ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Self-publishing continued...Your responses to my post. What works. What doesn't...and the cost of self-publishing.

Recently, I posted about my blog focus for the year. Posting more about Australia was hailed as good stuff by many. 

So, these are my conclusions about blogging in 2017:

  • My posts will have more of an Aussie flavour, as when I started out in 2008 with my travel blog.
  • I'll do some travelogue-style posts. I've been asked for more info on Tasmania, so I might start there. Tasmania is interesting. I lived there for nearly 2 years, so I'll be talking about a state where I have personal knowledge. Well, actually, I've travelled every state and territory of Australia, so I will be sharing first-hand experience.
But this week it's different. For the IWSG, I posted about self-publishing. The comments were interesting, and I am sharing some here hoping they might help someone. I'm not going to link them all, that takes too long, but here is the link to the post so you can see the links yourself. They're in chronological order except for the final one...

F Scott Fitzgerald, a self-published author
  • 'You've had some of your work on Wattpad. What's your take on that? - D.G. Hudson
    • I'm no expert on Wattpad. It has worked for some writers who publish their chapter/s and seek feedback. I'm not prioritising it at the moment, and I've heard there's some hacking of authors' work, but I don't really know if that's true. And an acquaintance found 75,000 readers for her romance, but still can't get a publisher interested, so what's that about?
  • 'Self-publishing is a "Learn As You Grow" path. It is simply a marketplace that is too over-crowded to stand out unless you are a Name. Persistence and Evolving are the only things that will see us through. The more books you self-publish, the bigger your backlist will be should you ever gain fans. That thought is what keeps me going.' Roland Yeomans.
    • I'd be more comforted if I knew Roland was happy with his sales, having published over 20 books. I'm the tortoise, Roland. You're the hare. 
  • Raimey Gallant has a template for marketing your book (keeping track of street teams and everything else) on her blog today for IWSG. And BadRedHeadMedia has a lot of info on building your author brand (for that all-important name recognition). Ronel Janse Van Vuuren
    • Very interesting. Check it out.
  • 'How about doing an additional recipe collection relating to each of your books - Tuscan, Parisian ... then you could add to that ... French, Italian etc refer to the place/ happening in the book ... ?'  Hilary Melton-Butcher.
    • I love this idea. Do you?
  • 'Self-publishing demands all your time and energy when you decide to go that route.' - Pat Garcia
  • 'I have a whole book of ideas and there are so many more new ones available now. Ask yourself - who is your target reader? Where do those people hang out? Now, find a way to put yourself in front of them, via a book club, a conference, articles for websites and blogs, fan sites, etc.' L Diane Wolfe
  • '...we stay with Amazon and KU and KDP etc. because that's where pretty much *all* my sales come from.' - Pepper Words
    • I've read that 75% of all books are sold via Amazon and I haven't bothered formatting for the rest, but am looking into Draft2Digital who do all that for you in exchange for 15% of your royalties -- oh, goody, just heard on the weekend that an actual Amazon office is coming to Australia. I wonder what that's all about? If it leads to lower prices (you wouldn't believe how much extra we have to pay compared to our US friends!), I'm happy.
  • 'As you know Denise, marketing comes easy for me. I help authors market their books. And I also upload for other authors, so I do know some authors are making good money from self publishing.' - Nas Dean
    • Yes, Nas and others like Mason Canyon provide an editing/marketing service. Let me know if you do! I think the cost runs over $300, but I'm open to correction. You can't always book these services as they're very busy. Not many self-pubbed authors can afford these services. But it definitely widens the scope if you hate self-promotion.
  • 'A lot of those statements you made can also be applied to traditional publishing too. Which, if I'm honest, is kinda depressing.' Lynda Young
    • Yep. I'd heard that traditional publishers don't help much with marketing. You have to convince them you have a marketing plan before they accept your manuscript. *chews thumb*
  • 'If you join Payoneer, they provide you with a US bank account that you can give Amazon, which makes royalties *SO* much easier. And I use it myself, so I know it works. Misha Gericke.
    • Whoops. Then I remembered I'd signed up for Payoneer and forgot why. Doh!!
  • 'I’m on the Writer Unboxed Twitter team and my duty is to scour the internet for information on promotion. I post links on both indie and traditional promotion under #WUPromo. This isn’t intended as a plug, but there’s a lot of good information there,' VR Barkowski
    • I love Writer Unboxed. Must check out this twitter feed. Sounds good.
  • 'It's not that I don't want to share publishing/marketing tips, it's that I haven't found anything that works. Nada. - Lexa Cain
    • That is SO DEPRESSING!!
  • 'While I have read many good works that were self-published, I'm disappointed by the number that are sloppy. People who rush the process and don't have their work properly edited. I'm slogging through one now.' Faraway Eyes.
    • This is also depressing. Many of the self-pubbed books on my Kindle I've read 6% and can't go on...I like to read really, really, good stories and aspire to write that way, too. Maybe I'll never get there, but it's a good goal.
  • 'I'll let you know how long it takes me to recoup the cost of editing, formatting, and design. Hmm...' - Yolanda Renee.
    • This is the thing. It's not 'free' to self-publish like some people think. If you do it right (pay experts for different kinds of editing - structural, copy editing and so on, then there's formatting and a professional cover at a minimum), you're looking at $3,000+. You might also hire someone to write your blurb, do illustrations etc. And then there's Print on Demand. Traditional publishing, if you can be so lucky to hook such an animal, helps defray these substantial costs.
Lisa Genova, who self-published Still Alice, then got picked up by traditional publishers.
I just finished reading her Love Anthony. Best read for some time.

