Self-publishing is one of the most important areas booming in recent years in the book industry. It gives the author the freedom to decide freely about content, design, price, and to publish his work efficiently and quickly to reach the readers.
It has been conducted a comprehensive European self-publishing survey in collaboration with the University of Applied Management in Erding, Germany. The aim was to understand how you, as a writer, develop your marketing strategies, what differences you see in different literary genres, how you reach out to your readership, and the extent to which you build your network with bloggers and other writers.
More than 3,200 authors from eight different countries participated: Sweden, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, France, and Spain. Previous surveys were conducted in 2013, 2014, and 2016.
The study found that the authors’ most significant writing motives are to entertain the readers, convey personal experiences, and strengthen personal development. The most popular genres among the self-publishers turned out to be professional books, novels, and short stories. Children’s books, science fiction, and fantasy are genres that are growing in popularity. Publishers do not attach much importance to getting high income from their work.
The self-publishers usually publish their books as a printed book and an e-book, to reach more readers and increase awareness. Compared to the survey conducted in 2016, more authors are now publishing their books in both formats.
Results from 2016 survey were as follows:
- 52% printed book and e-book
- 45% printed book
- only 3% only e-book
When compared with the other European countries, you can see that the German-speaking authors are the ones who place the highest importance on publishing their titles both as a printed book and an e-book. In Spain, every tenth author publishes his book only as an e-book.
Before their first book publishing, many self-publishers had built their own community within a specific theme. Authors invest more time and money on marketing when there is already an active community.
The French authors are the most active in Europe in building a community, but only 39% responded that this affects their book publishing success. On the other hand, in Finland, 87% benefit from their community to raise awareness and increase sales.
Building a community of your own is usually done through Facebook, your website, and blog. Other platforms used are Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Fanfiction, of which LinkedIn and Twitter are used most frequently. In France, Spain, and Sweden, Instagram is popular. The writing platform Wattpad is mostly used by Spanish writers.
How actively does a writer interact with other writers? Beginners in self-publishing engage more actively with other authors as they have a greater need to exchange knowledge and experiences, tips, and ideas.
Writers who are networking are the ones who are active in building a community, would like to entertain others with their books and invest in personal development. They target a younger readers group, invest more time in social media, and spend more time and money on marketing, often collaborating with bloggers, and are usually female and younger writers.
Authors responded that the most important topics they discuss are: writing (75%), self-publishing (67%), marketing (58%), and participation in trade shows & events (37%).
SELF PUBLISHED TITLES GET MORE PROFESSIONAL
A professional and well-designed book is essential for the its success. A professionally designed cover, adapted to the book’s genre, arouses the interest of potential readers and conveys a positive impression. It is one of the book’s self-marketing tools.
A large number of self-publishers are aware of this, and the survey shows that 36% of the participants use expert services, in 2016 it was only 29%. The most common services for which they employ professional help are cover design (79%), proofreading (65%), and language review (52%).
Another critical factor for the book’s success is its marketing. Here, 33% of the participants replied that they created their website and send out review copies. 30% think it is important to attend trade shows and events, while 26% of the authors have their blog.
Investing in network advertising on different platforms is 24% important. The social media most commonly used by the self-publishers is Facebook and Instagram. 60% of participants replied that they invest less than one hour a week while 21% invest up to 3 hours a week promoting the book on different channels. Authors who spend more time marketing the book receive a higher income from book sales. So obviously marketing pays off!
Try to establish yourself and your book as a brand to get readers attention and win new ones. Also, try to understand how your readers perceive personal your brand as an author and your titles. Investing on a unified brand as a writer – both online and offline – creates recognition among readers. It is essential to have a uniform image across the boards; all the design, imagery, color, and style of your website, blog, social media channels, and marketing of the book.
Writers who spend more time on marketing make more money on book sales. So invest you time at least if you are on budget on marketing if you want to boost your books visibility.