My First Three Weeks of Self-Publishing 10


My
self-publishing voyage began in October, that’s when I made the decision to pay
Trent Evans to help me with publishing
my book.  I chose to go with the full
package of services he offers for self-publishing assistance.  It’s a huge step to take, with many unknown
variables. However, if you have to take the leap, this was the best situation
to ask for. I was familiar with Trent, since he had been my beta with The
Little Princess Cruise
. As a friend and mentor, he was able to allay my
fears and help me navigate the dark, murky waters of self-publishing.
Editing: Content editing was done first, followed by line and copy editing (I’ll be including a link to each service provided so that
you can see what Trent includes under each of these services. I will be
including at the end of this post a link to his page for services and prices
per word.)
In addition to editing, I had beta reading and proofreading. This part of the process was not difficult for me. Trent
had done most of these with my previous book, and I was very confident
of his skill and intellect in this area. He’s very knowledgeable and truly a
wonderful teacher, giving examples for most corrections. He’s an encouraging
cheerleader and painstakingly takes all the time necessary until he is
sure that you understand the suggestions and revisions completely.

Trent Evan’s Self-Publishing Boot Camp

Cover Assistance:  
Trent then assisted me with choosing my cover, which  included giving me
names of people he had used previously for his books. He had me go to these
websites and peruse pages and pages of covers.  I was then instructed to
choose the company that had the book covers that matched the covers I liked
best.  For me that ended up being No Sweat Graphics with Rachel Olson.  
For two weeks before this step, he
had asked me to look at books, and their covers, keeping track of the ones I
really liked.  I was instructed that they should be book covers that I
thought were similar to what I wanted for Finding Submission. 
When Rachel sent pictures to
approve, Trent did not give an opinion at all, except to say “Does that
reflect what you see in your book?” or “Do you feel this speaks to
the genre of your book?” There were times where I just wanted him to give
an opinion or just have him decide.  He wouldn’t do it.  He’d
say, “Yes, I’ll help you if you really need me to, but this needs to be
your decision.” The Dom in him is very good at pushing you to grow whether
you want to or not!! When I found my cover, it was so exciting. And I have to
admit that it was even sweeter because I knew I had decided on my own.  It
was at that point that he said it was a great cover, and I believe something
along the lines of “God, that woman has a GREAT ass!” 
The Product Description
(AKA “The Blurb
”): Thankfully, Trent is very good at this. I think it took us
four tries to get the perfect blurb. We did it while I was at lunch in the
cafeteria at work — emailing back and forth and texting. Overall, it was
pretty painless. However, I know his page states he highly recommends
writers learn to write their own product descriptions.” 

 I foresee an
uncomfortable exercise in blurb writing in my future. ::::::head desk::::::::
E-Book Formatting: I have not a clue about this part of the process. Trent did
this alone and left me out of it, and I’m pretty happy about that (smiley
face).

Retailer Uploading Assistance:  This
was a very stressful exercise–only because I was totally out of my
element.  It had nothing to do with Trent or any lack of support.  He
is very calm and a wonderful teacher. He never gets frustrated or upset. Any
struggle was my own and totally part of my internal conflict.  LOL. 
I made a KDP account and he walked
me through the process step-by-step.  There were a few times that I was
not able to figure something out and the stress level would rise.  He
wasn’t sure what I was talking about, and I could feel myself getting totally
panicky.  But he would calmly write, “We got this. It’s okay. I’ll
walk you through this step. Are you okay?  Are you ready to move on?”
Lord. But again, when it was done, there was such a relief and satisfaction in
knowing I had done it on my own (kinda). 
I’m sure at different points, this is how we both looked in this process
Trent uploaded the book to my KDP
account, and by the next morning I had started selling books immediately with
not one shred of advertising — the book wasn’t supposed to be out for another
day and a half. Per the normal, we found a couple of typos the day before
release, (damn buggers, they’re always hiding), so we thought we would upload a
new version. Trent sent me the updated version, and he walked me through the
upload. I was such a nervous wreck that I worried I hadn’t uploaded the correct
version, or that the version hadn’t saved to my desktop correctly. And, of
course, this time it took almost 24 hours to upload (when it normally takes
around 12 hours), which delayed the time of release until evening.
What
I’ve Learned:

