Success! I figured out how create my Kindle Direct Publishing account and upload both e-book versions for pre-order.
The historical romance version, with the hero on the cover, is here. The inspirational version, which features the heroine on the cover, is here. Pre-ordered e-books will automatically be delivered to Kindles on January 14, 2015. Print versions will be available then, also, I hope.
I’ve been fortunate to get these great cover quotes for the historical romance version:
Which will sell better?
I’m also doing a series of guest blog posts. My first was yesterday, at romanceuniversity.org, here, on Writing the Inspirational Historical: How Much is Too Much. I’ll be posting next month on another topic on Seekerville, a popular inspirational romance site, and have other posts in the works.
I enjoy blogging and looking for other opportunities to guest or write articles much more than all of the publisher-y self-publishing steps, yet it’s time consuming and I need to get manuscripts two through four ready to release….
I’m also experimenting with getting the word out via a press release…and will post about that soon.
I consider myself a smart person. I have two graduate degrees, passed the Illinois bar exam, managed a several million dollar territory for years and earned national top performer awards at two companies. Yet myriad steps to self-publish are making my brain explode.
It’s like having cockroaches. You think you’ve zapped them all, breathe a sigh of relief…and then another appears. No matter what I’m doing, whether it’s deciding what images to put on my cover or choosing a font for drop caps, everything seems to require two steps back before I can take one forward.
Today’s example: my formatter (who I hired to avoid having to figure out all of the spacing and layout issues) suggested I upload the proof she’d sent to CreateSpace (CS), because the two-page PDF layout wasn’t an accurate reflection of how the book will look.
But CS doesn’t let you review just the interior of your book. No. You have to make many decisions and finish the whole setup, including having a PDF of the cover “measured exactly to your book’s trim size, spine width (calculated by multiplying the page count by 0.0025 and allowing for 0.0625″ variance on either side of the fold lines ), and .125” bleed. My eyes glazed over. I emailed my cover designer, and now have to await their response. Will this require an additional fee?
So many authors self-publish so many books, it often seems, with ease. Yet every step of this has been like pulling teeth. Like pulling teeth while cockroaches run around.
Will all of the time and effort I’ve put into this process be worth it?
My self-published novel(s) will release January 14, 2015. I might have been able to get them out sooner, but wanted to be sure I gave myself time to prepare, pick and promote.
Pick: This week I’m choosing fonts for the book text and chapter headings. And deciding what should be in the header and footer. Do I want anything between scene breaks? If so, what? Should every chapter start on the right hand side? What spacing looks good between lines? This part of the process is kind of fun.
Promote: There are so many options, it’s hard to know which will work and are worth the time and/or money. Will guesting on blogs garner any readers? How hard will it be to come up with something new to say for each? Some things do need to be planned in advance, because spots fill up. Reviews…how much time should I spend on trying to get them, and in what publications and sites?
Projects: I’m also completing an article for Romance Writers of America’s trade magazine and auditioning for VO and on-camera work. I recorded 2 radio commercials, prepared for a short freelance job this weekend, had a call with a newspaper reporter for an upcoming column (more on that later) and might have a photo shoot tomorrow for it.
Somehow I need to make time to work on the next book….
Many people have suggested self-publishing as an alternative to selling to an NY publisher. (Others have suggested e-publishing…which perhaps I’ll address at another time.)
First, a question, fellow readers: how many self-pubbed novels have you bought? My guess is zero or less than a handful.
1. You will get to hold a copy of your book in your hand, see your name on the spine and show it to your friends and family.
2. According to my research, self-publishing often works better for non-fiction. I am considering self-publishing a non-fiction book I’m working on with a friend. We wrote a proposal and got this feedback from a couple of big agents: great proposal, great idea. But you have no platform.
Platform means you’re already well-known and highly established in your field, via the Internet, TV/radio, print media. My Web site gets a fair number of hits, but not enough (yet?) to equal a platform. My co-author and I haven’t yet decided whether we want to try to build one.
3. If you work hard enough, and spend enough time/money/energy on promotion/publicity, you can probably make a little money.
1. It’s not called a ‘mass market’ novel for nothing. In today’s world you still need mass market distribution, availability in bookstores, any publisher support you can get to grow readership and sales. Most self-publishers I’ve researched charge extra for each service/benefit you’d receive from a traditional publisher.
2. I’d have to hand sell almost every copy. Sure, someone could stumble across it amidst the zillions for sale and buy it, and these days you can get an ISBN number via various self-publishers so you can sell your book in online ‘stores.’ Sure, my mom and some of my friends would buy my book. But though I know a lot of people, it could take a year to sell even 1,000 copies, which isn’t very many to the agents and editors you might want to represent or buy your next opus. And if I’m spending that much time self-marketing, when will I write the next book? Some self-publishers offer various types of marketing packages, with separate fees for each type of media. These can run into the thousands of dollars.
3. It seems that anyone can self-publish almost anything. There is almost no vetting of quality or marketability, though some sites will evaluate your manuscript…for a fee. Traditional editors/agents won’t buy or represent you if they don’t love your work and see $ dollar signs when they read it, because they are putting their reputations on the line. Just because you and your best friend think your manuscript is amazing doesn’t mean it is.
5. Only a VERY few self-pubbed novels are are picked up by an NY publisher.
But then, someone wins the lottery every week…
6. Will you get reviewed if you self-publish? There are hundreds of traditionally published books out every month competing for increasingly limited review spots in major newspapers and magazines. Sure, online sites can review more books, but how will yours stand out if they do?
The jury’s still out on this topic…
For good news about self-publishing, see:
On the other hand,
SFWA has this to say here
Tess Gerritsen’s thoughts
And agent Nathan Bransford offers his pros and cons, with lots of reader comments.
Interested in self-publishing your Great American Novel?
Check out these self-publishers: