With the release of Stranded with Cyborg on September 22, 2015, I’ll celebrate my one-year Indiversary! One year ago on September 22, 2014, I released Unexpected Consequences, after the rights reverted to me. Between September, 22 2014 and September 22, 2015, I self-published 13 titles!
Honestly? I amaze myself. I didn’t realize I had produced so many books until I added them up for this blog.
The breakdown by numbers:
Five backlisted titles: UC, False Pretenses, Body Politics, Disciplinary Measures, and Longing (formerly titled A Scent of Longing).
- Eight brand new titles: Warrior (Breeder 3), Reasonable Doubts (Rod and Cane 5), Goddess’s Curse, Naughty Words for Nice Writers, Irresistible Attractions (Rod and Cane 6), Stolen Moments, Educating His Bride in the Correcting the Coeds anthology, and Stranded with the Cyborg(Sept. 22, 2015).
- Of the eight new titles, I wrote the latter six in 2015. The first two were written in the latter part of 2014.
- Two books were released in print as well as ebook: Goddess’s Curse and Naughty Words for Nice Writers.
Self-publishing was a business decision. I’d published 15 books over a six- year period with several ebook publishers. My books were starting to make some serious money, and I felt that the benefits I received from the publishers (editing, cover art) did not merit giving up half the book royalties. When my books started to generate significant royalties, my primary publisher finally started to do some extra marketing. When I was struggling in the early years and could have used the push, there was nothing beyond the basics (But that’s generally the way it goes—publishers promote the books that sell).
Some reflections and observations of my year as an Indie:
- Self-publishing seemed daunting at first. I basically
knew what needed to be done, but worried I’d overlook some key step. I can say now, the self-publishing process is easy.
- Amazon had always been the primary book seller. I never sold many books through my publisher’s website, but I had underestimated the value of having a new release featured on the website and in the publisher’s newsletter. Readers might buy from Amazon, but they often hear about the book from the publisher’s website or newsletter. A publisher probably gets thousands of hits and has thousands of subscribers. When I started self-publishing I didn’t have a newsletter yet and my website hits number in the hundreds per day, not thousands. But as I grow my newsletter list, it won’t be a factor any more.
- When I was with a publisher, my income seesawed between high and low. Now I can time releases by need rather than the publisher’s schedule, and my income stream is steady. I get covers well in advance for marketing efforts, and I can adjust my pricing and do special promotions to boost sales.
- When you’re with a publisher, almost all the decisions are out of your control. Hence, you tend not to worry as much, because there’s nothing you can do about it anyway. You don’t control the editing, the release date, the category a book gets put into, the cover art, or the book price. You’re forced to accept what you get. As an Indie, you control all those things and you find yourself second guessing your decisions. Should I have released that book earlier or later? A male, a female or both on the cover? How sexy do I want to go? Did I use the right keywords to get my book the best visibility?
- If you think you’re obsessed with your Amazon sales rankings, it’s nothing compared to the sales number obsession when you see actual books sold and the dollar amount generated in real time and not months later. I know how much I’ll make months before royalties are paid.
- (FYI: Amazon pays 60 days after the end of the month in which royalties were earned. So I’ll get September royalties the end of November. I’ll get October money the end of December, etc. Every month there’s a “paycheck” coming in. I can’t fault my former primary publisher on royalty payments. They paid monthly with only a 90-day lag in getting Amazon money , e.g., I’d get September money the end of December. It was completely fair considering the bookkeeping involved. But for other publishers that pay only four times a year with a delay of an entire quarter, i.e. you get 1st quarter money at the end of the 2nd quarter—forget that!)
Would I make the same decision to self publish again?
Would I do it the same way?
Yes.Would I recommend others self-publish?
Yes, but with conditions. If you are just starting out, you are probably better off going with a publisher for your first four or five books. If you’re lucky, you will learn what good editing can do for your manuscript. You will learn about cover art. You will have the publisher’s website and newsletter to market your books. If your book doesn’t sell, you won’t make any money, but you won’t be out-of-pocket.
Self-publishing is not expensive. But there are upfront costs, and it helps to have royalties coming in to offset those costs. For example, cover art, editing, and formatting cost $467.73 for Irresistible Attractions and $218.02 for two versions of Naughty Words for Nice Writers (print & ebook).
If you have a readership/fan base, your books are selling, and you are socially connected and have a newsletter, go for it!
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To see a complete list of all my books, visit my Amazon Author Page.