My self-publishing "masterplan" (hmmm...we'll see)
Posted by Paul Samael on Monday, October 3, 2011 Under: Self-publishing
So, how do I propose to self-publish my work and avoid sinking without a trace beneath the mind-bogglingly vast number of other books which are published every year? Well, here - for what it’s worth - is my masterplan (or, if you prefer, the pitifully deluded ravings of a sociopath determined to inflict his mindless drivel on the rest of us):
1. Get some reviews: if you’re an unknown author, I don’t think you can expect people to read your stuff unless you have some decent reviews from other readers. But this is a bit of a chicken and egg problem – how can you get reviews if your work isn’t published? I have attempted to get around this by posting some or all of the novel on peer review sites like yourwriteon.com and on authonomy.com. Positive reviews will be used to promote the book. In my next post, I will deal with the thorny question of whether it is actually OK to use review quotes in this way – but for now, just indulge me and assume that it is.
2. Publish in ebook format: I am planning to do this via Smashwords, because their software allows you to make the book available through most ebook platforms (and it’s free). What is holding me up at present is that I wanted to try out Smashwords with a shorter piece first – so I decided to write a short story that I’d had in my head for a while. Needless to say, this is all taking longer than expected. I am hoping that the ebook release will produce some further reviews that I can use for promotion.
3. Price = free: As far as possible (I think some retailers, like Amazon, force you to charge), I will be making my work available for free. Reading a book takes a certain level of commitment and effort - and I am an unknown author, with nothing to recommend me except some decent-ish reviews from peer review sites. So offering it for free is a way of trying to overcome the natural resistance that you get to trying something new and untested.
4. Web-based promotion: Once the ebook is available, there will need to be a period of promotion e.g. trying to make sure it’s listed properly on Amazon, Google Books etc. I also have some ideas for book trailers that I hope will make it stand out from the crowd. But I’m keeping stumm about those for now.
5. Hard copy launch: The next stage is to make the book available in hard copy. I see this as being a bit like the launch of a paperback edition – with the ebook taking the place of the hardback edition. This may seem an odd comparison, because in many respects a “non-physical” ebook (especially a free one) is the absolute opposite of a hardback book (which is very much a premium physical product). But in marketing the terms, the two are quite similar; publishers don’t expect to sell many hardbacks, but they do aim to use the period of the hardback release to get reviews and hopefully build a “buzz” around a work before they release it in paperback. My aim is to achieve something similar through the ebook release which precedes the hard copy.
6. Yet more promotion: Even if the ebook release has provided a good foundation for the hard copy launch (which is far from certain), there will need to be even more promotion. So it will be a long hard slog (I reckon a couple of years at least) – and I may well fall flat on my face. But as I said in my previous post, I feel that the odds of success are not necessarily any worse than going through a conventional publishing route (where my experience so far is that the book doesn’t get promoted at all).
In : Self-publishing
Tags: reviews ebooks smashwords free marketing
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