• 443

Real-time Self-publishing Experience

The more research I do on self-publishing, the more I think it could well be my best option. At least for my debut novel. It would be great for those of us who aren’t yet there, or are just now entering the game, to hear real-time experiences and learnings from those of you who are already in it. Anyone care to start sharing?

0 0 0 0 0 0
Attachments
Replies (83)
    • I've decided to go the self publishing route for my debut novel too. So far, I've secured a cover artist, bought ISBNs, set up KDP, and joined the Alliance of Independent Authors - after watching a webinar on Jericho (you get your title set up on IngramSpark with your membership so well worth it just for that) I'm halfway through my last revision. I've been through 3 development edits, 3 rounds of beta readers and this draft I'm determined to make it my last before it goes to copy/line edits before my book launch in November! 

      As far as marketing and promotion...I'm in a few FB groups for support. I've created my author page and website and I throw out teasers of my work to my small but mighty readership on Patreon and Wattpad. 

      Hope that helps as far as real time progress. I decided to officially go Indie Author in April/May of this year, but I've been working on my author platform for about a year.

      0 0 0 0 0 0
      • Thank you so much for mentioning ALLi. I had a look at it. Joined it and now totally hooked. Great platform with masses of useful advice. Brilliant. Thanks 

        0 0 0 0 0 0
        • Hi Eli, I'm perhaps 3 to 6 months behind you but following exactly the same path. I'm struggling with marketing though, and I haven't done anything with Patreon or Wattpad. How is that going? Could you give us an idea of the type of content you put out on those platforms?

          0 0 0 0 0 0
          • Well done. I am thinking of self publishing if I don’t have an agent by about Feb. Let us know how you get on.

            0 0 0 0 0 0
          • Eli, this is tremendous work - well done. I have been thinking (and thinking) about whether to go down this route for my first novel but I am concerned about the costs involved for  things such as cover design, editing etc- all of which I believe are essential. 

            I wish you every success. Do let us know when you are out in the world. 

            0 0 0 0 0 0
            • I self published my debut novel in 2019. After paying Jericho Writers for  editing (best money I ever spent!) the cost thereafter was virtually nil.
              I did the cover design on Canva. I later changed it after the first couple of months.
              Got to grips with KDP where the biggest hurdle was figuring out the print layout. But the great thing is, you can have a go, get a print proof within a few days and then refine. My first attempt was terrible – the page layout and text justification was all over the place and I had forgotten to include page numbers! But, hey, that only cost me about 5 quid. After two more attempts I got it ready to roll.
              By comparison to print, the e-book production is easy-peasy.
              I tried a bit of advertising here and there – the usual Facebook, Amazon etc.
              By far the best marketing was being lucky enough to land a Bookbub feature deal at the second attempt. Other than that, seeding the book in various appropriate special-interest Facebook and Linkedin groups produced a trickle, at zero cost.
              There’s lots more to it than that, but go ahead and ask if there is something you want to know.

              0 0 0 0 0 0
              • Thanks so much Iain. Questions:

                I have no familiarity with Canva. Did it provide the degree of flexibility you wanted? Do you need to have artistic talent to use it? Why Canva rather than a professional designer?

                To what do you attribute your success with Bookbub?

                How have your sales gone? Have you continued to advertise?

                Cheers.

                0 0 0 0 0 0
                • Sorry for the delay in reply. My motivation is simple – every time I stay in the cinema at the end of a film and watch the credits I’m thinking ‘seriously, it takes THAT many people to produce a movie?’. Literally, thousands!  I recently finished reading what I considered to be a pretty average debut novel in the same genre as my own and I’m not kidding the author must have thanked  more than 50 people who helped in the process of producing the book. That’s 50 people who presumably all get a salary.
                  OK, I know many of them will be very good at what they do and will be better than I am at their little piece of the pie.
                  The only person I have paid in the whole process was my Jericho editor who was brilliant.
                  I’m sure trad published would have produced better results, but I am just not prepared to spend the next several years wading through rejections, or more likely non-replies from agents. I understand that a good agent will get several thousand submissions annually, from which they might succeed in getting a handful published.

