Self-Publishing a book is a great thing, a great accomplishment and it is riddled with fears that I never thought I would ever come across. You actually have to put your thoughts into a format that people can actually follow – that in and of itself is HUGE… but then there is the idea of releasing it to the everyday person… to someone willing to pay for it… that is a GULP moment. Sure you have faith in your ability, but what if everyone hates it. Once you get past that, you venture into the world of Self-Publishing or publishing by traditional means. After many query letters, many rejections and so many hours of my life lost trying to convince someone my story was worth it – I decided on Self-Publishing digitally.
Self-Publishing should be FREE right? It is only your time that you put into it. You can easily have everything done by say – Amazon – right?
Sure you can, but the bigger question you should ask yourself is SHOULD YOU?
- BOOK COVERS
I looked on Amazon’s Kindle Catalog and searched for books similar in genre to mine… yep some look like a five-year-old drew it with a crayon, some are more professional and some are in between – just like I would expect. The thing is though, the ones with the professional cover art – they were ranking higher, they presented better and they were reviewed more. People saw them. They stood out. Sure the one with the five-year-old crayon look – it caught my attention as well, but I was more curious why it was done this way for a crime novel.
I chose to go with Deranged Doctor Designs. They offered a portfolio with so many different angles to take a book cover it made my head spin. The biggest thing I saw was something professional but DIFFERENT. I knew they could design something that was fitting for me and worked exactly as I needed it to.
- SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL
You might not think this matters. However, you might want to think about how you are going to sell your book. If you plan on placing anything on FACEBOOK or TWITTER or anything like that – you need a version of your Book Cover to promote it. This is huge.
Do you know how to convert something from Word or SCRIVENER into a proper MOBI or .EPUB? I am sure you can easily use a program like CALIBRE (which Kindle Direct Publishing does NOT recommend) to convert them, but if you are off even by a hair – your formatting in Kindle, iBooks, Nook etc will be completely out of whack. That will lead you to have to redo the book, make the edits, re-upload and PRAY that the issues are fixed. This is all while people are READING a flawed copy. Not good. The worst is if you have to remove the book to do extensive changes – you will lose out on any promotional push Amazon gave you for free, you will lose the reviews, the rankings etc. Basically, anything you worked very hard to put forward would be gone, POOF. Sometimes, until you are 100% sure you know how to do this perfectly – you should let someone else do it… and if they screw it up you can go after THEM. If you do decide to do it yourself, please do as much research as possible in how to make the formatting work best from whatever program you wish to use.
Personally – I used word… formatting is an issue.
Great you managed the minefield of self-publishing… you went through the trials of to enroll in unlimited or to just get the book out EVERYWHERE at once. You have chosen to add DRM or not. It was a heroic effort getting through all that stuff – but now it is LIVE…. and you are getting nowhere. This is where you can do one of two things. You can find places that you have to PAY to review your book and post it on GOODREADS.COM or you can search for people who have blogs etc who are willing to review for free for a copy of your book. Either way, you have to do some legwork and you cannot expect every review to be in your favor. These are honest reviews – those are the ones you want. If you want biased ones, sure your ranking might go up, but I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror.
At this point, my book STEELE RESOLVE has been released for 3 days, it is doing okay for now. However, I am actively working on getting reviews, pushing hard and trying to make a name for myself. I have outlined most of book two in what I hope becomes a successful series. At this point though, I truly just want to BREAK EVEN for all the money I have invested in book one. I love my story and my characters, but I expect to take a loss on the book. Not for lack of trying, but in a world flooded with digital content – I can fight all I want to stand out… but I have to prepare myself for the possibility that it won’t. It isn’t a negative thing, I consider it a learning experience. I am swinging from the seat of my pants, working my tail off and trying new things. Whatever works, works. Whatever doesn’t, I have to figure out if it didn’t work for this genre or if it just doesn’t work period.
Hopefully, this has helped you understand what goes into writing your own book and how to get it done. Above all, be proud of yourself. I know many people say – “There are too many self-published writers who think they can write, but can’t.” That sentiment is true, but if you really love what you do – you make sure to do it right before self-publishing. So, take that step back and smile. You finished a story. Regardless of publication, you finished it.
What do you think about self-publishing and the costs of getting things done? Let me know in the comments below. If you have Kindle Unlimited please give STEELE RESOLVE a read and let me know your thoughts. A creative person cannot grow without the constructive criticism of their peers.
Feel free to contact me here or my other social pages – you can also see my author page on Amazon.com and ask me a question there!