I stumbled onto this blog the other day and Eli James has loaded it with great information and articles about being a self-published writer.
I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I get a link to view these success stories, I take a deep breath and pray that it will happen to me. The stories encourage me and help me to remember that other writers are doing it and being successful. I hope that it encourages you as well!
Denise Grover Swank
H. P. Mallory
I was on the fence about what to title the latest because I was unsure about what category I should submit the story. I titled it “Redemption” and put it in Fiction/Fantasy/Paranormal and my free give away days were very slow. It is also a romance, so I went with my first title “Baptism of Desire,” and resubmitted it under Fiction/Romance/General and Fiction/Romance/Paranormal. It did much better on the free giveaway day which was encouraging but I’m not selling much. Figuring out the business side of self-published is tough when you have a full-time job, commute 3 hours a day and are in a master’s degree program. I’m also publishing under a pen name to keep my work life and writing life separate. That translates to ‘no one I am acquainted with knows I have published two novels.’ Why did I decide to do that? Because some of the more conservative people I know, or colleagues at work maybe offended by language or sexually explicit scenes or violence. I didn’t want to be supported by my friends and family but by readers who enjoyed reading it.
It’s difficult to write and self-publish and keep believing in yourself. I routinely get the KDP emails that feature another successful self-published writer. Each writer’s story is unique and there are some who had a slow start until eventually they gained a loyal following of readers. The writers that are most frequently featured are those that have hit the ‘publish’ button and had a meteoric rise to high sales and financial reward. I know that one of my biggest issues is my cover art and I am hopeful that once I can afford to have some serious work done, the sales will improve dramatically. Keeping my fingers crossed!
Today I am publishing the first in a series of at least three novels called Redemption: Of Their Souls. I’m very excited about this series and the characters in the story. I love these characters – not only the primary characters but the rest of the cast. It was a fun story to write and to research because it allowed me to be completely free and use my imagination. There were no boundaries. I’m also excited to post into a new category: Fiction/Fantasy/Supernatural.
I’m beginning to realize that with the limit on Amazon/KDP to only select two categories for your book, there is a great benefit to having another cover so that you can upload it into another two categories. It gives you greater exposure and that hopefully translates into greater audience and income.
The entire process of going through CreateSpace and KDP has been very easy for a novice, however, I have had my mistakes and I am definitely learning as I go. I’m quite sure that by this time next year I will have learned so much more about the process of self-publishing and how to refine that into an equation for success. When I have that figured out I will share! Although I am happy to answer any questions on the front end.
As a new writer and the parent of three children who are simultaneously in college, money is tight. Let’s just say that I have not had the financial freedom that Elizabeth Gilbert had when she went traveling for a year and wrote Eat. Pray, Love.
I do understand, better than anyone, how important having a professionally created cover for your book is and how that can impact sales. My situation is a case in point. I wanted to launch How to Save A Life, before I could afford a $300 graphic artist project on 99designs.com or a similar site, but the budget does not allow for that yet. So I decided to try Fiverr.com, another site where you can commission art work for a much cheaper price. There are many artists who will do something for you for only $20. With low expectations but deciding I might as well give it a shot, I commissioned something from an artist who is from the Middle East. His cover was not what I had envisioned, with a definitively Middle Eastern image of a woman, to which he then added a burning airplane, but I decided that since you can have your novel loaded unlimited times on KDP with different covers, that I would give it a shot. On the first ‘free give away day’ there were 171 downloads with the crazy cover in contrast to the 71 free downloads with the cover I created myself.
I have a specific idea of what I want the cover to look like but it is a $300 project. Hopefully, it will be soon!
My Original version:
How to Save a Life was uploaded last night. After a few struggles, meaning I skipped a step on Create Space, and then found a word usage problem, I had to resubmit and finally it was live last night. Today I started a book promotion to give it away for free. I arrived at my office early and started to reach out to any of the websites that allow you, as an author, to list your book promotion for free. Wow – there are a lot of sites out there that will let you list it for a fee – sometimes a large fee! Really? I think I should start a second business and start one of those websites!
Today I keep my dashboard up as I watch people to continue to download it on KDP. It is equal parts terrifying and exhilarating. Will they like it? Will they like the story? What happens if I get a lot of bad reviews?
I’m working on converting something I wrote back in 1995 into format for KDP. I think I am re-titling it to When We Meet Again. I will need to have a professional create cover art for that, and that process excites me as well. I would have done that for How to Save a Life, but after paying a tuition bill to the University of Maine for one son, and a major car repair (stupid potholes) – I’m squeaking a long.
Thank you if you have read How to Save a Life and that is how you came to visit my blog!