                  Now, to answer your questions.

                  Canva. I have absolutely no eye for design, colour or layout. I was 2nd bottom of my art class back in school days and the poor fellow who was below me is now a prominent national politician!
                  I used Canva because even with the free version I found it relatively easy to move things around and get what I wanted. Some difficulty in selecting a background image, as the one I eventually settled on was in their magazine layout section and not in book covers. After my first tranche of sales, I changed the cover completely to better reflect the genre. That was done in an hour.

                   Bookbub Featured Deals. These are apparently hard to land, but I managed it at the second attempt. The person there who helped me through the process of determining pricing etc was very supportive. I went for pricing @ 99p and only distributed internationally, which means excluding USA (too expensive). If you look at their site they show an estimate of how many copies you can expect to sell for different genres. However, the averages they show are just that, and as such the distribution curve will skew towards the lowest price. Hence my decision to go in at 99p. My sales result was almost 50% above their estimate.

                  Hope that is of some help.

                  0 0 0 0 0 0
                  • Thanks again, Iain. I appreciate your taking the time to enlighten me. It all seems a little daunting. I'm sure I'll have a lot more questions once I actually get underway.

                    0 0 0 0 0 0
                  • I’ve self published three books on Amazon. I generally earn about £50-£100 a month. i actually use Facebook ads and kindle countdown deals to keep the sales bubbling along. im hoping book 4 will push things up further. But you never know. 

                    0 0 0 0 0 0
                    • I am about to self-publish my first novel through Ingham Sparks. I took the easy and unfortunately most expensive route. I paid for a book cover designer and now am paying a local publishing company to organise everything, including marketing. I can’t imagine I will ever re-coup my costs but I’m working full time and wanted to save a lot of hassle. I stress, it’s not cheap. I’m looking at about $3200 Australian dollars at a minimum but I will be getting a professional and beautiful product. If you have the time, do the formatting yourself. 

                      0 0 0 0 0 0
                      • The crowd below do it for about 650 pounds.

                        https://www.bookscovered.co.uk/

                        0 0 0 0 0 0
                        • Yes I've come across them. I discovered them a little late for my first book, and when I made a speculative enquiry the lead times were too long. But then £650 equates to $860, and by the time you add in social media banners (Newsletter, FB etc.) and material for FB Ads they end up around the same price point.

                          0 0 0 0 0 0
                          • Yeah, good headline price they have. Hadn't thought about those other points.

                            0 0 0 0 0 0
                          • I self published my debut novel through KDP in January. I chose to get professional help for copy editing (I decided against a structural/development edit), proofreading, book design cover, formatting, ebook development and distribution. I did this because there is so much stuff written about how poor most self published books look and I just didn't want to be placed in that category.  My daughter set my website up for me using Wix.com.

                            Marketing and advertising has been very expensive and is still a massive learning curve. I paid for someone to do a blog tour for me (very successful and got me my first important reviews), I paid a publicist (a waste of money sadly) I have been doing Amazon ads on a continual basis since May at a loss (I consider it speculating to accumulate) and have paused all advertising in USA for the moment as the UK centric nature of the book I'm finding challenging to overcome there.  I found Kindle Unlimited useless for me. Getting reviews on Amazon - the only ones that really count in terms of increasing sales - has been very very difficult. I've recently got Instagram which I'm testing. I don't have FB or Twitter.

                            I have sold around 300 copies so far.

                            So far I have probably spent in excess of £6000 and I have just finished my second book in the series which is out with BETA readers atm. I am taking the same route with the second book. 

                            The biggest lesson for me has been that it may well be easy to self publish a book i.e. get it put up on Amazon - selling it is a whole different ball game. It won't even be visible if you don't market and advertise it. Writing the book is a walk in the park in comparison!

