Here are a few takeaways and final thoughts I have about self-publishing The Field:
It’s important for your own creative sanity that once you make the leap from your novel being your baby to publishing it either as an eBook, a paperback, or both, it is now a viable, marketable product. This means that you have to put distance between you the author and you’re the person trying to market and sell what is a now a viable commodity.
This distancing will also help you in the event your get a negative review or criticism you don’t like. The person may not have liked your product, but they still bought the product and you reap the benefits either way. By taking this more objective and business-like approach to each work, you can then free up your mind to write the next book, and the next, and the next.
Distancing yourself emotionally from your completed project will also help you think more clearly when it comes to the marketing and sales aspects of your work. It’s not at all helpful if you get wrapped up in a minute detail that occurs during the publishing process and your obsess over something that in the end has an easy fix. Case in point: I talked in a previous post about the paperback being priced at $14.63 due to production costs. I agonized over this for half a week, sure that my book was now doomed for failure because it was too expensive. Then, a Book Baby rep suggested I create a promo code to decrease the price. Boom. Problem solved.
I had I been thinking like a salesperson and been more pragmatic than emotional, I could have solved the problem without the needless drama. Leave the drama for the page not the publishing.
Know that if you are self-publishing that you are going to have to do almost everything yourself. Yes, there are sites like Book Baby that will guide you, but when it comes to getting the word out to a wide swath of people, just know that you are the best marketing tool there is. So use social media, your own website, co-workers, family, and friends to get the initial word out. If you want to, you can enlist the aid of a marketing company – like I did with Smith Publicity – to spread the word farther. But again, while they will be assisting with press releases and other aspects, the project is still driven by me and my knowledge and passion for the project.
There are also dozens of videos on YouTube as well as blogs that can give you insights into how to market your book either inexpensively or for free.
Also, make sure that you have the means to afford all the aspects of doing this yourself. There are inexpensive and even free alternatives if you want to publish your eBook on Amazon or even on your own blog chapter by chapter. Don’t go into debt or sacrifice eating or bills to do this. And if you do, make sure you budget and keep track of all your expenses.
So, what would I do differently. Well, for the next book I will definitely publish the eBook and paperback as part of the same project. The reason: it’s cheaper. I could have paid 50% less if I had gone with one of the packages offered through Book Baby that allows you to do both. But I thought just an eBook was easy money. As of this post I have sold more paperbacks than eBooks, so that shows what I know!
I also learned that the best strategy is to budget your time in an efficient manner, especially if self-publishing is a side business and not your full-time occupation. I work six days a week at my main job, so everything involving the book is like having a second job. It’s important to give yourself some downtime and not burn yourself out with everything that now needs to be done on top of all your other responsibilities. Your novel won’t get published any faster if your agonizing over pricing at 4am. Trust me. It’s not worth losing sleep over.
And that’s my self-publishing journey. It was definitely worth all the time, effort, and expense, and I will definitely be doing it again soon. If you have any questions, comments, or further advice you’d like to share, please feel free to leave a comment. I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for reading!