I’d been wavering over self-publishing versus traditional publishing for some time now. It seemed so easy to self-publish. I mean so many people were doing it why wouldn’t I?
Part of my hang-up to self-publishing is the quality of the finished product or even the perception that the finished product isn’t that good. I don’t want to be associated with that. If I’m going to publish something I want it to be the best it can be. I want my work to reflect the time and effort I took to create it and polish it and make it the absolute best I can.
But I was still curious about the process. That’s why I chose to publish my first book on my own.
I made the decision back in December to publish something on my own. I have four novels written but they aren’t ready for public consumption yet (I still want you to read my work!) However I did have well over a dozen flash fiction stories from my blog that I could rework, edit, and clean up. I decided that was as good a plan as any and got to work on the project.
Knowing many loyal readers of my blog might not decide to purchase what they’ve read for free, I set to work on the stories to tighten them up and make them read better. I also decided to include two previously unreleased stories that are only available in the anthology. I had to give my readers a reason to at least consider purchasing the book.
I spent many days and many hours on the stories. I soon discovered I enjoyed revision which I’ve loathed in the past. Watching my stories grow to become something I’m proud to stick my name on was awesome. Soon I was consumed by the project and couldn’t wait to work on it.
When it came to the cover, I approached a couple artists I work with for help but getting the sense they were a bit busy, and me growing impatient as the project forged on, I set out to create it on my own. I’m not the most artistic of people, but I found a site where I could create free covers (canva.com) and went to work. The finished product turned out to be perfect for the anthology. I feel it conveys the dark nature of the stories and gives the reader an impression of what to expect. I’ve mentioned before how I can’t stand generic covers with poorly used fonts and graphics. I bugged the artists at work along with a few others to get their opinion. I took their advice which helped tremendously.
With a cover and the stories ready to go, I set to work on getting it ready for purchase. My first stop was Amazon’s KDP site. I used Scrivener to format the book and the files were easy to transfer. Amazon has two pricing structures, one with a 70% royalty and one with a 30% royalty. At first I chose the 70% option, who wouldn’t?, but discovered the minimum price I could sell the book was $2.99. If it was a novel, I could see that. But I know I wouldn’t pay $2.99 for something that wasn’t 100 pages so I opted for the lower rate so I could price it fairly.
I also wanted it available on the Nook. I’ve never owned a Kindle but I do have a Nook though I read on my iPad mini instead. Still, I have a soft spot for the Nook and looked at ways to make it available for it. In the end I chose Smashwords to get my book on the Nook as well as Apple’s iBooks and several smaller ebook retailers. I think that was the best choice for me.
I didn’t intend on doing a physical copy of the book but after talking with a friend who didn’t have a way to read ebooks, I decided to give it a go. I’ve used CreateSpace (an Amazon company) before for print on demand books and chose that again. I spent an entire day re-formatting my book. I had to create a back cover and decide what color paper (cream) and what type of finish for the cover (matte) to use. That was on a Saturday. I proofed it online but wanted a copy in my hands so I ordered 5 proof copies and they were printed and shipped to me by Tuesday. Having my finished book in my hands was an awesome feeling! I found a few formatting issues, resubmitted the files, and proofed them online. Now I’m waiting for the final copies to show up.
I share all of this because maybe it will help someone make the decision to get their work out there. I’m not saying my way was the right way, but it was the best way for me. I’ve caught the attention of readers I’ve never reached before and that’s thrilling to me. I’m inspired to keep writing. The feedback I’ve received so far has been phenomenal. I’m expecting bad reviews to show up as I’m sure what I write isn’t for everyone. That’s ok. I gotta stay humble.
I appreciate your support. Even if all you did was read this post, thanks! If you’d like to see the final product and purchase a copy of the book for yourself, see the links below. I would be forever grateful if you did.
Amazon: (Almost) Average Anthology
Barnes & Noble: (Almost) Average Anthology
iBooks: (Almost) Average Anthology