Before today’s Blogmas post, some important book news for you. I’m pleased to announce that Hooves Above The Waves will be released on Smashwords this Friday! Rejoice, non-Kindle users, for you can now have murderous kelpies in EPUB form!
And now that you’ve all pre-ordered it to go with your paperback editions, on with the show…
As you might have gathered, my short story collection was first self-published on Kindle after the Book Festival, and there were a few reasons behind this. First, in my experience it’s bloody hard to find homes for short stories. You have to spend months on submission, and not simultaneously like novels, only to get a no thanks when you could have been doing something else with the piece. (I have had stories published traditionally, but finding non-litfic places that ‘get’ my stuff is tricky.) Second, it’s fast. Provided you’ve got your editing done and a cover in place, it’s a matter of days for a book to appear on Amazon. And third, I was very keen to get my stories out into the world as a calling card of sorts. It gives you a flavour of my writing style, and who knows – maybe an agent will buy the book and go ‘HOT DAMN I WONDER IF THIS LADY’S DONE ANY NOVELS’. Maybe.
There was a brilliant discussion on #storycrafter last night with Faye Kirwin about the self-publishing process, and really, it boils down to these points:
- Not every project is suitable. Self-publishing seems to be particularly good for short fiction and specialist books that may not find a trad publisher.
- It takes time. Time to edit, time to copyedit/proofread, time to design a cover, time to format for Kindle/Smashwords (and the latter has a 120+ page style guide you have to read!), and time to promote once the book is released. This is time you won’t spend writing.
- You need to hustle hard. Got social media channels and loads of contacts? Use them. Blogs, Facebook pages, websites, and word of mouth are all powerful marketing tools and won’t cost a penny. And if you are paying for marketing, don’t bankrupt yourself. For instance, Facebook offers decent marketing with stupidly granular target audiences, for around £1 a day. At the moment, I’ve only paid for promotional postcards, and bus fares into bookshops to try and persuade them to stock my paperback. (No, you don’t automatically get onto bookshelves, whatever CreateSpace may have you believe.)
Anyway, if you’re going for it, best of luck. It’s a crowded, cut-throat market out there. Remember, support your fellow indie authors. Read their work, leave reviews (the more the better for Amazon promotion!), and cheer them on. You can do this thing. We got your back 💖