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The Self-Publishing Conundrum
Congratulations! Your manuscript is finished, what now?
This hub is by no means a how-to guide. It's only my honest opinion and account of what has happened to me.
I spent 3 months writing my first novella. That is an awfully long time, but I planned the following 4 at the same time. I am a humble person, but after I had finished writing I somehow started to believe that this was it! I was going to be self-published and sell thousands upon thousands of books! I would be rich!
Alas, that is not what has happened. I submitted my lesbian novella (so slightly niche) on the 14th of November 2013. To date I have sold about 22 e-books and 5 paperbacks. Not a runaway success but I have come to be happy with that!
Multi-sites VS KDP Select
I myself use a variety of publishing sites. KDP through Amazon is the main one, as it is for the majority of self-publishers I know. I also use Draft2Digital and Smashwords. I like Smashwords for it's simple dashboard and many formats. Draft2Digital is a simple gateway to the Apple iBooks store, Nook and Kobo.
Select is an optional program through KDP but calls for exclusivity. This I was not happy to give. The select program allows you to offer your book for 5 days in any 90 day period. Which is something that divides a lot of writers. Many cite this as a useful promotional tool yet others are reluctant to give away their work for free. I am of the latter camp.
example of a trailer. My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody
The work does not stop once the book is written, or even when it is published. You must constantly promote or it will wither and you will be hard pressed to sell a single copy. The tried and tested methods utilise social media. Having access to authors is something that readers today crave. So Twitter and Facebook are must haves. Goodreads also allows authors to have give aways, whilst Smashwords allows you to have an interview added to your profile.
One of the greatest ideas I have seen, is the implementation of the book trailer. It is exactly as it says on the tin. It is much like a movie trailer, and a well executed one can boost sale immensely.
Writers, are you...?
I ultimately decided to self publish because going down the traditionally publushed route is so difficult. I don't have the time to try and get an agent, get a publisher AND try to keep my head above water. I suppose there is also a hint of instant gratification to it. I have my book uploaded and a copy sold in well under 24 hours. It felt amazing.
I suppose another reason is that I on't handle rejection well. The thought of so many 'No's' freaked me the hell out!!!
I just wanted people to read my work, and they are! Maybe not as many people as I initially imagined but people are reading it!
The thought of paying myself to publish my book aka Vanity Publishing is also not a valid idea. I don't have the ready funds and even if I DID have that sort of money lying around I'd probably shove it into a savings account, the economy is not fantastic at the moment. But of course the decision is up to you. There are many riads but the one you choose is ultimately up to you.
Things you will need before you self-publish!
- A properly formatted book. (This differs from site to site so read the instructions carefully)
- An engaging, genre appropiate cover. (People do not buy books with terrible covers, it has been proven)
- A thick skin. (People can be cruel, whether they are readers or fellow writers)