This is a public service announcement for all you future authors, writers, and teller of stories. Reader beware!
When I started on this journey way back in Februray of 2011, I did so to fill a void. I was on state disability and had time to pick at a few dreams. I wasn’t about to run off and try to join the ranks of megastardom in motion pictures (yet), because I had a dream most of my life to write. I wrote all the time, so let me clarify: I had the dream to start, finish, and publish a book. And so I did, in three short months. From my brain came When I Thought I Was Tough, and I quickly published it to the free website, Bookemon.com.
I was ecstatic and walked on cloud nine for a few days. Then another story pelted me like a wild snowball smack in my face. When I finished Be Still, I knew I had to do this one better. It had to be available on more than one website and I wanted it to look professional. After lots and lots of research, I chose Iuniverse to publish my book. I’ve received tons of criticism for this choice of “vanity press,” but I stood and stand by my decision. For a nominal fee (not cheap), my book was put out on every ebook source known to man, plus made available in hardcover and softcover through most major bookstores. The book sold well, but this is where the warning comes in …
Regardless of how or where you publish your book, you must be comfortable with the decision. Other authors will come at you with why their choice was better and how you were “screwed.” I hear it to this day, but I stand by my decision to be made available on more platforms than just Kindle, or only ereaders. I also know that with my limited time I was unable to do the brunt of the work in publishing on my own. Research is key, and can take up a great majority of time.
But if publishing is key then publicity is the door. Without publicity there is a book sitting on shelf that noone will know of. Be sure to budget for your publicity, marketing materials, and editing. Oh lord, please don’t forget to edit. I can say, I have easily put out far over $1500 into marketing materials, and add another $1000 into booking events/shows.
Be prepared to launch a second career in the art of marketing and publicity. Be prepared to sell the farm and maybe not make the money back. We all want to be the next J.K. Rowlings and write the next 50 Shades of Best Selling Books, but the reality is that a majority of us will find our place on the shelves of friends, family, and those we swapped books with on social media. The more you publicize the better the market.
So how do you sell a million books? Write a million stories and sell each one once. The bottom line is this: you are a writer, and if one person leaves one review–good or bad–someone read your book. That is the first step and its the one you’ll remember. Don’t work toward selling one million books, work toward touching one reader. And if you make a few friends and grow a fan base along the way, then you’re indie, and indie is a wonderful experience.
Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Building an Empire of Books