December 13, 2019, 05:18:09 AM

Author Topic: Self-publishing Experience  (Read 8895 times)

Offline Pastey

Re: Self-publishing Experience
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2014, 08:06:10 AM »
The problem with self-publishing, as others have noted, is that without a fan base no-one knows to buy your work.

Readers don't know about you, and have no idea what your writing is like. So there's two major factors to overcome straight away. The first being to get people to know you exist, and the second being to let them know what sort of stuff you write.

By far and away, as with anything, the best promotion is word of mouth. Online reviews have taken this on a little, but face to face, tweet to tweet  or forum post to forum post is always the best way to build initial interest.
When I published my book last year, the majority of sales came from people I know online. Most of whom never knew I wrote. But those that bought it and liked it, recommended it to their friends. And that's where I got more sales.

But even though these people knew I existed, because they didn't know I wrote they weren't likely to take a chance on buying my book. So I created a website for it and put a few short stories on there, and an excerpt from the book itself. These then gave people an idea what the book was like, and what my writing was like. It also gave me, and them, something to link to when telling others about it.

The other main thing I'd very much recommend though isn't on an initial publishing side of things, but it's quality. Absolutely, definitely make sure your work is proofread and edited by someone who knows what they're doing. I'm very fortunate that my other half is a qualified proofreader, and when she handed me back what I thought was a finished manuscript I was actually embarrassed by the amount of errors she picked up.
And if you're going to make your work available in dead-tree format, make sure to typeset it properly. Dead-tree costs more to buy, so the expectation of quality is much higher. And when you're just starting out it's far more important to meet that expectation.
Digital Lead at the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy : Author of Endangered Creatures : Prolific Drinker

Offline ACSmyth

Re: Self-publishing Experience
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2014, 10:02:57 AM »
I agree it's a long game.

My first came out mid-December, and I've sold about 60 copies. I've priced it at $3.99/£2.49 to give me some wiggle room for promotional pricing. If you start at $0.99, you don't have much flexibility, and I've been seeing reports that say that people actually value a book more, are more invested in it, and are more prepared to leave a review, if they pay in the $2.99-3.99 range.

I paid a lot for professional copy editing, cover design, and layout, to make it as good as I could get it. My editor was expensive, but worth it. She does a lot more than just typos, as she looks at sentence structure and rhythm, and sends back comments like "This is dramatic stuff. Use a stronger verb here!" Her sort of expertise doesn't come cheap, though, and it will take me about 3 years to break even if sales continue at this sort of rate.

That said, everyone who has reviewed it says they want to read the second book, and I'm getting occasional tweets from people asking when it will be out, which is nice.

Many people have said it takes 4-6 books to get any sort of traction, so I'm just working hard and trying to forget about sales figures for now. I'd like to do some short stories in the world that I can use as freebies to help promote it, but I'm not great at short form just yet. I'm writing a couple of shorts each month, to try to develop that skill, and it's getting there, slowly.

ETA: Which reminds me, my book 2 cover design will be done in a couple of weeks. So I think I'll go back to my "me" avatar for a while, until that's available.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 10:34:22 AM by ACSmyth »

Offline Davis Ashura

Re: Self-publishing Experience
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2014, 11:44:24 AM »
I've had a very unusual self-publishing experience. I published A Warrior's Path on December 30, 2013 and sold 4 books by the end of the year.
Quite the start, eh?
Ok. I bought one, my sister bought one and a couple other friends bought them two. Then came January. The book sold about 5 copies a day for the first two weeks (price was and still is $5.49), which I thought was phenomenal since this is my first published novel.
Then came some event, and I wish I knew what happened. The book took off. It's now approaching several thousand sales. I honestly don't know why. I'm still puzzled. I'd like to think it's because the book is just that awesome, but there's also a great deal of luck to this, I'm sure. Or maybe it really is just that awesome.
Anyway, in terms of marketing, I purchased a Kirkus Review prior to book launch, and thankfully, it was positive. I've been using that review heavily in my blurb, so I think that helped. I also spent a lot of money on the cover art. I wanted eye candy, and I think that helped, too. In fact, I worried that the art might actually be better than the book - the artist eventually read the book and assures me that isn't the case. I also did a Goodreads giveaway and had fun as over a 1000 people requested the book in a two week period. I lowered the price last week to $2.99 when Words of Radiance (Sanderson is a tidal wave - he washed away all before him) came out, and that helped keep sales going.
I did a few other things and I blogged about them on my website. I want to be like Lindsay Buroker and Michael Sullivan and pass on whatever knowledge I manage to acquire.
The crucible of tragedy teaches us the truth of our dharma: we sacrifice all so others need not. It is a weighty burden.

