At the start of May, Jayde Scott, a young writer from England, invited me to review her eBook, A Job From Hell. Based on the professional presentation of her Smashwords page, http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/56864, I agreed, though with some trepidation: vampire romance isn’t normally “my thing.”
To our mutual relief, I enjoyed A Job From Hell and posted my review here at the end of May: https://thefirstgates.com/2011/05/25/a-job-from-hell-by-jayde-scott-book-review/. During the process, we exchanged a few emails – enough for me to realize what a complex operation an ebook publishing and marketing venture can be. I invited Ms. Scott to describe her process, and she found the time – despite publishing two new titles this summer – to send a very detailed reply. So detailed, in fact, that I’ve split her post into two sections.
In this section, the author describes what led her to the world of Indie publishing. The next section outlines the nuts and bolts of her procedure. Anyone who is interested in ebook publishing will find a wealth of information in Ms. Scott’s account.
A year ago, I would never have thought I’d be an indie author one day. At that time, I was unemployed, like many people in the UK, and could barely afford paying the rent let alone meet the monthly repayments of my student loan. Even with two good degrees, I had been looking for a job for three years without much success. During breaks from filling out application forms and struggling to get freelance work, I kept myself sane by writing as much as I could. It was my way to deal with the stress and pressure of not having a regular job.
Writing had been a hobby of mine for more than ten years. I had six books ready for publication and was actively seeking an agent or publisher for my work. Several times I came very close to landing an agent and did the ‘suggested’ changes to my manuscripts, only to have my hopes dashed again. With publishers I had similar experiences, some rejected me because I wouldn’t cut down on a 94k manuscript, others because they didn’t like a particular character. There was a time when I just couldn’t afford the horrendous postage charges for sending a manuscript to the US, so I kept postponing sending off large parcels until I got a freelance gig and had some money left.
After reading about Amanda Hocking’s success, I realised publishing doesn’t start and end with landing an agent and selling one’s work to one of the big six publishers. Sure, that would be a nice accomplishment, but I figured I might be more likely to win the lottery. It took me a long time to take this step because I kept hoping someone might make an offer soon, but when the offer never came in and I was more and more struggling to get a job and pay the bills, I decided I had nothing to lose by going the independent route. At least I had tried my best.
So, instead of wasting yet more time, I spent two weeks getting my first manuscript, Alex Gonzo, Royal Spy, ready for publishing via Kindle. It took a few attempts (actually, more than I care to reveal), but I finally figured out how to format it correctly after which it became easier with every book published.
Needless to say, I knew next to nothing about self-publishing a book or the marketing involved. I had heard of authors using Twitter and Facebook to promote their work, but that about summed up my knowledge of social media. My first attempts at Tweeting were pretty much useless and Alex Gonzo, Royal Spy didn’t sell a single copy. Five months later, I had barely sold 100 copies of that book, but I wasn’t ready to give up and self published A Job From Hell, which is the first book in the Ancient Legends series. That book didn’t take off straight away. In fact, I only sold about 60 copies in the first month. However, the more time I spent researching on the Internet and reading as many blog on publishing as I could find, the more I was determined to succeed, not least because I still hadn’t found a job and it didn’t look like I would in the near future.
Three months and a few more books later, I sell a few thousand copies a month. My books aren’t doing as great on Amazon as those of some of my fellow authors and I’m thinking maybe my coverart isn’t that great, maybe my blurbs would benefit from a makeover. However, at a price of 99c a book, my earnings at least pay the monthly rent, which is more than I would’ve earned if I kept contacting agents and publishers only to have my confidence crushed.
TO BE CONTINUED