So there it is, peeps! I've learned a few more things about self-publishing by throwing it open to discussion last week. I'm hoping more of you will respond to this post and the comments of various bloggers.

  • After reading this and/or my previous post, are you still planning on self-publishing?
See you next week!!

And if you think this post is helpful, please hit the social media buttons! Much appreciated! (I'm going to be posting about social media SOON!)

And here's another plug for Write...Edit...Publish. Please think about joining us. A new challenge comes out every second month. Check out the schedule at the top of my sidebar. There might be something that catches your imagination. You can sign up in my sidebar. Also, you can delete your link if you run out of time/inspiration.

THIS MONTH, FEBRUARY...Back of the Drawer (not your average Valentine's challenge). Tell us your interpretation in a poem, a flash fiction piece of 1000 words or less, a non-fiction piece detailing your personal experience or someone else's experience, write a script, draw your dreams, or post a photograph or a photo essay. The genre is up to you. The artistic choice is completely yours.










47 comments:

  1. I just learned a lot as well!
    I am glad my books are on all platforms. I prefer iTunes over all others although I will get a book from Amazon if it's not anywhere else.

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    1. I think iTunes is very popular, especially with young-uns. I know my kids download everything from there.

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  2. Learned a lot from reading others comments. I think the bottom line is that writing is like many artistic endeavors and is a labor of love. We do it for the love of what we do more than the financial reward.

    And where is everyone lately? Many blogs including mine feel a little quiet right now.

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    1. Hi Natalie! You're right about writing. Very few reap financial rewards. And in my blogroll, there's not many new posts. I think many are on FB ranting about Donald Trump. Which is not altogether a bad thing. :-)

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  3. Like Natalie wrote: being an author is a labor of love. If it hadn't been, I would have quit a long time ago. The way I am feeling at the moment with being scammed with my kindle and audio books, I still might. :-(

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    1. That scamming is so annoying Roland.

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  4. Sometimes I'm busy visiting a lot of blogs and I don't read the comments. There's so much information in comments. I have 19 books with the same publisher. Some have paid well and others not so much. But every quarter, I have sales on that first book from almost ten years ago and on every book since. I wish it was for thousands of books but it only has been a few times. The money is so small. But someday....
    I have the patience to self-publish. Too much work that is not writing work. I already do too much of that. And I'm sharing your blog content.

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    1. Thanks Susan. Nice to hear from a traditionally published author.

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  5. I self-published my Bengali shorts (print only), and trying to promote by remote control is actually even more of an awful bummer. Didn't lose money but didn't make any either :)

    Poetry would be even more of a challenge, probably induce catastrophic levels of stress. Have completed two volumes of it, but haven't submitted yet. Self-publishing poetry not for shrinking violet, thin-skinned, techno-clueless types like yours truly :D Have heard from others that formatting on Amazon is a pain for the line breaks and stanzas, that's not their default, which is normal - they aren't catering to poets. Definitely calls for traditional routes, but I'm not ready to wrap my head around the inevitable rejections from poetry publishers, who are, I am given to understand, even more picky than novel publishers. For now, submitting to local magazines and anthologies as and when I get the chance. And educating myself on the craft as best as I can.

