I’m self-publishing a magick book. And I’m going to blog as I do it, to give you some ideas on self-publishing your book. I’m no expert on this, so take this as one guy’s experience figuring all this out, not necessarily the way you should do it.
I’m also going to blog each chapter as I write it, and continue posting answers to your emails and comments several days a week.
Today, step 1: Start blogging. Do this 2-3 years before you bother with the book, for two reasons.
First, your blog will be your main marketing platform, and it takes time to get traffic. (If you want details on how to market a blog, I recommend Problogger.)
Let me show you what I mean about “It takes a while to get traffic.” Here are the stats for my first month blogging, from Feb-March 2010 (click to enlarge):
The graph maxes out at 11 visits a day. Not gonna sell many books that way.
Here are my stats after 1 year of blogging:
Unique visitors are way up (from 37 in 2010 to 144 in 2011), but pageviews and total visits didn’t change much. I’m getting some search traffic, but not really connecting with people, and most visitors never return.
And for this past month, after 2 years blogging:
Between 50 and 100 visits most days, and over 8,000 pageviews* for the month. No idea how this compares to other magick bloggers, but I’m pretty happy. Certainly worth a halfway-subtle horn tooting in a blog post. And I think it’s good enough to warrant starting a book.
*Pageviews is a good measure of how involved your readers are — getting 1,000 visitors is great, but if they each only viewed one page, you aren’t selling a lot of books.
But there’s a more important reason to start a blog: The only way to become a non-bad writer is to write. And that takes time. For me, it took a little over a year. And that’s why I didn’t network much until mid-2011: I just wasn’t happy with my writing yet.
I stole the term “non-bad” writer from Study Hacks. Here’s a great section from that post on landing a book deal, which applies equally to self-publishing something worth reading:
You don’t have to be a good writer to land a book deal. I’ve been writing seriously for 7 years and am still trying to figure out how to become good. You can’t, however, be a bad writer. Your writing has to be tolerable for 200 pages. In other words, you have to shake off the stench of amateurism before you start talking to people in the publishing world. Trust me, one of the first things a potential agent or editor will want from you is writing samples, writing samples, and more writing samples.
How do you know if you’re bad? If your only writing experience is e-mails and school papers then assume you’re bad.
How do you become non-bad? My rough rule: spend at least one year writing for edited publications.
I don’t know many edited publications for magick. My best advice is to (1) get friends to review your posts and tell you what works and what doesn’t, and (2) read your posts out loud, to a friend if possible, and try to hear which parts aren’t up to snuff.
So, that’s step 1 for writing a book: Start blogging, become a non-bad writer, then build up your blog’s readership. Future steps coming as I get to them.Other posts in this series: