native language and market first, and sell so many books that a foreign publisher reaches out to you and asks to buy translation rights.

I hope that helps. Feel free to book a call if you have further questions.

Yes, you should absolutely pre-test your chapters, and it can be a great way to market your book.

I'm not personally familiar with Wattpad, and it looks like activity is sparse for my genre. I instead tested my book directly to my audience, and it helped a lot with marketing.

Here's exactly how to test your content and market your book in the way that I did in order to write "The Heart to Start:"

1. Publicly announce a writing challenge for yourself. I set up a landing page with my outline, and promised a chapter a day for 30 days to anyone who signed up to my email list. ConvertKit is a good email marketing platform for authors, but I use ActiveCampaign, despite it being much more complicated. I have some content online about why, if you run a search.

2. Do the writing challenge, emailing chapters or sections to your readers on the planned schedule. Ask for feedback at the end of each email. It's okay if you write ahead of schedule to take some of the pressure off. I personally scheduled the following week's emails at the end of each week.

3. When your first draft is finished, put it on a Google Doc. Allow comments from anyone on the doc (but not editing). Send it to your email list and tell them you'd love their comments and edits. (You can do an edit before this, as well). Tell them you'll put them in your acknowledgements if you use one of their edits. If you're lucky like me, there will be discussion amongst readers on your book, and you'll get a good free editing job.

4. When you launch your book, you now have a bunch of people who have already read it. I personally offered my book for free for the first several days. At the very least, put it on Amazon for free just long enough for those early readers to snag a copy. You'll see why in a second.

5. Ask your early readers for reviews. They've already read your book, and if they picked it up for free on Amazon, they're now in the system as "Verified Purchases." When they review, it will say so next to their names, which makes their reviews more effective.

There you have it. Yes, those first readers got your book for free, but you got feedback, editing, and Amazon reviews out of it. That's more than a fair trade!

And that's a good best practice for marketing your book. The rest depends upon your genre. As a non-fiction author, I try to get on podcasts and write blog posts as well.

I hope that helps. Feel free to book a call if you have questions about details.

It's your first book, and I know you probably have a vision of perfection in your mind, and would love to oversee every detail of printing.

But you'd be much better off to go with a "print on demand" (POD) service. With POD services, you don't have to pay a cent to print your book, unless it sells. So you always make a profit.

If you choose, instead, to print a big batch of books, not only do you have to pay the up-front costs, you also have to store those books and ship them when someone buys them. I remember an author friend telling a story of how shocked he was to see how big a crate of 5,000 books was when they first showed up on his driveway.

The one downside of POD services is that you don't have total control over every aspect of printing. Only standard sizes are available, and sometimes the print quality from one copy to another is slightly off.

Most people don't know the difference, though. I only do because I'm a designer. When I showed my friends the differences I noticed (basically how well-centered my title was on the spine), they laughed that I even noticed.

The beauty is that whether you sell 5 copies or 5,000 copies, with POD you're always making a profit. If you sell millions of copies, you can always get a bigger print run done (at that point, the per-unit cost of a print run would give you more profit). Or, those who hit it really big can get a traditional publishing deal. This is what happened with E. L. James, who wrote 50 Shades of Grey, and Andy Weir, who wrote The Martian.

I would recommend Amazon's KDP and/or Ingram Spark as POD services. However, it's ideal if you buy your own ISBN, then do the initial setup of the book, with that ISBN, on Ingram Spark. That way your ISBN won't show up as an Amazon book when booksellers around the world look up your book in their system – which may prevent them from ordering your book.

Amazon KDP will give you a free ISBN, if you don't mind this limitation. It can be fine if you're focusing on Amazon and want 90% of the sales with less expense and hassle. Otherwise, in the US, you have to buy your ISBN from Bowker for about $125.

My book, "The Heart to Start" is available through both Amazon KDP and IngramSpark. I set up my ISBN on IS first, as described, and have sold copies all over the world. But the majority of my sales are through Amazon, and having it available on KDP means no issues with it being available for Prime shipping, which can sometimes happen – so I hear – if you go exclusively with IS.

For what it's worth, the books for which I just took Amazon's ISBN still get some sales through "extended distribution." I have no idea whether it's bookstores or B&N or where they're being sold.

If you want to buy a bunch of POD books on a discount for having at events or giving to friends, you can always order author copies. These are available both through KDP and IS.

If you want to do the layout yourself, I hear Vellum is a good app. I do my own layout since I'm a designer. You can also find professionals for interior and cover design at Reedsy.

I hope that helps. As you can see it's a complicated world out there. Feel free to book a call with me if you have more questions.

Not any way that I can think of. I would trust Amazon's judgement on this one. They want to sell your book just as much as you do.

You're absolutely correct to be thinking about SEO, beyond just writing for your audience. I've managed to have some viral posts, but I also get big successes from SEO.

I think these two things are the most important:
1) Have a keyphrase in mind from the beginning, around which to focus the post. Research this, if possible, with the Google Keyword Tool.
2) Monitor Search Analytics to identify opportunities you haven't thought of.

For example, when Google introduced their new logo, I immediately started writing a blog post about it. There was no keyword information available yet, but I figured people would be searching for "new google logo." So, I optimized my post for that.

A few days went by, and I noticed that I wasn't ranking that high for "new google logo." There was lots of competition for this from highly-reputable sites.

BUT, I discovered by looking at Search Analytics, that I was doing pretty well with "google logo font," even though I hadn't optimized for that. Specifically, people were searching for "what font is the new Google logo?"

So, I optimized my post for that (I changed the URL to end with "googles-new-logo-font"), and even fleshed it out a little more to talk more about the font being used in Google's logo. I also changed the title of the post to "what font is the new Google logo?" (notice that I'm still hanging onto hope that I can have a ranking for "google's NEW logo," which may not be the most sound strategy.)

Now, I rank really high for "google logo font," and it is consistently bringing in new email sign-ups.

I've used SEO to entirely fuel 5-figure-a-month passive revenue businesses, and rely in it heavily for building my audience. (I'm not very good at paid traffic, but I'm good at free traffic.) So, if you want to know more, feel free to set up a call.

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