Pam Payne, writing as Tori Scott, is a Dallas-based author of Amazon best-selling romances.
Ideal customer: Readers, ages 18-90
Measuring Success: I measured success in the early days by number of books sold. Now I measure it by dollars earned and by Amazon rankings. I started out thrilled with 100 sales in a month. Now I’m up to selling around 25,000 a month and my income has gone from $60 the first month to $13,000 last month.
Biggest Struggle: Getting noticed among the millions of online books. I got on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and started interacting with people, posting about my books and new releases, and started getting positive reviews of my books.
Surprise!: The amount of daily promotion I have to do and the difficulty of making myself do what I have to do when I have no deadlines.
Promoting Business: I take advantage of free promotion opportunities. There are a lot of sites willing to promote you, but you have to hunt them down and then take the time to prepare the promotional materials.
Two things you wish you would’ve known: I wish I’d known how important it is to look professional right from the start. You have to look like you’re already successful, even when you aren’t. I’d have paid for more professional book covers, set up promotion in advance, sent out review copies, and been patient enough to wait until everything was ready before launching my books.
What keeps you up at night (business-wise!)?: Taxes. Trying to keep everything organized so next tax season isn’t a nightmare.
Ever tempted to throw in the towel and just get a job?: No. I get to set my own schedule, work in my sweatsuit, and spend my time doing what I love. What could be better than that?
Moving Forward: I want to make the million sellers club. To get there, I’ll write and publish more books, interact with my readers, do some paid advertising, take advantage of whatever free advertising I can find, and have a professional re-do my book covers.
Pricing, Getting It Right: Experiment. I thought a low price would equal more sales. But I found just the opposite to be true. Readers associated low price with low quality. When I raised my prices to the median price for e-books, my income doubled.
A Few Good Tips: There are so many e-books available, you have to stand out. You have to have a quality book, one that will get five-star reviews. The content has to be perfectly edited. Readers hate typos, bad spelling, and bad grammar. The cover has to be professionally done, not a do it yourself job. You need reviews from industry professionals, not just friends and family. You need to join groups of people who have the same goals, similar books, and learn from them. Share ideas, cross-promote, and do joint promotions.
The absolute best part of owning my business: freedom and control.
If I had to start over again, I would: have taken more time to present the best product I could.
I never imagined: promotion would be so difficult.
If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout: “You can do it. Only fear can hold you back.”