The Frightening World of Self-Publishing
As I’m writing, lurking in the back of my mind is — What do I do next? This refers to publishing your work. Unlike the old days, back before the internet, a writer had only one option; submitting their work to a publisher. In most cases, that meant having to find an agent first. Now, we have the wonderful world of eBooks. Anyone that can put words on the screen can become a published writer.
There are many places to sell these eBooks — Amazon, Barnes & Noble, even Smashwords. Another way is selling directly to the reader, cutting out the middle man and keeping all the profit for yourself. I’m planning on publishing through Amazon. Although I have to admit, selling directly to the reader is much more attractive.
Since I’m working on a shoestring budget, a shoestring that’s broken and frayed; I need to do everything myself. Editing, creating a cover, getting the word out about my work. Because of my previous experience in publishing pdfs for role-playing games, I’m familiar with using Photoshop and InDesign. I’m also learning how to use Scrivener to compile my ebook. Took a few tries to get the formatting the way I needed in Word to import the manuscript into Scrivener, but I succeeded. It’s kind of neat seeing what I wrote as an ebook on my Kindle Paperwhite. Reading it on the Kindle has shown me several mistakes I missed when I read through it on the screen and on the printout. It’s a good bet a reader would spot them and that would not be good for me.
I know a written work should be gone over by a reputable editor. They find the problems in the work and give advice on how to fix them. However, they do not come cheap. My solution to this is two books — Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne, Dave King and Revision and Self Editing for Publication: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft into a Novel that Sells by James Scott Bell. Both are available as eBooks and will help in the editing process. If I could afford an editor I would get one in a heartbeat!!
Creating a decent cover is a bit time consuming, but I want it to look good. Editing I’m doing myself, based on the feedback I’ve received from beta readers and advice received in Writers World. Remember to put an acknowledgement in your book about of the beta readers and others who helped you along the way. Give them a free copy of the ebook when it’s published. If you can afford it, go to Lulu and get a few paperbacks made, sign them and send them as a thank you. Of course EatSleepWrite is a great resource for information with the various blogs found there.
Getting the word out about your work. You need to develop a following before you publish your work. Start a blog, post excerpts, and keep people up to date on the progress you are making. I use WordPress for my blogs. I have one set up as an author page, the other three are for my writing. Create a website. There are a number of places on the internet for this. I used Wix. Start a Facebook page, set up a twitter account. Connect with other indie authors, when they release something, let them get out the information on your blog. Chances are very good they will return the favor when you need it. Read whatever you can find about self-publishing.
Now, you have everything ready to go. Next up is figuring out how much to charge for your ebook. Was part of a discussion concerning pricing of eBooks and an interesting point was made. Just because an ebook costs only 99 cents, that doesn’t mean your sales will go through the roof. Setting the price between 1.99 and 3.99 seems the better way to go. Another factor to consider is the genre of your work. Check Amazon Kindle Store find out what others are charging for their work in that category.
All right, you have published your ebook and now it’s time to get the word out about your masterpiece. There are dozens of groups on Facebook for promoting your published work. Join them before you publish so you can see how others do it. Self-promoting is hard work, but if you are limited on funds, it’s the only option open to you. You can also hold a Release Party on Facebook. I’ve attended a few of those and they are fun. There are people out there willing to run such an event for a price and if you can afford it, it wouldn’t hurt.
One last thing, remember to keep writing new books, short stories, poems, whatever. Don’t stop the creative process.
May the words ever flow!