Lessons in Poker Book Self Publishing: What I Would Have Done Differentely

Jared and myself are now well under way with The Mental Game of Poker 2, the sequel to our well received first book. It may have a similar name, but it is completely new material and I think it has the potential to be better than the original.

The first book concentrated on mental game leaks - tilt, fear, motivation and confidence problems. This new book is all about playing your absolute best - the zone, A game, focus, learning etc. 

The book was the most gratifying thing I've ever done and we have both been blown away by the reviews, the response, and the sales. As this blog is now very focussed on the poker media side of things, I thought I might look back in hindsight at what publishing mistakes we made and how we will do things differently this time around. 

Amazon from the start
The biggest error we both made as fledgling authors was waiting a long time before we put the book on Amazon. We had our own standalone site with a shopping cart to take orders, and we both thought it would be a mistake to pay a cut to Amazon to do what we were doing ourselves. 

This time the book will be on there from day 1. Amazon want you to succeed and they have so many in-built algorithms to get your book out there to the right people, whether it is their top ten search listings or the "people who bought this also bought this" prompts, it really is the only place you really need to sell your book.

Amazon is to books what google is to every other business. It is where people wanting to buy books go, and you have to be there from day one. 

Kindle from the start too
We really dragged our heels with Kindle for a number of reasons, but mainly because I (Not Jared, me) was scared to death of piracy. The reality is that digital sales are reinvigorating, rather than cannabalising, the book industry. 

Yes we might get some people finding illegal copies of it, but we have found that figure is dwarfed by the number of people buying it who probably would never have done pre-kindle, especially as you can also buy it for iPads, mobile phones, and your PC too. 

Our kindle sales outnumber softcover sales by about 2-1 at the moment, I only expect that gap to widen by the time we release the new book. 

I alluded to this in my previous blog about the poker book industry. In the early stages we would get quite anxious about why our book wasn't seeing big spikes in sales when it would get mentioned on big poker sites. We assumed that a sheer mention on a site like PokerNews should = x sales. 

What we found was that by putting some hard work in early, the book started to market itself later. Around 7 or 8 months in we saw a massive spike in sales which never decreased, all of which has to be put down to word of mouth. 

This time we are hoping that because we have built up a ready made audience for the first book, we should expect to see some strong early sales, but if we don't we will not fret too much about it. 

All books ready for shipping on day 1
We were in such a rush to get the books out last time we didn't have all our softcover books ready for the day people were supposed to get them (Not entirely our fault, as there was an error at the printers end). This led us to have to send a grovelling apology to many of them, which hurt double as they were the guys who took the time out to pre-order the book. 

This time we have planned much farther ahead to make sure we have the book ready hopefully a full three months before our projected publication date. This is particularly important to me, as an avid book worm myself I know how quickly your enthusiasm for a book cane wane if you have to wait a long time for it. 
Hire a good editor
We actually did hire an editor, but unfortunately the document seemed to have more errors after than before, so we had to get another who did a great job, but it really delayed things. 
No matter how great you are at proof reading, I think it is near impossible to proof read an entire book you wrote yourself. You have too much involvement and your mind automatically fills in gaps and overlooks spelling mistakes because you are reading it on a different level to your audience. 
One big criticism self published authors get is that they are poorly edited, and this is a mistake we wont make again. 


El Sid said...

Everything you say here is so very true. It's wonderful advice for anyone intending to write anything. All the more power to you for sharing what you have learnt the hard way.

Barry Carter said...

Thanks Sid

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