Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Dragon's Daughter: One-Month Post-Release

It’s been just shy of a month since I published my novel The Dragon’s Daughter. For anyone considering self-publishing, I can only say, “Go for it!” Go for it professionally—but go for it.

As I’ve mentioned before in other posts, I was very hesitant to self-publish. However, now that I’ve done it, I’ve got nothing but positive things to say. Want to hear some of those? OK … here goes:

1.       It’s rewarding. There are no words to describe what it feels like—every single time—someone connects with me and says, “I read your book in two days—couldn’t put it down. I loved it!” I have been overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude (for people willing to take a chance on an unknown author) and happiness (that people are enjoying a book I poured so much of myself into).

2.       It’s fun! Yes, it’s also very scary, but it is so much fun to offer a book to the world and wait and watch to see what will happen. It’s fun to talk to people about it, to introduce them to my book, and to watch their eyes light up when they say, “I’m gonna check that out!”

3.       It’s challenging. I like to be challenged, so this is a positive for me. It’s challenging to continue to look for ways to reach new readers. It’s challenging, trying to figure out how best to market my book in a way that people will find it and be enticed by it. I enjoy being tested like this.

4.       It’s cooperative. I’m not doing this alone, and that’s so cool too. I have so many people (my husband, my daughter, and my mom, first and foremost) who are working with me to spread the word that I have a book out there and that it’s worth checking out. They’re having fun too, and they enjoy it as much as I do when I share a new review or update them on my sales. I may have self-published, but I didn’t do it—and I’m not doing it—all by myself.

5.       I’m in control. For better or worse—and time will tell on that—the success of my book is pretty much up to me. Without a publishing house behind me, I have to figure out (with the help of my aforementioned little army) what to do with it. But I see this as a positive too. A publishing house might give up on me much sooner than I would give up on me (which is NEVER!) and then I’d be stuck. They would have the rights to the book, and I could do very little to nudge it along.

I am so glad that I put The Dragon’s Daughter out there. I’m proud of this story, and I’m happy to say that more and more of you are finding it and enjoying it. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Thank you for giving it a shot! And if you haven’t checked it out yet, you can find The Dragon’s Daughter on Amazon and at the NOOK Book Store online.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Self-Publishing: Lessons from the First Week

It hasn’t even been a week since I published my book, The Dragon’s Daughter, with CreateSpace and on Kindle, and I’ve already learned so many things. Let me share them:

1.       I should have proofed a hard copy of my book before I made it available for sale. I didn’t want to do this for a lot of reasons—none of them good, in hindsight—and I should have. Next time I will.
2.       My interior font size should not have been 8 pt. I’m still shaking my head over that one. I can’t believe I made it that small, and I have no idea why I did. I truly don’t. I do not remember thinking, “Hey, Sharon, make that font so small that teenagers will need reading glasses to see it,” but I must have because that’s what I did. I would have caught that mistake if I had (a) printed a page from my doc before I uploaded it or (b) ordered a hard copy. I have revised the document, changed the font size (which meant I needed a different size PDF for my cover—read “additional expense”), and uploaded it again.
3.       I should have proofed the book itself—the text—as a hard copy. I should have printed out every single page and gone over it with a red pen. I missed some things proofing it digitally that I believe I would have caught on paper. Those too have now been fixed. (I hope, dear God, I hope.) Next time, I’ll hire someone else to proof it. A lawyer who defends herself has a fool for a client. An editor who proofs her own book does too.
4.       I had to raise the price of my book when I changed the font. It went from 158 pages to 268, so it will take more paper to create the book and thus, Amazon and CreateSpace say, “Charge more.” I understand, but I didn’t expect that.
5.       Checking the KDP and CreateSpace sales reports every day is not a good idea. I do it anyway, knowing this, and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon, but it’s discouraging when the numbers aren’t what I’d hoped. I do believe people will find my book, buy it, and enjoy it, but it will take some time.
6.       I have very supportive family, friends, and acquaintances. This I did know, but I have been reminded of it so strongly this past week. Every time one of them says she’s excited for me or that he’s ordered my book (or will be ordering it), I do a little happy dance.

It’s exciting—really, really exciting—putting a book out there. It’s also quite the education. I’ve just finished the first draft of my new novel, so hopefully, I’ll be putting these lessons I’ve learned with The Dragon’s Daughter to good use. Maybe I’ll get that one right the first time around. (Inside my head right now, there’s laughter.)