                            Hope some of that helps!

                            0 0 0 0 0 0
                            • Thanks for the insight, Helen. Interesting nuggets here. I imagine your first book will get additional pick-up from readers who find your second book first. Did you have some expectation regarding sales going in? How does 300 compare to that? What about pricing strategy?

                              0 0 0 0 0 0
                            • Hi Reidr

                              In terms of sales, my aim was to break even on my first book. I'm nowhere near close, but you're right, I am very much hoping that the launch of book 2 in November will help. I have revisited David Gaughran's brilliant free video course https://courses.davidgaughran.com/courses/take/starting-from-zero/lessons/13510945-1-1-welcome-to-starting-from-zero

                              and will be following his strategy for launching a book 2 in a series. If that works, then who knows, I may well end up breaking even on the first book and of course providing me with readers for the second.

                              I still cannot establish whether 300 books in 8 months for a debut novel is good, bad or indifferent and would love to know what others on here think about it. I thought I'd read somewhere that most self published authors only sell 200 of their book in its whole lifetime - if true I should be patting myself on the back but my business head tells me 300 is rubbish!

                              As far as pricing strategy is concerned, I have really been playing about with this to try and find the optimum price. This has been made more difficult because I am still struggling believe it or not, to establish what my categories honestly should be. One's genre is meant to dictate the price. Well my book could go in anything from British and Irish Humour and Satire to Romantic Comedy to Women's Contemporary Fiction!

                              I have just had a very good run at £2.99 and a few days ago thought I'd try increasing it to £3.99 - early signs are sales have gone down. Another massive lesson for me was pricing of my paperback. It had to be £9.99 or I would have pretty much made a loss each time I sold one. I only make 74p on paperbacks. Why? My word count is too high!! It stupidly never occurred to me that all those lovely words I was writing needed to be reigned in JUST to allow me to sell my paperbacks at prices of my genre and competitors. £9.99 is really one or two pounds higher than it should be.

                              I also naively assumed that when a book is put on Kindle Unlimited Amazon tells people about it and when you do a countdown deal it tells people about it - it doesn't. I needed to have PAID - yes PAID Amazon to give my book away for free!!!

                              I did use deal sites for a five day promotion where I reduced the book to 99p and this got me a nice initial batch of readers, several who went on to subscribe to my e-mails and receive my free novella sequel.

                              0 0 0 0 0 0
                              • Thanks Helen, very helpful advice. It's reassuring (to me) that you are also sceptical about keywords! 

                                I like the idea of the link to the sequel in the back of the book! I do have a reader magnet available via my website, but at present I don't think people are clicking through to it. A direct link at the end of the book (other than a www address) is a great idea.

                                Have you come across Bookswaps? David Gaughran mentions them for 'list building'  but it seems to work by you giving away your book for free. If that's just for a limited period, then fine (maybe) but I'd want to control the window of time during which it is free.

                                Anyway - thanks once again.

                                Andrew

                                0 0 0 0 0 0
                                • Good, Helen. The question is, though, is the minefield better than the mine hole of such depth that a million books a year fall into it while sad authors wait for responses that come for so few. Many think it's worth the effort to be out there and finding readers. That after all is the point we write = the readers. (and cos we love it) 

                                  0 0 0 0 0 0
                                  • Excellent advice, Helen. I have two book tours organized for the first week in December and expect reviews. One of them has sent an email out to her bloggers with requests for reviews. A week ago, four had downloaded my book so I hope it's 10 or so by now = maybe five or six from that. Booksirens is great, but Netgalley has some issues with booking in, so its best to do this with one of their affiliates who have space booked not so far out, a month maybe. Careful with Netgalley, though, as reviews tend to mark the stars down a point and are expensive if you book direct with them. Again, go thru an affiliate.

                                    Re your long book, any chance you can turn it into two books?

