Adventures in Self-Publishing Continues

Yesterday, AJ and I were talking about self-publication (we do this a lot lately, since Three of Swords was released on 9/1 and Power Exchange will be out soon) and somehow got around to discussing All Romance eBooks. For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, they are a huge online seller of electronic books.

My publishers placed my previous titles there, and I wondered if it was possible for me to get ToS listed. ARe has sold a lot of my books in the last year. I wanted to take advantage of that. As in just about every case where a question needs an answer, I immediately went online.

I found out instantly that yes, I could register our publishing company, Voodoo Lily Press, and through them, add ToS to their books for sale. So I filled out the forms, ARe did what they do, and within an incredibly short amount of time, VLP was registered and I could add my book.

Before proceeding, I had to prepare ToS in various formats for sale. I couldn’t use the copies created by Amazon’s Kindle publishing, nor could I use Smashwords formats; they frown on that, ya know.

I decided on three initial formats: mobi, ePub, and PDF. These seem to be the most common and would cover just about everyone’s needs. What did I use? Calibre. It’s a free program that offers ebook conversion from certain formats to the most popular ebook formats.

Mobi and ePub went well but the PDF copy looked like crap so I ended up doing that in Word, which did a terrific job with it. I only had to add the cover photo. Both PDF and ePub are text searchable, which makes everything easier for the reader.

Making ToS available for sale on ARe took a while because I had to fill out various fields, some of which required looking things up, but eventually, I figured it all out and voila! my new book was available for sale.

I was beyond thrilled.

First thing this morning, I logged in and checked ARe records. I SOLD FIVE COPIES overnight!

You have no idea how exciting this is to a writer. Going through publishers, I never know how well or badly I’m doing until about a month after the quarter ends, when they send out a statement.

When you self-publish, you get the news right away that you’ve sold a copy or three. To prevent myself from going crazy, I limit myself to checking no more than twice a day. ;/

How do I feel so far about my first foray into self-publishing? PRETTY DAMN GOOD. The word is slowly getting around that Fenraven has a new book out, and several online reviewers have agreed to write something up in the next few weeks, which will help me even more.

That’s the worst of it, you know. Getting the word out. Making readers aware the book exists. If you aren’t prepared to do some serious self-promo, don’t self-publish.

That being said, I spent one day formatting ToS for Amazon and Smashwords, and contacting a slew of online reviewers. I added the book to my author’s dashboard on Goodreads. Another couple hours were spent preparing and uploading ToS to ARe. And of course, I talk about it now and again online.

I’m sure there’s more I could and should be doing, but I’m still learning. Blog hops are reputed to be good for this, but I haven’t had time to figure them out yet. Guesting on other blogs is done a lot, but feedback tells me this doesn’t do much and that takes time I don’t have. If any of you have other ideas, I’m listening.

Btw, ToS already has two five-star reviews on Amazon, and no, I didn’t ask them to do that but I would! I mean, why not? If a reader enjoys a book, it only takes a couple minutes to whip off a review so others know what you think. Another reader, on Goodreads, also gave it five stars. *fingers crossed the reviewers are that kind*


About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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13 Responses to Adventures in Self-Publishing Continues

  1. Nobody says:

    happy for you !
    I rated it on GR, but like i said , i´m not good at reviewing. 😦
    have u tried Stumbling Over Chaos as a way to promote? u can offer a free copy ….it´s crazy over there, tons of people, and lots of giveaways, discussions, reviews etc. and i don´t think it will take too much of your time.

    anyway, the slaves are called to work 😦
    Off i go.

    Congratulations !!

  2. Nobody says:

    yep and my pleasure. totally.

  3. therealtbaggins says:

    Ah, good for you. ARe is a great place to self-publish. Amazon, too, of course.

    Ideas? Well, some writers interact a lot on Goodreads. A formal Goodreads giveaway (with your paperback) will net reviews. An informal one, where you create a thread in a group like M/M Romance and offer the book as a freebie for a limited time, can work, too. Others interact a lot on Facebook, but that’s hit or miss. Something interesting you could try, with one or two of your best writer friends? Put a short excerpt of one of their books in the back of yours, and vice-versa.

