I jumped right into self-publication. While I wish I had the distribution capacity of a major publishing house, I prefer to self-publish because of the ultimate creative control and feedback immediacy it offers. I am currently querying distribution companies to see if that is an option, but I restrict my options to groups that allow authors to retain all rights.
What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
I find that I enjoy having full control over the creative process, from interior and cover design to deployment and marketing. By self-publishing, I am the writer, publisher, designer and distributor, and it gives me a sense of total understanding of the project and its scope.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing? And if not, what method did you use for proofing?
I did not hire an editor, although I will in the future. For now, I have relied on careful reading, feedback from close friends (who also happen to be voracious readers), and then more careful reading. I typically go through several revisions before deciding a work is complete.
What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey? Any advice you can give to burgeoning writers?
Publishing is a major challenge. Writing has a unique set of challenges and certainly has a stiff requirement for patience, but the “other” stuff (cover and interior design, proofing, editing, marketing and promotion) have their own difficulties and require just as much, if not more, patience. And unlike writing, which always has a satisfying conclusion (the end of a story written), self-publication can “end” in any number of different ways, and not all of them are universally positive.
Where have you put your work on sale? Is it available in only digital formats, or is there a physical edition available?
My books are available in paperback and hardcover in addition to eBook, and are for sale on the websites of Amazon and Barnes and Noble (and a few local booksellers). The eBook versions of my books are available on Amazon.com for the Kindle, Barnes and Noble for the nook, and Smashwords (which distributes to Apple, Kobo and Diesel). All of these editions are also for sale directly from me on my books website.
What kinds of marketing are you involved with for promoting your book? Any promotional recommendations to new writers?
By day, I am a professional web engineer, so I do a lot of digital work myself. I have designed marketing websites for each of my books and do heavy promotion on most major social networking services. I am also doing limited paid advertising. Offline, I do local book readings and signings at independent bookstores that will carry my work.
If I had any recommendations to new writers it would be: (1) Don’t turn down any free offer of publicity, and (2) Be patient. Sales take time, and your first book is likely to sell only modestly. Work to build your brand and gain awareness, and eventually the sales will come.
Do you find it difficult to manage your time, shifting focus between marketing your current book and writing your next book, as well as any day-to-day responsibilities?
Very difficult! Without a schedule, I would be utterly lost. I am currently working full-time as a senior web engineer, going to school full-time for a degree in English, marketing my latest book and writing my third and forth manuscripts… I could easily lose track of myself if I don’t pick specific times for each task. And inevitably sometimes one must dominate when specific activities have deadlines or become overwhelming. It’s a delicate process that is easy to unbalance.