                                    Keywords are a bane for me, but I use Dave Chesson's publisher rocket for choosing them and also the category searches. It is wonderful as he lays out the competition and the number of books you need to sell in a day to rank number one and also in the top ten. But with the keywords, on Amazon at least, don't enter those which relate to the categories as the Amazon search engine already captures them with their category search.

                                    image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=604&dpx=1&t=1634625532

                                    0 0 0 0 0 0
                                  • I think 300 in 8 months is good for an initial book in a series. In the 90s I published a book, we sold 1000 copies in all and that was from lots of parties, trade shows, library events. There was no social media then.

                                    Are you on PLR? It is a library thing and you get a few pence every time the book is taken out. Look it up if you haven’t done it already. I still get income from it every year, not a lot probably £30 or so a year, but it makes me feel the book is still being read. It was aviation. 

                                    0 0 0 0 0 0
                                    • Thanks for all the valuable insight, Helen. Honesty, I'm impressed by your 300 sales for a debut novel, unaided by agent support. I'm feeling as though you've embarked on a lengthy trek and you're just at the very beginning. Your understanding of how things work on the publishing and marketing side has to prove valuable as you charge ahead with additional novels in the series. I've written a trilogy (still editing and polishing all three manuscripts), so I'm extremely interested in hearing how your collective sales unfold over time. Cheers.

                                      0 0 0 0 0 0
                                      • Hi Helen, Hi Georgina Hi Adele and NIcki Hi Reidr!   This was the most amazingly helpful thread as I was able to relate to so much of it!  I am somewhat daunted at the thought of getting the marketing right, as my first and very expensively self-published novel with no marketing (as I was naively unaware that you had to )promptly sank without trace.  Now I know about the 8 million other books out there I have adjusted my expectations accordingly and now have the second in the series almost ready to go.  Off to Canva! 


                                        0 0 0 0 0 0
                                        • Good luck, Jaye. Yeah, the marketing piece sounds daunting. Lots of work to be done on that end.

                                          0 0 0 0 0 0
                                        • OK, I'm now fully committed to self-publishing. My "Pyrate Series" is on the verge of ready. But first, I wanted to take a test drive. I've been working on a family history book for years, so I thought - why not self-publish a couple of family branches as a paperback, on Amazon. 

                                          I signed up for an account on Kindle Direct Publishing and played with Kindle Create. They have a decent tutorial to walk you through the process. It seemed simple enough. I made the process even simpler by choosing to upload a pdf file that's already set up for 8 1/2 x 11. (I wouldn't do that for my novels but it actually works for this kind of book.) I already had a jpeg file as a cover image (created by combining pictures on MS PowerPoint and then snipping them into a jpeg). So far, so good...I have the cover image and the file all set. 

                                          For some reason, I couldn't figure out how to insert "About the Author" text on the back cover. So all I have there is an image. But what the heck, it's just for family members anyway. I selected the paper quality (high-end). They showed a cost price of just under $12. I set the retail price at Amazon's minimum for this partcular book ($19.99 USD) and then submitted. The whole process took less than two hours. That was yesterday. 

                                          Today I received an email from Amazon - the book is now available for purchase. I signed on, found the book and ordered a few copies. They're scheduled to arrive Tuesday (2 days hence).

                                          So...self-publishing is NOT the hard part. Marketing and selling...that's where the rubber hits the road. That planning is now underway for my Pyrate Series novels. I'd love to get the debut novel to market in time for Christmas purchases. Cross your fingers.

                                          0 0 0 0 0 0
                                          • Thanks Janet. I'll check that out. I'm American (and Canadian) so I can probably handle the accent. 😁 

                                            0 0 0 0 0 0
                                            • Hi Reidr, Sorry! I should have checked on your nationality. I'm American too, but there are Brits on JT who cannot handle the accent, and they seem to have scared me. 😳 

                                              0 0 0 0 0 0
                                              • No problem. I'm in California. Accents are pretty blah here. Where are you?