The Sorrows of Hume

Offline NathanTDean

Re: Self-publishing Experience
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2014, 03:56:51 PM »
I am still considerably far away from being able to self-publish my fantasy epic. But reading this it seems I have a lot to decide upon before I send it out into the big bad nasty. So I'm going to plonk this comment here so I can get updates as this evolves.

Congratulations to the sales and good luck to the sales to be, seems there is a lovely selection of authors here.

(Side note: any short stories I'd be welcome to review if you send me links and the like)
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten." - Neil Gaiman

Offline Jamie Maltman

Re: Self-publishing Experience
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2014, 04:59:12 AM »
New here, just found the site and it looks like a promising place to connect with other fantasy authors and reader. :)

I self-published the first book, Brush With Darkness. of my historically-influenced Fantasy series, Arts Reborn, back on March 19th to Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Nook and Smashwords.

My plan was to publish it, then see what happened, let my friends know after a few days for the few that had already told me they were interested, and then actually start promoting the book once book 3 comes out (target of September this year). I want to have the funnel in place before I start pushing any eyeballs.

I sold more than a dozen copies before I told anyone I know, then sold a handful more (1 each on Kobo and i- that I know, 1 on Smashwords that I don't, and more on Amazon that I'm not sure about, but some were in different countries so I doubt it).

It was an interesting and exciting experience to get sales before I told anyone. And then came a couple of returns too, but apparently that's par for the course. Could have been by accident, or read and release, or didn't like it. Who knows.

Still waiting for my first review. I'm in queue with some reviewers and book bloggers I met through Goodreads, personal contact and soliciting some blog reviewers that look at Indie Fantasy. And then the book is full length (350 pages or so), so it will take a little time for some to get through it.

So that's my experience and plan so far. :)

Offline James A. Hunter

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Re: Self-publishing Experience
« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2015, 02:26:28 PM »
Hey all, so I'm new here. This looks like an old thread, but I thought I'd post my results so far, and share what I've done. I'm new to self-publishing, my book, Strange Magic, has been out for about a month and a half and its done surprisingly, shockingly well. I released on January 16th, 2015 (currently its Feb 23), and I have sold/lent (through KDP Select) almost three thousand copies  ;D and still going strong, though how long my lucky streak goes I have no idea. I studied self-publishing for quite a while—I'd recommend buying The Indie Author Power Pack--and did a pretty aggressive launch.

I had pro editing done and paid for a professional book cover (Ebooklaunch), and booked marketing slots for the week of release (I’d suggest E-bookhounds, Fiverr BKnights, and SciFiFantasyFREAK). Overall, out of pocket I spent a little over a grand (costly), but I've easily recouped my expenses, though that certainly wasn't guaranteed. Over my launch week I lowered the book price to .99 and then ran adds and giveaways every day for a week, which generated enough sales to get me good visibility on the Amazon charts (selecting good categories is important). Then I raised the price to $3.99 and crossed my fingers. Thankfully my week of good sales let me stick at the top of several lists (Urban Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Metaphysical Fantasy) and I continued to make sales. After the first month, sales dropped off a bit (I fell off all the "hot new release lists"), but I'm still making fairly good numbers.

To generate reviews, I also emailed book bloggers several months before release (nothing paid), and hosted a member giveaway at; if you’re not getting any traction/readership, that might be a place to start. Give out copies and ask for reviews in return. If you have a little money (I think it’s $69) guarantees ten reviews (though not necessarily good ones) from “average joe” readers (their words). I didn’t use them, but I’ve heard okay things about them. I also have a “call to action” at the end of my books—basically a short paragraph asking people to leave reviews complete with a clickable link. Okay, that’s my story, hopefully it helps/encourages someone.
"Writing is when you make the words, editing is when you make them not sh***y." Chuck Wendig

Offline markwill212

Re: Self-publishing Experience
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2015, 01:43:19 AM »
Been planning to write a book related to my actual profession or work.  I found this site on the internet, they offer self-publishing. Do you see it a good place to publish? Please advice. Also they have a blog, I have read some blogs about writing and some news that made me updated about books. That's why I myself think they can help me in the future for publishing a book. :)