Saturday, February 5, 2011
MY FIVE-YEAR SELF-PUBLISHING JOURNEY
5 feb 11 @ 2:00 pm
I’m an introvert and nothing makes me happier than being alone, weaving stories from my imagination.
I secretly longed to be a writer all my life, but never really wanted an agent, a publisher and the publicity that
go with being a writer. I couldn’t see a way of getting over these stumbling blocks until I considered
I did tons
of research before publishing my first book Bedtime Erotica mid December’05 at the cost of US $499.
This wasn’t the cheapest deal going at the time, but it included 50 free books which were delivered free of cost
to my home address in the UK. But more importantly the deal included free distribution on Amazon US.
All research showed that I would be lucky to recoup my investment, but the joy I felt when I received my advance copy
was worth every cent. I held the book in my hand and thought in awe, I wrote this!
That moment remains one of the most glorious of my life.
But I wasn’t totally happy with the finished
manuscript. Although I thought I had caught them all, I discovered several spelling and grammatical errors
while going through the proof copy. I paid a rather hefty (in comparison) fee of US $50 to correct ten
of the worst errors. Only six were corrected and more alarmingly two new ones were inadvertently introduced.
Resigned I approved the ‘corrected’ proof for publication.
As predicted, sales were very
slow. It didn’t help that I had used a pseudonym and didn’t promote the book. But
finally after nine months my royalties totalled US $564.83. I had recouped my capital with a little spare
change. I had already finished Bedtime Erotica for Freaks (like me), but I decided to wait until
I had earned the money to pay for publishing it, rather than re-use my capital. Over the next two months
I made US $517.50. It cost the same sum to publish the second book, but this time the deal included only
20 free books.
Sales grew exponentially from that point and things began to look rather good.
Then Amazon changed the way customers searched for items from ‘Search Suggestions’ to ‘Tags’
in Aug’07. My book sales immediately plummeted by 56% and continued their downward slide for years.
Things picked up again in August’08 when I published new colour editions of the three books, but they have never
matched that period at the beginning of 2007. I published the books on Kindle at the end of August’10
and so far sales have exceeded my expectations, though I’m not selling the crazy numbers that some other authors are.
I may never achieve my lifelong ambition of being a full-time writer, but I don’t
regret a moment of my journey. I have learned things about myself that I would have never known otherwise
and have a stronger sense of myself. I hope the next five years will be less frustrating and more financially
rewarding than the first, but even if they are not, I can be proud of the fact that I did something I desperately wanted to
do and did it all my way!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
3 feb 11 @ 1:34 pm
I’ve generally avoided author forums and networking sites, but at Christmas I decided to join Kindleboards
and three author book tagging groups. It has made me revise my estimation of writers as a whole.
I’d always thought of writers as a breed apart, honourable people who wrote mainly because they had something
they wanted to share with the world.
However, with the advent of successful authors like Dan Brown, J K Rowling,
Stephenie Meyer and Stieg Larsson there has been an immergence of authors who write purely for money and fame. Some
authors genuinely share sales information to encourage other self-published authors, like J A Konrath and Selena Kitt, to
name two, but there are others who just show off their sales figures and give daily updates of their Amazon Sales Rank to
brag and increase their own self importance.
Tagging is a simple, straightforward concept: you
tag an author’s book(s) and he/she tags yours. Tags increase a book’s visibility, but they
don’t guarantee sales. However, authors who join tagging groups should honourably engage in reciprocal
tagging. Most members of the group do, but there are a few unscrupulous authors who literally drop their books
off for tags and don't tag anyone else. I believe strongly in karma: we get back what we put into this world, so
let these non-tagging authors enjoy themselves. I see their machinations and can only feel pity for people
who are so dishonourable and sneakily competitive they don’t want anyone but themselves to excel.