                                                0 0 0 0 0 0
                                              • I have some suggestions related to the comments above and will get to them over a few days (I'm as busy as a one legged man in a bum kicking contest launching 3 books in December). There's so much above with which I struggled to agree. On the layout side, take yourselves to Draft2Digital (https://draft2digital.com/), register, fill in the book details, load up any cover file you have, and your MS, then wait while it formats your novel. You will then be shown a standard layout which you can read as if on a phone. If you're happy with that, then select which genre your book is and D2D will give prettied up samples of the whole book. Mine is paranormal/fantasy and rather than pay heaps, I settled on their design. Then I exported an ePub file, PDF, and mobi file to my computer and the ePub I loaded up to Amazon. That cost no money but remember not to push the publish button. Just keep changing things until you find the best available. The style change in front of your eyes as soon as you push the button. I settled on the sample attached, but there's many to choose from. They won't light up graphic designers, but for the average reader you'll find a style that's okay. AND IT"S FREE! They do the contents page, which makes that easy, and the upload to Amazon was no more than a button push and it was accepted.image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=601&dpx=1&t=1634527691

                                                With the covers, the prices for which above I found staggering, there are many options. Many schools have graphic design courses. Speak to the person in charge, offer some money = maybe 50 pounds, and run a competition with the students. You'll find a good design and the winner will provide you with finished art as they learn on programs like, Gimp and others which are designed for the job. Go to Fiverr, look around at the work offered, its's cheap and you may find a good person there. I do my own basic designs on Powerpoint and send them off to be improved and finished, = much cheaper. More later.

                                                0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                • Thanks Robert. I'll defintely check out draft2digital.com

                                                  With respect to the cover art, I had a few false starts with book-cover artists. Then along came someone from my target audience (Pirate Groups on Facebook) who volunteered a mock-up of the first novel. It looked terrific. The guy's a professional and knows the pirate community inside out. So we worked out a deal. It may sound expensive at $1,000/book but, honestly, that's about the going rate for experienced people. The importance of a good cover can't be understated. I wanted something to grab would-be readers and pull them inside. No regrets.

                                                  0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                  • Thanks. Maybe you're a pirate at heart. 😀 

                                                    0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                    • JEEZ! How goods that?  If you had the illustrations drawn then you got value for money. When I spoke about expensive, I didn't include illustrative work. It's wonderful, Reidr. You'll some books based on the cover alone.

                                                      0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                      • This cover makes me want to read your book. Well invested money! 🙂

                                                        0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                      • Fabulous cover Reidr! It's so attention-grabbing.

                                                        0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                        • Credit for the book cover design goes to Roger C. Ambrose at RCA Designs (rcadesigns@earthlink.net). He was passionate about the project, extremely easy to work with, flexible and fast.

                                                          0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                          • As a total newbie who has not gone this route yet, may I shyly suggest there is also FREE software out there that will convert your Word file to several formats (EPub; Mobi etc.). I have downloaded one and tested it, and I was quite happy with the results...

                                                            This has been such an interesting thread, I've been making notes! I'm also on sooo many newsletter lists since I've been trying to learn and grow my writing... Anyway, I THINK it was a ProWritingAid newsletter that recently sent out a link to a FREE PDF book (like 37 pages long) by Nick Stephenson that walks one through creating a mail list, and reader magnets - he uses what he calls FUNNEL BOOKS, a free book (or something) you get when you sign up for the newsletter, and how to market this way.

                                                            He's apparently a best selling author (I don't read his genre, so can't say how good he is), and made over 7 figures last year using his techniques...

                                                            It's extremely detailed, and step-by-step. OT, had to laugh, as I just saw another email from him come into my inbox... If anyone wants the link to the book, drop me an email (jo @fyidev.com  - remove the space), and I'll dig it up and forward it.

                                                            So much to think about and decide... so few hours in the day!