There are so many things I’ve
learned in this process. First, I’ve learned that having your
book in Erotica vs. Romance has different impacts. And I’ve learned to not
panic about it (kinda). We decided to put the book in Romance rather than
Erotica. It is a “bigger pool” and has more readers than the Erotica
pool. But, because of the larger pool, it’s harder to hit the Top 100 in one of
the Romance sub-categories. But in the long run, you have a larger pool to
float around in than the Erotica pool which dies out pretty quickly.
Second, I’ve learned that men and women see things very
differently, and I’ve had to dig deep to tap into the rational side of myself. As
women, we love external things: recognition, awards, status, etc. So, hitting
the Top 100 in Erotica has the benefit of recognition and a sticker that says
Top 100. However, in reality, it’s the rank and total sales that really matters.
I know that. Internally, I know that.
So, when I hit 7K in Erotica, it
means I’m in the Top 100 — and it means I’m selling 20-25 copies a day or
thereabouts. When I hit 7K in Romance — it means I’m at 7K and I’m selling
20-25 copies. The sales and ranking are the same—for either category. What’s
more, when I self-publish, I’m keeping the full 70 percent for MYSELF!! That’s
the best news of all!   So, when I was in the 3K to 6K for ranking for two weeks,
that meant I was selling about 25-40 copies a day. Again, at those ranks, the
book would have been in the Top 30-100 of Erotica on Amazon.
I’ve had some writers who’re upset and
confused about this aspect, so I’ll explain my thinking on this. They’re
concerned that I’m not in the Top 100 and feel bad for me. Uhm, what? No, don’t
feel bad for me. I’m making more money, and I’m in the same ranking I
was with my last two books. This time, however, I get to choose what category,
the price, promo sales, and I can even change the title, cover, and blurb
whenever I want. But the biggest advantage? I get to make more money. As my
husband so aptly put it (like a man), “If you want a sticker or award for
Top 100, I can run to Target and get you one.” I’ll take the money,
thanks. It’s the sales and ranking that matters. Not the Top 100. Let me
state again, my rankings and sales are the same. The money increase is what’s
new!
Now, I may decide at some point to
flip it over to Erotica when I run sale and let it run its way to the top. But
with the bigger pool, more eyes, and different mailing lists from Amazon, I
want to stay in the Romance pool and see what the long term effects are.
Third, I’ve learned that it takes a lot less to be “free and
clear” when you are self-publishing. I had recouped my self-publishing
costs within a week. From that point
on, the money is mine — all costs have been paid for.
Four, I’ve learned that most of the things we do as authors
within the first month of release are less effective than we think they are in
increasing sales. I did my typical frenzied promoting in the first 3 days and
really saw no increase in sales. I have put it on a couple Facebook book review
sites, and I’ve seen some sales spike for a day or a day and a half, but not
huge ones. The advertising and email lists that Amazon does for the first 30
days are what really do most of the heavy lifting for generating sales. This
was a totally new revelation to me. However, I do feel that the promoting we do
in the two weeks (or more) before the
release of a book, gets readers excited, and we definitely see the effects of
that.
Fifth, I’ve
learned that your husband can become addicted to KDP and will maniacally text
you every half hour to let you know how many books you’ve sold.   I have
taken to calling him “The Book Crier.”  
Six, It’s awesome to see immediately
how certain things effect or don’t effect sales.  I’ve learned that being
on blogs are fun, and as an author we love the socialization, but blogs sell
virtually zero books.  I think any of the blogs we’re on–the readers
know that the bloggers are our friends, and they are sick of hearing about our books.  LOL.  I’ll reduce blogs I
think, except for fun (smiley face).   

Conclusion

 

So, this has been my experience.  It’s been a roller coaster ride, and I truly feel like I’ve
come out of this birthing process unscathed and a new woman. I will make
another post between one and two months into the process.
I’ve been asked if I’m done with
publishers.
 
 Absolutely not! I
love my publishers, and I have enjoyed the process with them as well. I just
wanted to round out my experience. I feel that I’m both an author and an entrepreneur,
and as such I’m someone who views this is endeavor as a business. We need to explore
and experience all the avenues that are available in our business before we can
truly decide on a plan of action to succeed.
Below, I’ve attached the link to
Trent Evans’ Assisted Self-Publishing services. I highly recommend you contact
him and ask all the questions you can think of; he’s more than willing
to discuss this business with you — rationally and logically. Feel free to be
candid about any concerns or fears you may have; he’s an author too, so he has
a clear understanding of the fears we all experience in this business.


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10 thoughts on “My First Three Weeks of Self-Publishing

  • Natasha Knight

    Between you and Cara, I think I'm going to give it a go. I love the idea of having more control, and, of course, of keeping more of the money!! Writing the blurb and titling the book is probably the most daunting for me and as much as I hate to do it, agree with Trent that we should write our own or attempt to (I do not at the moment).

    This was great, please do update again in a few months.

    • Megan Michaels

      The title usually comes to me with the premise, but the blurb scares the hell out of me! And I know I'll be forced to try it soon. :(.
      I think once the bug hits you, you'll love it. I'll definitely update next month

  • Meredith O'Reilly

    I really love this post Megan. It definitely has me thinking of self-publishing a book just so I can see how it's done. I'm also surprised that the blogging doesn't help with sales that much. That makes me feel silly for how much blogging I did for my second book. I can't wait to get an update in a couple of months. 🙂

  • Sophie Kisker

    I jumped in the deep end of self-pubbing without ever dipping my toes in the shallow end first. It's been amazing, exhausting, fun, and I have learned more in the 30 days I've been doing this than I could have imagined. The best part? Looking at the number of books you've sold each day and seeing the royalties right in front of you. The worst part? Looking at the number of books you haven't sold each day and seeing the royalties barely move. "Mama said there'll be days like this…" Good luck, and thanks again for recommending Rachel Olsen for my cover.