    Mostly plan to hunker down and keep on keeping on till I reach that magic ten year limit and do a reset of attitudes and reevaluation of the whole thing. Writing is what I love doing, publishing - yikes!!

    Learnt a heap from both of your post and the comments - reassuring to know I am not alone. Sorry about the story of life length comment. Back to Back of the Drawer now :-)

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    1. Yes it's a shame we have to come up with ideas to sell our creations. That's a bummer.

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  6. Great post, Denise! So many good tips and suggestions. I like the recipe collection idea. I worry a lot about what Roland says -- I know I can't write fast enough and edit well enough to get such a huge catalogue of books out there, and then to keep publishing consistently. But I'd like to start, so that hopefully a decade or so down the line, I *will* have exactly that sort of catalogue!

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    1. You'll get there Deniz. You seem to have a lot of books on the go.

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  7. I just read both posts.
    I read very fast. If only I could translate that speed to writing...that would be fantastic!! But alas, I'm a snail in the writing department. *sigh*
    After reading this post and your previous post, am I still planning on self-publishing? No idea. Maybe. Maybe not. I'm confused.
    But I'm thinking that it would be a good idea to work on two (or three)books. Not necessarily a series. They could be stand-alones. Reason being, writers are always encouraged to get the next book out as soon as possible, after release of the first one. To me, it doesn't make sense to start from 'scratch' with book number two, especially since I've read loads about the "can-I-do-this-all-over-again" phase that creeps in after book number one.
    So that's the logical perspective. Lofty ideals too. Whether it will unfold in this manner...well, that's another story. LOL
    Informative post, Denise! Thank you.

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    1. Glad it gave you something to think on Michelle.

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  8. One marketing thing does work - reviews. Especially big reviews. A good review from Publishers Weekly or Library Journal gets the ball rolling in a big way.

    Three of our authors have tours with Mason, one in progress right now. The first one, Joylene's, did make a difference, especially in print sales.

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    1. I'm sure it makes a difference LDiane.

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  9. I knew most of that indeed as been doing it a while at my feed. But yeah, when one find something that really works, let me know lol

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  10. An insightful post. Thanks for that, Denise. I'm finding the journey very tough. The writing part is the easiest but as mentioned it's so important to make the book as good as it can be before putting it out into the world. Incidentally, I am paying more than 300dollars to get my manuscript edited. 500GBP to be exact - but worth every penny (or in my case euros). I have learned so much by going throught the editing process. Have a lovely week.

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    1. I do enjoy the editing process too Nicola.

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  11. I enjoyed reading the comments about self-publishing. There are pros and cons to any way a person publishes. For me, I prefer self-publishing because I enjoy having control over my product from start to finish as well as the marketing opportunities, such as pricing my book for ads and the like. My biggest expense is usually cover art as it's something I'm not skilled enough to do on my own.

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    1. Control seems to be a popular reason Cherie.

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  12. This is why I am content to just write and not worry about publishing. Of course it makes the likelihood of ever being published unlikely.
    Very interesting post.

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  13. I like Hilary's idea of providing recipes for the places you write about. Although I'm an editor, all I know is editing. I know nothing about formatting a book. I have written blurbs for some people, and I find it enjoyable. I think if writers are going to self-publish, it has to be because they're fulfilling a dream of seeing their work in print and not because they expect to sell millions or even thousands of books.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I think some authors would be happy selling hundreds of books Janie.

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  14. It is very daunting especially when you consider the vast ocean of competition. I think the most important thing self-publishers have to be is realistic. Similar to what Janie says, if my book connects with just one other person then I've achieved something. I'd rather keep self-publishing for now because you have to market whichever way you publish, and I'd like to stay in control.

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  15. It's not an easy road we've all chosen - but at least we can be crazy together! :)

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  16. Hi Denise - thanks for posting these up ... and curating your thoughts. Diane has added more via her comment here. Lots of ideas and thoughts ... definitely sounds as though one needs some help to get out there ... but we can all still do it ... cheers to everyone and good luck with our works ... Hilary

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    1. I'm glad I posted this. I've learned much more.

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  17. I personally like the freedom self-publishing gives me. So yes, I'll continue to be an indie author. The majority of my costs come from editing. I'm trying to find a part-time job that can help me with the cash-flow problem. Funny enough, most of my sales came from Draft2Digital distribution and not Amazon. For some strange reason I don't sell on Amazon at all, and I'll be looking at that this year. Also, I need to add more works to my name. Thank you for your honesty, Denise. I agree, self-publishing is not free, if done properly.

