The thing no one tells you about self-publishing

Cute rabbit, huh? I bet that the first reaction most people have to this picture is “awwwww”. If you saw the rabbit in a shop, you would want to buy it and take it home.

What does this have to do with self-publishing? Well, like the rabbit, it evokes an emotional response in the writer. It is so damn addictive.

Over the last two days I’ve run a promo for Watcher’s Web on Amazon. I’ve had a total of 10,606 downloads. That’s not a typo. More than ten thousand. On top of the ten thousand that have been downloaded over the past few promos, there are now more than twenty thousand copies in the hands of people with Kindles. People I don’t know. People who are for the most part not active in the SFF circles where I dwell.

These people do things like… read the book, talk about it with their friends, list it on goodreads, ask me if there is going to be a sequel, tell me how much they’ve enjoyed this or other books, follow me on Facebook or Twitter… the list is endless and awesome.

And the thing is, I am certain that for some books in some situations it might be a really good career move to look for a traditional publisher, but every time I even contemplate sending a query, I think of my little book in the hands of twenty thousand people, and I can’t bring myself to do it.

Heck, I am enjoying this too much. If a publisher wants me, they can come and find me.

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12 comments on “The thing no one tells you about self-publishing

  1. Blimey! Over 10k is a hell of a lot. And you know what? I feel the same. I was considering sending out my next book, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I can edit and proof it, then publish and have it in the hands of readers within a day. Absolutely fantastic. A book from writing to publishing in a year, which mainstream big publisher can do that?

    Do you see an increase of sales of your other books? KPD select has killed mine, that’s why I’m asking. I guess it’s easier if you a genre writer.

    • Nothing in selling books is ever easy.

      I have a number of permanent freebies up on Amazon and find that they do, eventually, sell books. This can be a long process. I don’t have all my titles in Select, and there are some, like the trilogy, that will never be. I keep books in as many different places as possible (including Select) and keep plugging along.

  2. Amazing. And yeah – you may well not get those reading figures with a big publisher, so it then comes down to how you want your career to go. Getting 20k readers is a damn good thing to aim for :)

    How do you get to have your books for free on Amazon? Every time I’ve uploaded, I’ve had to charge at least 99c.

    • Email me, and also you should really, really join the Kindleboards. You don’t ahve to hang out there an awful lot, but there are many people there who can teach you heaps about gaming Amazon.

    • It’s a long hard slug with little breaks between the clouds every now and then. Anyone who suggests that it’s easy is either lying, was already selling well before self-publishing or has just been incredibly lucky. Pretty much like traditional publishing.

      The difference is that it’s a bottom-up approach. You let the market decide what becomes successful.

  3. Hi Patty, I am one of the 20,000+ who downloaded your book. I am incredibly selective on what books I buy, but the free programs allow me to try books that I normally wouldn’t put on my radar. Many times, I get pleasantly surprised.

    Just like what I purchase, I am incredibl careful about what books I download for free or enter in giveaways. After all, what’s the point of downloading a book if I am never going to read it?

    I have a pretty in depth process for decision making :)

    First I have a look at the cover, and if the cover is awful/horrendous/embarassing/inexcusable… I have been known to avoid the book entirely. As bad as it sounds, we DO judge books by their covers. If a writer can’t be bothered to make a decent cover, the likelihood is that the writing will not be edited, be full of errors, and may not even had any proofreading done before they rushed to self publish. It is what it is.

    Second, I read the synopsis. If the synopsis contains errors and/or is badly written, that’s a massive strike for me and I go no further.

    Third, I check out the reviews. First, I read some 5 star reviews (if they exist), and then I read some of the bad reviews. If there’s a heap of people telling me that the writing is shocking, that there are major problems with the book, etc… I tend to give it a miss.

    And only when all of the above looks good and the book still captures my interest, I download it. Yours was one of what appeared ot be a great find.

    Like yourself, I am also an author and also do similar promotions on my books. Although I haven’t had those figures yet, I ran a free promotion on my recently released second edition of my first book and had about 3000 downloads, and I only had 2 reviews on my book :-O

    Amazon tools are amazing and like yourself, I am excited that readers have my books in their hands.

    I look forward to connecting with you online,

    Peter Koevari

    • I have a few typos in my earlier post… LOL :-D

      Comment typos don’t count… really.. *blushes*

      Anyway, always good to make myself look silly when I am talking about errors in books and synopsis descriptions. This is why editing and proofreading as just so invaluable.

      (Shovel put down, and crawling out of hole)

      Peter

      • Thank you, and this is the awesome thing about self-publishing, getting fairly quick feedback and having contact with people who read your books. This book in question I sold to a small press, but decided not to go ahead with it because of hideous and inflexible conditions in the contract.

        Don’t worry about the typos. I am the world’s worst typist myself.

  4. I’m also one of the 20000. I also cull the freebie books like Peter above. I may say I thoroughly enjoyed Watcher’s Web. Thank you. I’ll certainly be purchasing some of your other works sometime in the near future.

    P.s. loved the Aust. bush / Lithgow reference.

    Thomas. (From Parramatta)

    • Thank you. Although it’s never mentioned in the book as such, the place where Jessica’s parents live is Forbes.

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