Lessons from Self Publishing My Novel

If you wonder why I've been so inactive with blogging lately, then that makes two of us. I knew WRITING a book was intense. I knew CRITIQUING, EDITING and PROOFING a book was intense. But running that final leg of the race right to publish your debut novel, well... that part was new to me. Let's just say I'm glad to come up for air. My husband is also glad I'm cooking dinners again.

So, you guessed it, An Eye For Danger, the first book in my romantic suspense series is up on Kindle. But my eBook isn't what I want to talk about. Here are a couple lessons I learned from self publishing that might help you on your journey:


Authors all have this dream of "making it" with a novel and being able to actually make a living doing what they love. I also dream of winning the lottery. But with the advancements in self-publishing and eBooks, that dream has never been more possible to achieve.

Better yet, you don't have to wait to be "chosen" by traditional publishing, which is not only backlogged on reading manuscripts, but takes up to 2 years to produce a book. The print version. The eBook doesn't come out till several months after the print book. No business in their right mind would delay product to market or stilt their sales this way.

Then there's the size issue. In traditional publishing, smaller is often better. (Ladies, please, please roll your eyes!). Like most authors, I feel that pride and joy that I birthed this puppy. And it's a big puppy--152k words of good guys battling corruption with a little smooching in between. Traditional publishing wouldn't take a book that long due to shelf space, packing limitations and the fact that this is debut novel from an unknown author. Only an established author gets that kind of allowance.

 A few brave agents and editors actually told me I'd be a fool to wait. So, long story short...  I went solo. And I've never been happier with my decision. I wrote the story I wanted to read without all the arbitrary limitations and with a more robust, complicated story line. Statistics show that readers of eBooks want longer stories, not quickies. Including more complicated plots and a family of characters they can roll with for several books in a series. So I hope I deliver on all these fronts.

Price point is also a differentiator. I can keep my eBook affordable at $4.99 so it's easier for readers to take a chance on me. What I've learned over the last year is that eBooks under $5.99 were more approachable for readers. Books over $6 are perceived as traditional publishing range for a name brand author. Books under $3 can be considered lower quality (not always true, but we're talking about reader perceptions here). So there is a magic range that says your book is quality but not overpriced for an unfamiliar/new brand.

Again, because I'm running this show, I control such decisions. And I can be flexible and run free or discount programs to meet market timing. I truly own my destiny.

Now, all that excitement to self-publish aside, going solo can be scary. I own all successes, sure, but I also own all the failures.

Failure is easy. You just fail and try again. But I'd rather fall on my face, pick myself up, dust off my ego and go buy a Frappuccino for the effort rather than face my Fear about being on my own, money and marketing wise, and having gambled several years worth of work and my husband's patience on this venture.

I can honestly say the moment I pushed publish I wasn't excited, I was relieved. And exhausted and frustrated and afraid. I know I'll be creating new files, new Kindle builds for every glitch I find in the next few weeks/months--that I can handle.

But finally putting my book out there means I'm finally putting my neck onto the chopping block for all readers and reviewers and, ug!, family and friends to judge. And I'm not talking about my writing style or ability to tell a story. I'm okay if they don't like that. But I write about tough, even personal subjects. Sex, addiction, abuse. Did I mention sex?

What if my mother reads this. Or worse, my dad. Dear God, not my dad! I'd rather accidentally find myself naked and back in high school during finals that I didn't study for. (You know the nightmare I'm talking about.)

Anyway, it's done. The book is loose and will have a life of its own now. And I'm thrilled to see it live. I'm also happy to be making my own dreams come true!

My kind fellow authors, Anne K. Albert (http://anne-k-albert.blogspot.com/2012/07/christine-m-fairchild-author-of-eye-for.html) and Mariposa Cruz (http://mariposacruz.blogspot.com/2012/07/author-interview-christine-m-fairchild.html) interviewed me on the subject of my debut romantic suspense, the abuse that influenced me to write stories of betrayal, why I believe Resilience not stamina is critical as an author, and why Rochester and Jane are my favorite romantic couple in literature.  Please support them by visiting their blogs for fun info on other books and writing tips/tricks.

Good luck to you!
Your Editor Devil