It has been six months since I self-published my first book on Amazon and I am excited to announce that I finished the first draft of the German translation yesterday, which will be published soon. While it was not my initial intention to translate Narcotic Love in order to be able to close this very personal chapter once and for all, I was surprised about its reception in Germany and would like to fulfill my readers’ request for a translation of the book. But on to the bigger picture…
What have I learned on this journey as a self-published author so far?
1) Your writing can make a difference in other people’s lives.
By writing Narcotic Love, my intention was to create awareness of narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships. As a first-time author, I was surprised by the responses I received from other survivors who got hold of the book and told me that they were able to find themselves in there. As horrible as the scenarios described in the book are, I cannot think of a bigger compliment than this, because besides creating awareness, it was even more important for me that other survivors can find the validation they need to realize they are not alone and that there is a way out of the pain they are currently experiencing.
2) Be as close to your readers as you can.
The primary function of a self-help book is to help others. After I noticed the reception of Narcotic Love in the United States, Canada, Germany, and the UK (so far), I decided to not close this chapter completely just yet. Besides the book, I am writing a blog to provide additional information on the subject that is not included in print. Also, I am running a Facebook community page where victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse can come together to find help and validation.
From a publisher’s perspective, being close to your readers not only supports your opportunities to increase your sales but more importantly to test and improve your book with their feedback. Be as close to your readers as you can, but always remember to maintain healthy boundaries, as well.
3) Give your book away!
As a brand-new author on the market, you need to put yourself (and your book, of course) out there to get noticed. While this can be an expensive investment, there is definitely no way around it in order to reach your audience. Find your niche and tribe and give your book away – for free! When I published the book in September, I started doing raffles and sent out copies to related organizations and YouTube channels who would recommend it.
4) Be patient.
So your book is out there, and you may have spent months or years waiting for this moment to happen. And then… nothing happens. Be patient. If you followed the steps above (and/or others) in order to get noticed, you will get noticed eventually. My sales tend to fluctuate. It was not until January that sales were picking up without much of my influence though. The same amount of patience applies to reviews. Do not expect reviews to come in fast. Unfortunately, I have seen many books on the same subject that receive plenty of fake reviews in order to boost the sales. I would not recommend this. Especially if you are the author of a self-help book, your intention to help does not seem very sincere if you create reviews that are not only fake and misleading but leaving no room to build a genuine relationship and trust with your readers. Be patient.
5) After all, it is still a business.
You can have this romantic idea of being a writer, but in the end, it is a business like any other. Keep track of your book sales and data that you receive as well as your own expenses. Learn how and where to market your book in the best possible ways. Perhaps, create a separate bank account for your royalties. In short, be organized! You will thank yourself for your meticulosity later when the next tax season arrives.