                                                            0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                            • OK, so after I waded all the way through the helpful info in this thread, I still thought there might be other options for cover art... I've seen quite a bit lately that I loved, but also thought  was mostly computer generated... so I did a test to see how hard it would be to do.

                                                              It helped that I had a cover idea in my mind for a story I'm writing... so here's what I did:

                                                              1. I found a free photo website, with a beautiful starry night sky photo. I didn't want the whole thing, so I cropped the piece I wanted, then used the OIL PAINT option in my PAINT program to reduce the stars and smooth it out... oh, I also flipped it upside down, as I wanted the darker sky at the bottom for a backdrop for my name.

                                                              2. I found a model photo of a teenager who had the expression I wanted on his face, so again, I oil painted him (by computer), then made him younger by widening and shortening his face.

                                                              3. I also way enlarged and recolored his eyes, as my "alien" has slightly larger than normal deep deep blue eyes. So basically, all that remains of the original boy is a similar (not exact) nose and mouth...

                                                              4. I found an adult hair model I liked as well, and borrowed his curls, 😄 , which I darkened, and gave blue highlights (which you can't really see on this size photo) ... I also had to reshape the hair to fit over the boy's face (using layering, so I could crop away what I didn't want... and I added a few extra curls.... so again, inspired by, not a copy of... the original.

                                                              5. Oh, I almost forgot... this is set medieval, so I pulled the collar from a historical wardrobe shot, and added my new face to new clothes...

                                                              The result is a totally new young boy's face, which DN look like any of the models I used to create it. I did a bit more shading (shadows on his forehead, under his chin) and smoothing here and there, added more curls etc.

                                                              5. ASSEMBLING THE COVER... More layering, night sky in the back, boy in the middle, final layer to add lettering for title and name... merged each layer down as I was happy with it.

                                                              Anyway, the finished result is this:

                                                              image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=611&dpx=1&t=1635376395

                                                              Which is exactly what I wanted, and only cost me an evening of my time ... what do you think? I actually love the backlit look his hair has... as if the stars are shining behind him...

                                                              I think its probably wider than an actual book cover right now, but I left extra on each side so I could size it once I knew the dimensions I needed...

                                                              0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                              • Well done!

                                                                0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                              • Jo, I suggest you send your example cover to here, https://covercritics.com/

                                                                They are a group of graphic designers specializing in book covers. I've used them extensively in the past. It is free, and quite often they take your idea and make a sample cover for you. Their comments hit hard, but I learned a lot there.


                                                                0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                • What a brilliant site. I wish I'd heard of that before. It's great. Thanks.

                                                                  0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                • True. They helped me. One of the covers a member knocked up was great. I used it and didn't need to pay, though I offered.

                                                                  0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                  • OK. I'm in IngramSpark. Intial experience...some little problems. First example: when converting a MS Word doc to pdf, it says NOT to use the "shortcut" button in the toolbar. Instead, use the "print menu". Fine.I can do that. Then it gives you a link to download their "walkthrough pdf". Great, except the link takes you to Neverland, where there's no access to the pdf they're talking about.

                                                                    0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                    • Interesting. I am planning to use IngramSpark but I was told it is much easier if you go through Vellum on the formatting process. However, I have been in contact with their support department over various questions from my cover designer and they were vvv helpful and quick, so it might be worth contacting them with your problem and they can talk you through.

                                                                      0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                      • Thanks. I'm working through it.

                                                                        0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                      • More real-time, self-publishing experiece...I purchased my ISBNs and Barcodes. Bought a package of 10 & 5 ($395 US) since I have 3 manuscripts written and another in the works. (You need a separate ISBN for each version of your book...eBook, paperback and hard cover.) During the process, they gave me an option of putting the retail price on the barcode for my debut novel, Pyrate Rising. I gave it some thought and then chose to set a specific price.

                                                                        Separately, there's an option to purchase BISACs, which help retailers slot your book on their shelves. Looks like it's a pricey annual subscription. I'll have to give that more thought.

                                                                        Lots of learning going on here.

