Saturday, July 02, 2011

Independent Publishing and My New Venture

In the past few months, authors have begun to discover that independent publishing, i.e. self-publishing, is a potentially viable choice, especially for authors who have already established themselves through the bigger publishing houses. There were some newbies, such as a Amanda Hocking, who managed to self-publish as a nobody and become a somebody through her efforts, but there are thousands and thousands more who have had only minor luck with their sales. Goodness knows, we writers have always been very wary of the various vanity publishers who end up taking your money and giving you very little in return.

But with the advent of Smashwords, Pubit and Kindle Digital Publishing, authors are discovering that they can put their original stories and novels online in ebook form and sell quite well, earning double or triple the royalties that they would earn from an established publishing company. The talented—and brave—Courtney Milan has had her self-published novella, Unlocked, make the NY Times bestseller list.

Now, there are definitely caveats. It's rare to get great sales right out of the box. And the more books you make available at one time, the better the results. Finally, the work itself has to be professionally written, edited and formatted for you to get the kind of word-of-mouth buzz you need to sell more. It also helps to be an already established author with a following.

I also think that you should at least try to publish with an established company, because Print on Demand (POD) is currently nowhere near as efficient and cost-effective a way to publish print books as the established publisher can offer. There's still the prestige of publishing with a big publisher, too, and the benefits of being part of RWA and other organizations that don't offer membership to self-published authors.

I'm going to continue writing for my publisher. I may well try to write larger books for another publisher as well. But that doesn't mean the perfectly good books I had languishing on my hard drive didn't deserve to see the light of day. They weren't picked up by my current publishing house, not because they weren't good books but because they contained elements that wouldn't work for the line I write for. That didn't mean there weren't readers who might want to read those books, however.

So middle of last month, I put the Code Name: WILLOW on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. No promotion at all. And in 13 days, I sold as many ebooks of Code Name: WILLOW as I sold of most of my Intrigue ebooks, and more than many.

Near the end of the month, I uploaded Playing Dead in Dixie to those publishers and, while sales have been slower to pick up, I've begun selling that book as well.

Just because they're ebooks, don't let that stop you from taking a look! You can download either Adobe Digital Editions or Kindle for PC (or Mac) to your computer and read on your computer. You can download on Iphone, Kindle, Nook or Kobo. On Smashwords, you can download one of a number of different formats.

If you're interested, please visit my website and take a look at the pages for these two new books. If you make a purchase, do me a favor—leave a review or a rating for the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Smashwords, Borders, Books-a-Million or anywhere you have an account. If you blog, maybe think about giving me a short review. Or post about it on Twitter or Facebook.

Word of mouth is the best way to sell these books, and I can use all the help I can get from people who like my books. So thanks in advance!


Kyla said...

I'm a writer myself, but I've never been published. Most of my work was written in the last ten years and I'm just now in my I didn't think it was ready for publishing. The book I'm working on now, though, I plan to pursue publishing for. I think it has some real potential.

To be honest, I was already bending towards the traditional publishing venue, at least until I knew what the heck I was doing. Jumping in to do all the work myself, right out of the gate, I don't think would work out well.

Anyway, I'm so glad I found your site! Thanks so much for sharing all that great info! Have a great day, and I hope your work sells like hot-cakes.

Unknown said...

enjoyed the chat last night

sorry my computer was acting up, could not respond after a bit, but caught most of what you shared

I would like more information about your "spreadsheet" technique


Paula said...

d'ladybug, I just posted a new blog post outlining my spreadsheet method. I even put a link to a downloadable Excel spreadsheet you can use if you like the method.