So, for all that crap I said about the publishing industry and marketing, what’s today’s post about? Publishing and marketing. I’m getting really close to having everything done with my first book and thought I’d share what I’ve learned for anyone else making the journey to publication.
Firstly, yes, I’m going to self publish. My wife always wanted to self publish her books and comics, but our original idea was for myself to enter the trade publishing market to make a name for ourselves. Maybe three years ago, I shopped Godspeed around with exactly 103 agents. I only ever heard back from around 80 of them, and of those, maybe five wanted samples. However, my book was pretty crappy back then, and they all passed. I decided then to skip the middle man and build our own brand by self publishing.
We’ll get into the nuances in another post, such as where to self publish and what Kindle Unlimited is and stuff like that. But anyone wanting to publish a book should probably first decide which process is better: trade or self publishing. While there are other options, these are the only two I’m discussing. I’m not interested in vanity presses nor those scammy sites that make authors buy their own books. Here’s a hint. If you have to shell out any kind of money to publish something, slow your roll and reexamine the process you’re trying to take. It may be legit, but it could also be a scam.
Anyway, while I’m going self publishing, trade publishing has its advantages. You don’t have to worry about marketing to the extent self pubbers have to. You get an advance on royalties towards your first book (which, a very broad estimate for a new writer could be around $5,000) You also get professional editing and a professional cover. But the process of querying is long and arduous. And if you’re writing in a niche genre or a genre that’s been saturated (such as Y/A dystopian or paranormal romance) then you’re gonna have a hard time. As for submitting to actual publishing houses, I wouldn’t even bother. Most of the good ones only listen to agents whom they trust.
So what advantages does self publishing have? Well, for one you don’t have to listen to editorial mandate about your book. I’ve read experiences where a writer’s protag was gender swapped to make it appeal more to women, because statistically, more women write and read fiction. It’s also hilariously easy. Seriously, grab one of the pre-made covers from Kindle, pick your genre, some keywords, enter in your little description and upload your manuscript. Can be done in minutes. But don’t do it that way, even though it’s easy.
However, self-pubbers don’t get editing help or marketing help. We also have to design our own covers for our book. Ignore the phrase “You can’t judge a book by its cover” because I’m told people often do when browsing a storefront like Kindle or Google Play.
I’m fortunate in that I married a very talented artist, and got my cover for free. I also have all the tools I need to format E-books because we had to purchase them when she was in college. But editing? While I’m a decent editor, I just can’t swing the cost when we’re talking a few hundred for a professional edit. All I could do was read and reread my story over a dozen times and ask other people to read it before deciding it was at a decent place. In my personal opinion, it’s not a significant risk, but it is a risk, as I know people who will honestly stop reading a book if they find an error. However, according to my research, those people are a minority. Tentatively, it seems people will forgive small errors if your story is solid.
So first, decide which way you want to publish a story. Even though I’m self publishing, I suggest everyone try out trade publishing. Crafting an eye-catching query is an experience in itself that helps not only with one’s craft, but helps learn about rejection. And who knows? You may get picked up and can focus solely on writing.
Hmm…looks like this post got a little long. I try and keep these around 700 words for the sake of brevity, but I haven’t even gotten into what I really wanted to talk about. Guess I can do that for tomorrow’s post. I’ve created a little road map to publishing my books that appears, at least on paper, to be halfway decent. It’s a good place to start, anyway, as it’s passed scrutiny over at Kboards.com, which is one of the best places for learning about self publishing I’ve found. Check out the forums there and hear advice from people who sell 30,000 books a month. Maybe in a few years, I’ll be one of them:-)
I’ve also updated some of my stuff, since we’re nearing the time I hit that publish button. I put up the first chapter of Godspeed on my website to give you guys a little sneak peek. Click here if you wanna check it out. If you’re interested further, I suggest joining my mailing list by clicking here. Whenever I release a new book or run a special promotion that makes my books cheaper, you’ll get an email. It’ll average to at least one email every three months, as that’s the schedule I’ve set up for myself.
I guess tomorrow, I’ll go over what I’m planning to do and why I decided to take that action. If any writer reads this in the future, I hope it helps at least get an idea of what to expect. Self publishing is easy, but being successful to the point that I aspire to takes a lot of planning, research and luck. And since I have no luck, my planning and research have to make up for that fact.
Catch you guys later!