                                                                        0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                        • I'm with you there. I've now been trying to upload both to KDP and IngramSpark and it really is a hoo haa. Luckily my designer is extremely nice and relaxed because I've been back and forth with her. The only thing that worked straight away was Ingram's hardback. All the rest including KDP were rejected... like you I'm working through it. Actually, it is quite fun and, as you said, steep learning curve.

                                                                          0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                        • Has anyone used Book Funnel? Any thoughts?

                                                                          0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                          • IngramSpark is good but I've noticed a couple of glitches along the way. A few thoughts:

                                                                            1. For print versions, I highly recommend formatting the book on your own first and then uploading it in pdf format. 

                                                                            2. I keep entering and saving the "Full Description", but when I log back in, it's never there. I recommend saving a copy of what you enter there, so you don't have to recreate from scratch.

                                                                            3. I tried uploading my cover image as a pdf. Got an error message that it didn't upload because it can't exceed 10 MB. The file is under 9 MB. Go figure. I'll try uploading a jpeg file instead.

                                                                            0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                            • I found Vellum formatting worked well for the interior.

                                                                              2... I was OK there

                                                                              3. My PDF worked but I had to resize. They are checking it now and I'll let you know.

                                                                              Overall IngramSpark is more complicated than Amazon so I hope it is worth it!

                                                                              0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                            • Agreed, IngramSpark is more complicated. Still, I think the benefits will outweigh the complications. We'll see.


                                                                              0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                              • I hope you got sorted with IngramSpark. I did and once I realized my mistake it was plain sailing and through in a day. No extra costs for my mistakes, which was good. They have offered an advert in their magazine for $85. I’ve taken it and we’ll see. Life is learning! 😂🍾

                                                                                0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                • Good for you, Georgina. I managed to resolve the "Full Description" and cover image issues. I'm now at the Upload stage. I've already uploaded the interior text as pdf for the print version and ePub for the eBook. For some reason, it won't let me "Continue". I'm confused, so I messaged them for help.

                                                                                  0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                • I finally pushed through the self-publishing maze, with the help of IngramSpark, my cover artist and my author-friend, Robert Pearce. My debut novel in the Pyrate Series, 'Pyrate Rising', is set to release late this month, both paperback and eBook. I learned a lot in the process. I also established my own publishing company, Pyrate Publishing. I'm holding back novels 2 and 3 until I see how things go. If I learn anything, I want to take advantage of it for 'Pyrate Assassin' and 'Pyrate Crossover'. I've taken a leap into promos, and I purchased IngramSpark's $150 advertising offer. Other advertising will be folded in a little later, so that I can better assess its impact. My website is a little delayed, unfortunately (contractor issues). 

                                                                                  I haven’t set a sales target (units) because I never started down this road with the intent of making money. I just wanted to have a little fun and leave a bit of a legacy for my grandson. But I’d sure like to cover my costs. Since I’ll only make ~$2/book, I’ll need to sell quite a few.


                                                                                  0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                  • Congratulations. It is a maze, isn't it? I took the plunge a couple of months ago, and I'm still trying to get my head around marketing and promotions. It's not easy. I'd like to hear how the Ingram Spark advertising goes. I didn't go with that when I launched, and maybe I should. Choices, choices!

                                                                                    0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                    • Would be interested to see how it goes. I have three books self published. I know I need to do more with typo corrections throughout the manuscripts and general tidy up, (mulling over a service Jericho offer on this). The whole process is somewhat costly. I have sold a very modest number of books, just under 100, counting physical copies and Kindle pages read. Currently about 2k out of pocket. As for marketing, it has been a total mystery to me, so I would be keen to understand your experience with IngramSpark. I used Amazon advertising and have had mixed success. the targeting of Ads is a challenge.  

                                                                                      0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                      • The IS advertising was a spur-of-the-moment decision. I figured the cover art was good enough to draw some attention from bookstores. So why not give it a shot? Otherwise, my chances of showing up in bookstores are pretty much zero. I need to sell at least 300 books through bookstores in order to cover the advertising cost.

