Finding Success in Self-Publishing

A Guest post by Tim Johnson

I have been a self-published author since I started writing in 2010.  Within the past 3-4 years I have been able to self-publish 4 children’s books, and 9 non-fiction books, both independently and as collaborations with other authors and illustrators from around the world.  The sheer ability to produce a multitude of titles and make them available worldwide in such a short amount of time speaks volumes about the potential of self-publishing.  There are no gate-keepers save for the reader.  I can work with whomever I choose to and the completed work is 100% the embodiment of my original vision for the book.  No concessions are ever made in my publishing and I feel that each book I publish is a true representation of me as a person within the marketplace.
Of course, then the books must sell, wherein, for most self-published authors, lies the problem.
I believe in creating a product that will sell from the very beginning.  Before putting pen to paper, finger to key, we must first find a hole in the market and create a product (book) to fill it.
“The market is saturated!” they say.
Absurd.  Just like bread dough, as it matures, as it bakes, pockets open up within it.  As new content is published in writing it leaves space for more content to fill in the gaps.  There is always someone looking for something that doesn’t yet exist.  Discover that gap first, and then write a book to fill the gap.  Create an AMAZING book that will get GLOWING reviews and you’re set for life.  Make it a series and keep building on the momentum of the first book’s success.
As the customer is the only gate keeper, the reviewer is the biggest key holder.  Good reviews, in good quantity will sell books.
“It’s so hard to get reviews!” they say.
Write shorter books!  A review for a children’s book can be published within an hour of sending the book out.  It’s no big challenge for anyone to write a few sentences about an easy book that took them 5 minutes to read.  Everyone will do it.  I cannot over-stress the value in this simple fact.
In addition to that, people really enjoy writing reviews for children’s books.  Each book is completely unique due to the illustrations and layout, it’s not just another novel with good content it is a piece of artwork in and of itself.  People love having them on their shelves and not only will the be glad to spend a few minutes on a review, it will make them feel special when you ask!
Does the book still flop despite good reviews?  Maybe that market gap wasn’t as big as you thought and your book doesn’t stand out as much as you wanted it to.
No problem.
Have the book translated into another language and publish it again!  Not only does this double the amount of times it will pop up in the online marketplace, but it vastly increases your target audience and takes advantage of an entirely different market landscape, with a completely different supply and demand.
Is self-publishing hard?  Yes, but there are creative vices and unique and interesting techniques that can be implemented to help you become successful.  Get started!  Have fun!
Tim JohnsonTim Johnson is a self-publishing coach helping new writings come up with creative solutions to attack the market and become successful in their niche.   For more information on working with Tim go to:
Tim is the author of a growing series of dual language children’s books as well as several non-fiction and martial arts related books.  For more information on his books visit: