Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Self-Publishing One Year Later

It was one year ago today that I signed off on the paperback edition of Again in a Heartbeat, my memoir.   I had self-published the book. So much has changed in one short year about how self-publishing is viewed that it has felt like riding a huge, cresting wave. What was once considered risky is now becoming mainstream as more people  hop on the self-publishing bandwagon.

The rise of eBooks and the reader's love of paperbacks - now prompting traditional publishers to abandon the hardback and go for the paperback, sometimes less than four months after the book's initial release - all point  to one thing. Self-publishing.  Why?  Because eBooks and paperbacks are the bread and butter of self-publishing.

Things I have learned this year about being a self-published author:

Do your research before you select a self-publishing company.

Pay special attention to working with your design team so that the cover is simple, beautiful and expressive of the book's central theme.

Take advantage of publishing packages that offer eBook formatting at little additional cost.

Do not expect huge sales once you hold the product in hand. Instead, believe in your book and view marketing it as a lifelong endeavor. Your book has unlimited shelf life this way.  So what if you only sell 200 books the first year?  Who cares as long as the book continues to sell and you recoup your initial investment, which you will if you take the time to market your work.

Keep remembering why you wrote the book in the first place. You had a story to tell and you believed that story would resonate with readers.

Get over the fact that self-promotion can feel uncomfortable. Promote, promote, promote, but do it with sensitivity. No overkill.  Talk to the people who read your book.  Thank them for buying it.

Tie your book into other initiatives.  Sign up for a table at a local book festival, blog about writing your book, attend Open Mic nights.  Provide a  link on your blog or website that makes ordering your book easy.

Convince yourself that self-publishing is no longer looked down on.  Why?  Because it is true. This has been one of the most dramatic changes I have noticed in the last year. Self-publishing has become increasingly credible in the changing marketplace of Internet sales and the (unfortunate) demise of many bookstores.

Be counterintuitive. If you still fear POD (print-on-demand) has a bad reputation, turn it around. Announce early on that you love never having to worry about a garage full of books.

Enjoy those royalty checks when they are posted each and every month to your online bank account.

Never lose the thrill, the feeling of excitement, when you hold your book in hand. It is an accomplishment of which you deserve to be proud!


Anonymous said...

Options for Self-Publishing Proliferate, Easing the Bar to Entry...that's the headline on a NYTimes piece just published. Here's the link: article fits in perfectly with Susan's post.

Susan G. Weidener said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for including the link to this article on the various options that come with self-publishing. I found the article interesting, particulary the woman's comment, "I just wanted to get on with it." You can be waiting forever if you rule out self-publishing.

I agree that it is hard to get reviews of self-published books. I have run into that myself. Not sure why that is. Yet, as the woman said in the story, "It is very liberating" to finish the project and hold a self-published book in hand.

Costs vary widely, but if you are willing to pay an editor and can get help from friends who read your manuscript and offer invaluable critique, you can produce a very good book at a low cost. Coming up with your own cover is also a way to save money. Thanks for the link,