Adapt and Adjust: Tips from an Indie Author
After selling millions of books, Glenn Cooper talks about going indie and advises self-publishers to have a long-term strategy and remember the importance of quality writing.Bestselling author Glenn Cooper had a problem. His Library of the Dead trilogy—published by HarperCollins—sold millions of copies in Europe. But in his home country sales were sluggish, which made Cooper wonder if his books were less appealing to an American audience or if his U.S. publisher was mishandling the series. He came to believe the latter: “In the States my books were published as paperback originals with minimal marketing push. In Europe, they were done as hardcover editions with great marketing packages.”
Cooper decided to publish future titles in the U.S. on his own to give himself control over marketing, and, despite initial fears about plummeting sales, he says going indie was “one of the better publishing decisions I've made,” adding that his books are now “generating six-figure annualized revenues” in the U.S. His wife and son help out, the former handling the business aspects and the latter taking care of marketing and promotion. “There's a lot of noise out there on self-publishing, but there are some folks whose opinions are gold,” Cooper says. “Four books into [this] venture, we're still learning.”
Cooper’s books have received positive reviews from Publishers Weekly, with the review of Near Death calling the book his “best thriller yet” thanks to its well-constructed plot and believable characters.
We asked Cooper if he’d share a few tips with other self-published authors.
Have a Long-Term Publishing Strategy“It's best to have more than one book out there. If a reader likes your book and can't find another to click on they may not remember you a year later when the next one comes out.”
Adapt and Adjust
“There are so many things you learn by trial and error. What kinds of covers work in thumbnail? Who are the best and most cost-effective editors? How important is the Kindle Unlimited program? But the biggest is how inefficient and non-cost-effective the ad buys on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter proved to be. Keep adjusting your marketing strategy to respond to the results of your last promotional effort. If something doesn't work, don't keep doing it.”
“Don't forget that the most important factor in your success is the quality of the books!”