My Adventures in Self-Publishing
Adventures in Self-Publishing
November 2017: After writing three books in two years, finding a top agent -- Sonia Land of Sheil Land in London, England -- and waiting for the email that told me I had hit the big time, I realized that it wasn't going to happen that way and decided to self-publish. Ms Land told me that publishers liked my book but thought the Scandinavians in New Zealand setting would make it hard to sell. I disagree, but what can I do? I've been reading everything I can about self-publishing, and plan to go live in early February with my first novel, Not the Faintest Trace; the second novel in the series, When We People the Land, is almost finished and I will publish it in late March or early April. The third novel is outlined but not started and should be ready by late summer. I write fast!
I love the way that self-publishing puts you in control of your own work. But will it sell? That's what I aim to find out. I'll document my story here for others who are wondering if self-publishing is worthwhile.
December 2017: The first thing I had to do was learn how to self-publish. Here's what I've done so far:
Hired a professional to design a good cover. I used Reedsy and found Patrick Knowles, who has been great. If you look at his website you'll see he's done some fabulous covers already, and he's been great about getting back to me. People not getting back to me quickly is one of my pet peeves. You can also use fiverr if you want to economize. Even in Reedsy, I had a quote from someone willing to do a book cover and various banners (Facebook, etc.) for $350. Patrick was a little more, but worth it I felt. When I get the cover I'll post it to the right of this page. He was very friendly and easy to work with, and I'll hire him again.
Signed up for Amazon. I'll probably go with Amazon and no one else. I want to stay on top of what I'm doing and don't want to have to check everywhere constantly. Most sales come from Amazon anyway. For the initial sign up you need to give tax information. I did this over a year ago and was emailed to remind me to send in the form, but didn't send it. Now my account says I'm good for the tax information and they will withhold 30%. I'll worry about that when it makes a difference. I also had to put in my bankking information (for when they start sending me money!). I live in Canada and my bank was good for eight out of eleven countries. Fortunately we have a US bank account for when we go south, so I gave them that for the other three. Deep down I don't believe I'm ever going to get any money anyway. Sign up here.
Elected to go with Kindle Select rather than Kindle Direct. Select gives you a better deal and makes your books available in the lending library. But you have to swear fealty to Amazon for 90 days. I'm OK with that, so will probably choose to go with select. The library gives you a cut of the total earnings, which will be lower than if you sold your book, but gives you more visibility. Read more about these options in this Forbes article.
January 2018: After doing a significant amount of research, here's the to do list I came up with:
Email friends and family for reviews - tell them not to all give 5 stars. Average should be about 3.5
Update Amazon author page -- need to claim it first
Connect with Linked-In followers - many of these are work colleagues or ex-students
Tweet about Reedsy with book cover and designer
Set up author account in Goodreads, claim book
Buy a Bargain Booksy for mystery novels after 20 reviews (Free Booksy later)
Update website for launch - especially the landing/sign-up page
Contact top Amazon reviewers and offer review copy
Read first chapter and post on YouTube (or not?)
Create a book information page on Pinterest