Self-Publishing: Why You Don’t Want Your Book to Become a Best-Seller … At Least Not Right Away

I’ve been doing a lot of guest blogging to promote The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook, my book that was published by Adams Media on the 2nd of this month. Last Monday, a guest post I did for Build Your Brand Academy, a blog that teaches authors how to do their own publicity, entitled “Authors: How to Effectively Brand Yourself With Content Marketing, was published.

Why Content Marketing Is So Powerful

The post has been retweeted and liked a lot, which got me to thinking, “Hmmm, what about it is resonating with readers/authors?” Following are two obvious things I came up with and why I think it works so well — for anything you want to promote online (eg, your freelance writing services, affiliate products, a self-published book, etc.).

How to Guest Blog Your Way to Online Marketing Success
1. Content marketing drives long-term sales: Many authors – especially newbies and/or self-published authors – know next to nothing about marketing. And that knowledge can fit in a thimble when it comes to marketing online.

But I know SEO (search engine optimization), so I was drawn to guest blogging right off the bat as an author marketing strategy.

Even though The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook is traditionally published, I’ve seen how it’s driven sales of all of my self-published books for years. In fact, in 2010, when I realized that over half my income came from my self-published books, I traced the success of it directly back to my knowledge of SEO.

2. It’s Free: Guest blogging (content marketing) doesn’t cost anything but time. With many authors not having deep pockets, this is tailor made for those who are willing to put in the elbow grease.

In the last three weeks or so; so I’ve averaged a couple of guest posts per week. I’ve actually written eight, but I’m still waiting to hear back from two places I submitted as to whether they’ve been accepted. I think my shortest one was around a thousand words; my longest one ran to over 2,000 words (yeah, I’m a wordy writer).

Guest Posts Published TODAY

The Ultimate Guide to Freelance Success (Productive Writers Blog): FYI, this post is over 2,000 words long and is a wide-ranging Q&A about freelancing; covering everything from should freelance writers specialize, to how to charge.

Writing Fiction: How to Suck Readers into Your Story from the Start (Fab Freelance Writing Blog): I’ve self-published over 40 fiction books (romance novellas), so I pulled from my experience here for this post. Angela Booth, the webmaster, loved it. I hope you will too.

Other Guest Posts Completed Date

Blogger Scores Traditional Contract Without an Agent or Formal Proposal (Pen & Prosper Blog)

Chicago Writers Association: Author Q & A Interview (this was courtesy of Jennifer Gems of Pen & Prosper too)

The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook – Interview With the Author (About Freelance Writing Blog)

How a Hybrid Freelancer Juggles All Her Freelance Hats (Freelance Style Blog)

And like I said, I have a couple of more in the hopper where I’m just waiting for folks to get back to me. If they don’t publish these already-written pieces, I’ll just pitch them elsewhere. Sites are always looking for good, free content, so finding a place to get a piece published is never a problem. And this is one of the things I love about content marketing.

Blood, Sweat & Tears – But Not Money

Content marketing takes elbow grease; you’ve got to put in the blood, sweat and tears to reap the eventual rewards. And boy, have I?!

With everything else I have going on – writing projects for clients, updating ebooks, renewing my work permit here in Jamaica, revamping this site, trying to get a new site up – let me tell ya, banging out those guest posts hasn’t exactly been easy.

I’ve been up a few nights, bleary eyed, trying to finish up a post to send it off on schedule as promised. But I haven’t minded because I look at each post as an “ad” for my book; one that will pay dividends for years to come because, not for nothing  . . .

Freelancing is a Growing Worldwide Trend

By 2020, it’s projected that 40 percent of Americans will be participating in what’s known as the “gig economy.” Some reports put it as high as 50% in the U.S. and Europe. Whatever the actual number, the fact that freelancing is growing is undisputed.

Following are some more stats from the linked-to Intuit report.

  • Small businesses will develop their own collaborative networks of contingent workers, minimizing fixed labor costs and expanding the available talent pool.
  • Self-employment, personal and micro business numbers will increase.
  • Traditional full-time, full-benefit jobs will be harder to find.
  • The average small business will be smaller due to agility requirements and the use of contingent workers.

FYI, “contingent” and “gig economy” workers are defined as freelancers, temps, part-time workers, contracts and other specialists who are hired on a non-permanent basis and don’t have full-time employment status.

“Great Yuwanda, but what the heck does this have to do with the title of this post? Why wouldn’t I want my book to be a best-seller? That’s just crazy!”

Well glad you asked? You see, for most of us, book sales take time. I personally wouldn’t know what to do with a stroke of luck like a Hugh Howey or Amanda Hocking (not just luck; these writers are very talented, of course). Let me back-pedal that. I’d figure out how to handle that kind of success, but it’d shock the knickers right off of me!

Also, if my book was a best seller right out of the gate, I’d be wondering how to capture the magic of that genie in a bottle again. What if I couldn’t? What if everyone expected me to? Oh the pressure!

With content marketing, it’s more grass roots. It takes time to build the swell – a swell that eventually turns into sales. THIS you can replicate. THIS you can track. THIS you can understand. I personally like things I can understand.

And in the case of my books, as freelancing is a growing worldwide phenomenon, I know that over the coming weeks, months and years, a book like The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook will only become more relevant. If my publisher decides to update the book, I get first crack at it since I’m the original author.

Do you think I’ll be turning down that job? Absolutely not!

So I’m perfectly happy to take the grassroots marketing route. I’m planting seeds all over the place now so that later, when someone searches for info on how to start a freelance career, they’ll keep bumping into The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook.

Eventually, like those late night commercials that keep piling on incentives, it’ll wear them down and they’ll buy. At least, that’s my plan. And that’s why I wholly believe in content marketing like guest blogging. To underscore this point, as I said in the post I wrote for Build Your Brand Academy:

A book one of my sisters wrote on how to start a foreclosure business was a great seller right out of the box. I was an affiliate–her only affiliate–for that book. One night, a segment on foreclosures ran on the TV news magazine 60 Minutes. The next day, I made $900 in affiliate sales for that book.

My chief marketing tactic for promoting the book? Article marketing–old hat now, but still just a form of content marketing that was highly popular and very effective then (and now, in my opinion, if used correctly).

Content drives traffic on the web. If your content is on-topic and informative, it works non-stop [for years] to drive sales.

FYI, The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook teaches you how to start ANY kind of freelance writing career. So, if you’re thinking about it and haven’t decided on what kind of freelance business you want to start, following is some info that will interest you.

Most Requested Freelance Skills

This summer, the freelance website Upwork released its first quarterly Skills Index for the fastest-growing freelance skills. Guess what’s in the top 5? SEO writing and English proofreading.

Good news for freelance writers, especially those who know how to write search engine-optimized content.

What’s Your Take?

Have you had success with content marketing? Do you think it’s a good way to promote a book? Why or why not? Please share in the comments section below.

P.S.: Here’s How to Start Earning $100-$250+/Day as a Freelance Writer.


How to Start a Freelance SEO Writing CareerGet the exact knowledge that pushed my freelance writing career to the next level – allowing me to travel and live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life.” One freelancer wrote:

Hey Yuwanda,

I hope all is well! I just wanted to let you know that this month marked the first month that my writing income surpassed that of my day job.

Thanks to your help and inspiration, I have more work than I know what to do with and have successfully landed a number of clients that give me recurring work. Thanks again for your advice!

SEO writing changed the trajectory of my freelance writing career. It can do the same for you!

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