    Here’s something you may already know, but I’ll toss it out there. On ARe, books are awarded a “silver star” once they become a bestseller in one of their categories. Play around with the categories and try to find one that’s accurate, yet narrow. “Contemporary” is the biggest category; something like lefthanded gay zombies would be the narrowest, and get you that silver star a lot quicker.

  4. Isa says:

    I saw your book on ARe and wondered if I should buy it there or from VLP. Do you get the full cost of your book or only a percentage through ARe?

    I don’t have any great ideas for you on the self publishing other than what’s already mentioned but I can tell you what things I look at. I think guests blogs and free reads get your name out there so when a reader is looking for something to read they will at least stop and check out the book. I bought one of AJ’s books from a guest blog he did. The book wasn’t something I was really interested in reading until I read his blog post then I decided to give it a try and enjoyed the book. If I don’t know the author and the blurb doesn’t really interest me I won’t take time to read the excerpt. If I know the author I’ll take the time. Some authors have become automatic buys just because I know what their books are like and I know I won’t be disappointed I also like series. I like to see how characters grow and change in their relationships. Hook me with a free read that is part of a series and I’ll buy the next book in the series. If you wrote another book with the characters of Lavender Rose I would automatically buy it because I enjoyed the characters and would like to see how they continue to grow and develop their relationship.

    • I’ll get more money if you buy it through Amazon or Smashwords. ARe takes a bigger cut. Thanks for asking!

      It’s well known that series sell better than stand alones. Look at Hunger Games and the two sequels. Harry Potter. Twilight. Even that piece of crap 50 Shades of Gray.

      I decided to write a series because I liked the idea of a continuing story. I’m enjoying exploring Gray and Cooper in more depth as the story unfolds. I get to fill in more and more of their background. That’s damn exciting.

      As for Lavender Rose… I absolutely adore Tristan and would love to explore his relationship with Mal, see what they learn about each other and how they change as they move forward in time. 🙂

  5. I’m about 60% through and I like it thus far, though I wish the peril was more perilous.

    There’s an explanation of blog hops here: Let me know if you need additional details (like the give away, etc). If you have people sign up with an email address, you can just send them a gift card/copy of your book.

    My thoughts are: you’ve got a blog, you’re spending a certain amount of time and energy maintaining it, etc. If you’re not trying things with it, is some of that energy you spend on it going to waste? If your normal traffic is 10 viewers a day (I know it’s not, but let’s say it is), and you get 100 views doing a blog hop, is it worth it?

    It just seems silly to me not to try. Then again, I’m just starting out. I’m doing the opposite which is starting with self-pubbed and then trying for traditional. Any attention I get at this point is helpful.

    • Thanks for the link.

      I believe you’ll realize it gets perilous enough by the end. Heh.

      It was important to me to be accepted by a publisher first. Yes, that’s how little self-confidence I had in my writing ability! And I had to learn how things worked, the process manuscripts went through to become a book. That took a while.

      Deciding to self-pub was another big step for me, as I was leaving the safety of a publisher to do it all on my own. Their storefront gives them a tremendous advantage! I know I’ve so far sold far fewer copies of Three of Swords by self-publishing than if I’d gone through Dreamspinner, and I expected this, but in time, I hope to have enough name recognition and back list to make up the difference. Also, I’ve heard from half a dozen reviewers, and if they don’t completely pan my effort, that should increase sales.

      Generating some kind of income stream, however small, is my goal and it’s long-term. I don’t expect to establish it overnight. By self-publishing, I’m investing in my future.

      • I guess I’ve always known that I could write, and that if I didn’t I’d just get rusty, which is what happened.

        Honestly, anymore a mix of publishing and self-publishing seems the way to go. Your traditional publishing will do a lot to get your name out there. And you’re right about the back list being where your money is.

        You have the right attitude though. Given the popularity of ereaders, and what you’ve been doing, you’ll succeed.

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