                                                                                        As for promos, I'm reaching out to several pirate-themed Facebook groups as my main audience. I'm also going to try advertising on sailing-themed FB group pages. No guts, no glory.

                                                                                        0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                      • It's not like I have any answers. I'm mostly reaching out with my Facebook page (~350 friends) and LinkedIn (~1,200 former colleagues and associates), and my personal email list. I've seen mostly uninspiring reviews from people who've tried advertising. I'll be advertising only to highly targeted groups.

                                                                                        0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                        • Has anyone tried doing a short print run with a mainstream printer (e.g. Clays in the UK)? I read some negative feedback about the wholesale discount through IngramSpark and then wondered about other printers. Apparently if you set your wholesale discount at e.g. 55%, IS might only pass on 15% of that to a bookshop and IS keep the rest as profit for themselves. This can seriously discourage bookshops from purchasing stock, because they are used to 45-55% trade discount (and this is how they make their profit).

                                                                                          I haven't found a lot of information online, but I suspect that there might be the same or a similar issue with companies like Clays. I'm just wondering if there is any way to actually control the wholesale discount so that you can make it viable for bookshops? If not, I'm not convinced that it's worth having a hardback or paperbook, which would be very sad, because who doesn't want to see their book in print?!

                                                                                          0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                          • I've only tried IngramSpark. The 55% discount is a bummer. But I don't know how else to tap into the bookseller market, so I figured I'd give it a shot. If it doesn't pan out well, I may just publish exclusively on Amazon.com.

                                                                                            0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                            • I think you've done the right thing by giving it a try. It's the best way of finding out what works and what doesn't!

                                                                                              0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                            • I just checked Amazon.com this morning. My release date is end-of-month but 'Pyrate Rising' is already up on Amazon for pre-order. Cool. Didn't expect that. Good thing I was already working on some promotional material. I'm actively pushing out the promos now.

                                                                                              0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                              • Great thread this. Seriously looking at self publishing route myself after a dance with an agent and publishers since January with my debut novel, but nothing concrete happening. 

                                                                                                The trad pub world moves too slow. Frustrating for this former digital journalist used to pulling together a story and throwing it out to the world in often less than an hour.

                                                                                                0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                                • I really had no choice regarding self-publishing. My novel fits a pretty narrow niche (pirate fans). I toyed with finding an agent but quickly realized it was like finding a needle in a haystack...and even then, no guarantee that it would get published. But after being named a Page Turner Awards Finalist, I knew I needed to capitalize right away on the recognition. So I went for it. Glad I did. It's out there in the world so quickly. We'll see what happens. I don't expect to make any money on this one. But I'm over the biggest hurdle...I'm published.

                                                                                                  0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                                • Following with interest. I'm out on submission, but if it doesn't pan out, I'm not going to put a good story away in the draw forever. There's something about the final step of the creative process: releasing work to the world, and it seems stagnant not to fulfil the promise of the premise.

                                                                                                  0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                                  • I agree. Even if only a few read my book it will be wonderful.

                                                                                                    0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                                    • Exactly!

                                                                                                      0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                                    • Iren, I'm on submission myself. Piled up an awful lot of rejections from publishers since Feb. For now, an editor in one major publisher is currently reading my debut novel. Might be my last bite. So it's looking like self pubbing for me. And I'm excited about it.


                                                                                                      0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                                      • My cover artist is a part-time Santa. So I had him prep this promo for me. Kind of fun.

                                                                                                        image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=647&dpx=1&t=1637855843

                                                                                                        0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                                        • 😂🤪 love it

                                                                                                          0 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                                        Not logged in users can't 'Comments Post'.
                                                                                                        •  · 9 friends
                                                                                                        29
                                                                                                        11
                                                                                                        1
                                                                                                        1
                                                                                                        1