It’s been a long while coming but I’ve published the first in my series of short thrillers, “Dead End” with “Lock the Door” up for pre-order! You can find them on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. **Help a lady out, leave an honest review**
*Self*published. No querying, no waiting, no stock-letter rejections.
Yep, I’m a rebel.
Actually, I’m just impatient. I have an incredible amount of respect for authors who query agents to then query publishers–I don’t wanna. I barely find the time to do the enjoyable bit–the writing–while having two kids and a husband.
I am of the firm belief that some of the most talented and powerful writers of our generation may have slammed their laptops closed forever because a rich old man with one eye on social media trends and the other eye on his own bank account told them “not for me.”
I’m not saying I’m one of those writers. After all, I haven’t quit because I’m so misunderstood. And I do have a thick skin, it’s not rejection worrying me. It’s time. I sent a grand total of one query, two years ago, and waited four months to receive the stock-letter rejection. (It wasn’t the manuscript for Clown Conspiracy, so don’t worry). And I thought, “Why?”
Traditional publishers are facing pressure from online sellers to lower their prices, and we all know where shit rolls. Publishers spend their time and money chasing celebrity authors and have less and less time for new authors.
Enter self-publishing, though I prefer “independent author” because it denotes a different focus. The goal isn’t just to have a book to hold in my hands–“Dead End” is an eBook, after all–it’s to acknowledge that I’m an author, a writer, and though all you have to do to be a writer is to write, I also want other people to read it, without making a trends-driven publishing house rich in the process.
On to the self-publishing tips.
*Disclaimer: I’m totally freaking new to this. In a year, I’ll share marketing tips. For now, here’s a “how-to”.
If you want sound advice, I started by reading Joanna Penn’s Successful Self-Publishing. Concise, useful.
So I have a manuscript, how do I eBookify it?
Not only does Reedsy provide a free conversion of your document to a mobi (Amazon) and ePub (everyone else), they also have a host of easy ways to connect to editors, cover artists, and everything you need to transform your book into reality.
The interface is simple and straightforward, and the process is quick. It has an easy check-the-box system to help you nail down the copyrights, for which I am grateful.
How do I get to the author-y publish-y pages?
This took me a minute, as I just went to the pages and searched through all the bottom stuff hoping to see a “Publish” and didn’t.
Things to have ready:
- Your book cover in proper resolutions (each site has a different one, but my artist made me both a .png and .jpeg copy, some in 1000×1600 px and some in 1600 px width).
- Your manuscript in ePub or mobi,
- Your tax ID number if you’re a U.S. citizen, or your SSN,
- Your bank account number and routing number.
Trust me. You need all four before even starting.
For Amazon, you go to https://kdp.amazon.com.
For Barnes & Noble, you go to https://press.barnesandnoble.com/how-it-works
For Kobo, you go to https://www.kobo.com/us/en/p/writinglife
I chose these three because I wanted to do five, but Apple iBooks rejected my plebeian Chromebook and Android devices, presumably so I wouldn’t get my dirty peasant germs on its interface, and Tolino is an unconquered animal so far. Basically, I am choosing to diversify. It may be faster money to do Kindle Direct Publishing but I think exclusivity alienates the 60% of the eBook market that doesn’t belong to Amazon. I’m playing the long game, here.
There is wisdom I’ve learned from the Costco: give away a free taste, and gain quick fans.
Seriously, it’s how I discovered Pomegranate juice.
Clown Conspiracy is a thriller short story series, and the first one, “Dead End“, is free. The next three are each $0.99.
I know, big mega bucks. Don’t worry, there’s a strategy to basically giving away my many months of hard work (not to mention the $10 for six hours a week I paid my babysitter).
While I haven’t looked into the algorithms and marketing support of Kobo and Barnes & Noble, I’ve read a great deal on the way Amazon works.
You make money, Amazon makes money. They want you to make money–to a point. If you’re a blackhole, they drop you.
Here are the rules: the first 30 days after your book is released, Amazon favors you in its algorithms. 30 days later, you’re still kind of favored (unless you’ve sold squat), and 30 days after that you are still on their radar. No sales before 90 days, you disappear into the blackness of Amazon never-reads.
They’re called the 30-day shelf, 60-day shelf, and 90-day shelf.
So, “Dead End” is released May 21, 2019. 27 days later…
“Lock the Door” is released on June 17, 2019. 28 days later…
“The Back Pew” is released on July 15, 2019.
You see the pattern. All within the first 30 days of its previous release. This means each consecutive book should be promoted more than the last, with the power of the series engaging buyers of the later books to go back and buy the earlier ones.
Amazon will think I’m a winner. I’m tricksy.
Another thing Amazon takes into account, though not as highly as sales, of course, is how many titles you have out. Seven is essentially a minimum that authors earning decent money have on Amazon (decent money, not a lot of money…)
Here’s the ultimate goal:
Short, fun thriller series brings fans in, creating a following and boosting my author rank on Amazon. I release 1, 2, 3, 4, then a compilation as 5, and BOOM. The sixth title I release, within the 30-60 day shelf of the compilation, is my novel. The one I’ve been working so hard on. The one that has the potential to really become a bestseller (potential…)
What do you think? A well-laid plan.
Ask me in a year how it blew up in my face.