Being a self-published author doesn’t just mean that you spend your days engulfed in the wonderful world of your imagination doing what you love most, writing. Unfortunately there’s a whole lot more to it than that. While going it on your own can certainly give you a sense of control and an opportunity to take your writing career into your own hands rather than waiting for some agent or publisher to come a long and do it for you, it also means that you are responsible for everything that getting an actual sale on the book you spent so much blood, sweat, tears and time on entails.
Starting with choosing your preferred route of self-publishing. While there are plenty of ‘easy to do yourself’ choices out there, there are PLENTY of choices out there, and you have to choose what works best for you. Some allow you to use multiple outlets, while others expect you to stick with them exclusively for the remainder of your agreement. For example, KDP Select through Kindle. A great program for several reasons. For starters they allow you to offer your book for free on any 5 days you choose throughout the 3 months you are signed up to participate. This is an excellent promotional tool and KDP Select should be strongly considered for that reason. In addition to that, you get to earn a percentage of the $6 million dollar fund provided for 2012 anytime someone selects your book from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. Not a bad deal, except that while enrolled you cannot offer your book through other sites such as Barnes and Noble. Of course if you choose against it, you still have to consider every one’s rules and regulations. For instance, Barnes and Noble pays a smaller commission than Amazon, but will not allow you to sell your book at a higher price to make up the difference. They insist on offering the lowest price. While I recently heard, that Amazon owns all the rights to every review posted on their site, meaning you cannot re-post a positive review anywhere else. Basically what I’m saying is, that there are pros and cons to everything, and it’s up to you to figure out what they are and how to choose what’s best for you.
Once you have successfully uploaded your book, whether as an e-book or a print on demand paperback, you now have the challenge of getting the word out there and generating some sales because unfortunately the odds are against you that amongst the millions of book selections out there readers will just happen to stumble upon yours by sheer luck alone. So what do you do? Well, you use social networking sites to connect with other people who are on the same path in hopes that they will help guide the way. You join different support groups, join facebook, twitter and whatever else floats your boat. Then you use those same sites not only to educate yourself but to inform others about what you have to offer. Every day you log on, update your statuses (thankfully, there are ways to link them all together now, so you can update everything just by updating one) and find out what everyone else is up to in hopes that they have unearthed some new kernel of information that will help fight your way through this maze that is self-publishing. On the plus side, you will in all likely hood meet some great people along the way who will not only offer you their knowledge but also their support and in return you will offer yours and share in their joys as they find success along side you.
Reviews are always a plus, well, positive ones anyway. If friends and family are willing to read and review, you are in luck! But it may not be enough. In addition ,you may want to browse the Internet for book review sites and blogs. You may find pretty quickly that a lot of them are already overloaded with books to read, but if you remain persistent in your search, you will eventually find a good match for you and your book. And having that first five star review from a complete strange will be so worth the time and effort it took to get it!
Add to that learning all about the importance of ‘liking, tagging and helpful reviewing’, all terms I had never heard of before I started this and still don’t entirely understand, and you’re keeping pretty busy. Meanwhile, you’ve spent hours on the computer and haven’t written so much as a single word on a project you had intended to be halfway done by now…but it’s okay, you’re the editor too, so you set your own deadline. And if necessary, you change it.
I love to write. There are days I wish I could do more of it, but the truth is that as much fun as I have writing, I won’t deny that I get an enormous boost of joy at the sight of a jump in my sales or a hike in my sales ranking. It’s part of my job now and therefor I get double satisfaction in knowing that my books are being well received. It’s not just a representation of my writing, but also my abilities to market and sell. Things I never had any interest in before now, but if I have to learn how to do them to get to do what I love, it’s all worth it in the end.