4 Things You Don’t Know About Self Publishing Until You Do It

Thinking about embarking on self publishing a book on your own? Not sure what the experience is going to be like? This week I feature three of my hybrid authors who have self published projects or series.

There are a lot of factors to consider–How much you can do yourself vs. what you can hire someone to do? How do you get recognized? Will my genre be successful in the self publishing market?

Read on to get the inside scoop on writers making self publishing work for me.

From Rebecca Phillips, author of JUST YOU series

It surprised me how random an author’s success can be. You could spend a lot of time and money on promotion and only sell a handful of books. On the other hand, you could get really lucky and have a break-out hit without much promotion at all. It’s a big mystery.

From Kim Cano, author of ON THE INSIDE and more

Prior to self-publishing, I read every post on a popular self-publishing blog and decided to go for it. I knew there would be a lot of work involved, from writing a great story to finding/hiring an editor to marketing, but I was excited to start my career and saw it as a challenge.

Later on, I discovered most successful Indie authors were in the romance, thriller, and science fiction genre, and that only one, Darcie Chan, had a breakout hit in women’s literary fiction. Undeterred, I continued writing books I’d like to read and had some success along the way, with my first two women’s fiction novels hitting Amazon’s Top 100 several times. That said, it’s still tough to compete against big books in my genre with a limited marketing budget, but I continue to try.

From Caitlin Rantala, author of INDUSTRY DARLING

If someone thinks self-publishing is for them, I’d first say you should get involved in the writing community long before they publish their novel. Make friends! Read all the books! Join a writers blog! Create your own blog! It takes a village to publish a novel, even if you’re self-pubbing. So don’t be shy. Favorite people’s tweets, talk to them! Not only will you start to network, you’ll also meet some incredible people and incredible talent.

Second, you are your biggest advocate and you can’t be afraid to speak up and ask for things. Over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of growing up in the writing community. Readers, authors and bloggers are some of my absolute favorite people and over the years I’ve watched this community be supportive, encouraging and uplifting of its own. And when INDUSTRY DARLING was published, I experienced this first hand–the trick with self-publishing though, is you have to speak up, you have to seek out opportunity. A month or so before my book was published, I shot out a few DM Twitter messages to a few author friends, asking if they would want to read an ARC of INDUSTRY DARLING and blurb it. Almost everyone I asked said they’d make the time and wanted to read it. 

Sometimes I’m told ‘no,’ but more often than not, I’m given the green light. The main thing I’ve learned in self-publishing is if you don’t care, no one else is going to care. It’s certainly time consuming, but if you believe in your work, it’s absolutely worth it.  

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13 thoughts on “4 Things You Don’t Know About Self Publishing Until You Do It

  1. Although I would love to publish through the traditional channels, I am not sure that is possible. I am considering my options so I found this post about self publishing most useful. I get the sense that marketing is the most overwhelming task when publishing, regardless of the route taken, it is the author’s responsible to market their book. With this in mind I have started working on my marketing plan.

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  2. I self published an ebook and a trade paperback that, combined, sold about 1200 copies. For an unknown author I felt gratified; however, it’s a real beast out there. It’s like you’re a tiny fern reaching for sunlight in the Redwood Forest. Great post.

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  3. So glad I found this post. Well-done! I have chosen the Indie route, and I love it. That said, I work full time in this business – writing, teaching creative writing classes, talking to book groups about my books (another great way to promote) and I sure don’t make a lot of money. But, I’m happy, I write what I like to read, and I believe in myself. Promoting myself is the hard part, but it’s part of the writing business now, and it’s worth the tears, sweat, and deep deep joy.

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