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    1. Hi Murees. I'm working on getting my ebook out through Draft2Digital. A successful author friend swears by them for ebooks but not print. Print she uses Ingram Spark.

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  18. Still trudging ahead with The Snowman, a novelette, and the costs are soring. Still, I plan to write another novelette. Motive for Murder, Book 4 may just be perfect for that, but book 5, Murder, Just Because is writing itself! It's the character, Stowy Jenkins, he just won't shut up! LOL
    Great information, thanks for sharing.
    I just finished the MasterClass with James Patterson - funny, I found the same problems there, among the class members. Not with JP - he's beyond these petty issues. Dream on, right!

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    1. Hope you enjoyed the masterclass. Get chosen to co-write a JP novel? I'm hearing you about the costs.

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  19. I hope to learn more about self-publishing in the future. I only took a baby step into it with my short, short story. The cost for editing and formatting was under $60. And having it perma-free is a great marketing tool itself.

    I like the idea of a recipe collection. I would love more recipes from other countries. Especially Parisian recipes. YUM!!!

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  20. I think one can publish for very close to free, but it takes a huge learning curve to learn all the skills you would have outsourced.

    That said, I'm using the editing, proofreading, formatting and cover design skills I've had to learn for myself to actually MAKE money that I can spend on publishing and marketing, so I find it's worth it if you can make the time.

    I should also say that my way of defraying costs isn't a slacker's way. Because I know I'm not hiring an editor, for example, I'm about four times worse on myself to make sure I seek and destroy every single error in my books.

    It makes me miss the editor, not for doing a better job, but because they were the people who pried the manuscript from my grabby hands and told me when good was good enough.

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    1. That's fine doing without an editor but judging by most of the self published books I read, or try to read, a good editor would have made a difference. I think we need other eyes over our story. We don't always see our mistakes.

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  21. That's a lot of info. The writing community never fails to help out.

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    1. Yes, Sheena-kay. I'm taking some of it on board!

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  22. I'd love to hear more about Tasmania. And making a collection of recipes related to the settings of the books is an interesting idea.

    I'm checking out the Back of the Drawer February 2017 Challenge!

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    1. Hope you enjoy some Back of the Drawer stories.

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  23. Tassie!!!!! A great place to visit. Not so awesome to live there if you are a city chick like me.

    Great comments on self-publishing. I would still self-publish, but not for everything. I'd go the hybrid way.

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  24. I'm up to my eyebrows in edits on an Anthology submission, so I've been a lazy blogger. I came around today to see if your WEP Entry was up early (thought I might get a jump on things). So glad I did and caught this post. It was very interesting and informative.

    A few thoughts.

    First of all - a Writers group I belong to on Facebook claims WATTPAD is terrible. There are authors there who claim they have actually had work stolen. I haven't done any investigating, but if you take their word for it, I would advise everyone to be careful.

    Second - a serious pitfall of self-publishing, especially if you try to cut corners and don't pay for a good editor and run the course of Bettas, is that you risk selling a really good story line short. The one I just finished up as part of the Writers Group Book Club, was just that...a great story line, with pretty well developed characters. The writing wasn't horrible, but really could have used some serious editing. In the group we are asked to read it and write a critique and a review. I sent the guy my critique privately (it was three pages long) and I'm struggling to write a review that is as positive as possible without lying. It's my opinion that he wasted a terrific story by jumping the gun with self-publishing and not spending the $$$ and taking the time.

    Difficult to know what to do. You spend the $$$ to make it the best it could possible be, and have no way to recoup, or at least not for years. It almost seems to be a losing battle unless you have a big enough platform and people lining up to read your work.

    I love that idea of recipes along with your travelogue. I'll have to make a point to stop by more often.

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  25. I think I just dreamed I commented on this post. Hrm... I read this. I know I did, thought I commented, but it was still in my reader. The winter must be getting to me.

    I really enjoyed the comment hightlights.

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  26. Your blog focus for 2017 sounds great! Very interesting for sure. I have always wanted to visit Australia. :)

    Thanks for sharing more about self-publishing. It is tough to know that both traditional and self publishing involve not only a lot of work, but a lot of our own money (marketing and time). Luckily, I didn't start writing to become rich (but making money would certainly be nice). Great to hear from so many people through the highlights. :)
    ~Jess

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