Many people are self publishing these days. Aside from the Success stories of 50 shades of Grey, The Martian and a few others, is it possible to actually make a living from this?
I say NO! At least not until you have published many titles and have a solid fan base. My book has received positive feedback from anyone who has read it which is lovely but it has failed to spread into the world and make me rich!
Here, are the mistakes i think i made in publishing my first book.
- I failed to generate any reviews from any media. Aside from one review from a friends news site, I failed to get the book into the hands of the people who could have got the word out there.
- The content of the book was spread out over a measly 84 pages, much of which were illustrations.Was there enough literary content to make an impact strong enough to engage the reader to recommend it?
- I gave away approximately 50 copies of the book to people I thought may scream about it. I received a few private messages with feedback on the book, which done nothing to promote the book!
- I priced the book too low, at just £5, the profit was only £1.40 per book and therefore it was impossible to make enough to pay the contributors and make it profitable. (see point 20)
- My writing style was very messy. It was my first book and with little experience felt I was yet to find my voice. Luckily I had a friend who was an editor who made the whole thing make sense before we went to print.
- The spine on the book failed to print, and I only learned later that the minimum page count for spine printing is 130 pages. The book can never be recognised on a shelf, and looks more like a pamphlet from that angle.
- A team comprising of Welsh author, Welsh illustrator, Welsh graphic designer and Welsh editor then relied on an American company to manufacture and deliver the product. Shame we couldn’t complete the whole thing locally.
- I failed to get the book into any stockists or reviewers in Portugal or Spain where the events of the story took place. Or in Wales, the living place of the author.
- I failed to mention the Camino in the title of the book which has made it impossible to market it to people who are keen walkers or are familiar with the Camino de Santiago. I would definitely re-title the book to appeal to these people, as i am yet to sell one book to actual Camino walkers!
- The Web address that I printed on the inside cover is a dead link. I need to build a website.
- I did not arm my early adopters with the tools to spread the word about the book, and only gathered a few Amazon reviews. If they liked it, I just prayed they would recommend it, but a more solid plan could have helped it spread.
- The author should, as recommended by successful self-publishers, have a follow-up book within 3-4 months to keep the buzz going and build momentum. I am writing, but i dont have a book. I just have pages and pages of nonsensical rants with absolutely no thread – Brain Farts. (Now there’s a book idea!)
- We made the book paperback only, forcing physical copies of my work into the world, as real books are my preference. I now think it would have made more sense to release the Kindle and other E-book versions simultaneously, as many people read this way, the price is much lower and the profit MUCH bigger.
- Making my 1st book illustrated, although beautiful, made the whole process much more difficult, as we had many problems with formatting. Also it made the task of creating an e-book version much more difficult and contributed to the decision to postpone it.
- Having so many people involved in the book, unpaid, also extended the time frame as I was reliant on people for favours who had other more important things going on (ie. Paid work!)
- I had little capital to invest in marketing or promotion and compared to a publisher’s marketing clout my marketing plans were pathetic.
- Contacts in the world of publishing were minimal as I am a music producer. This means it was difficult to acquire advice or experience in this world. I failed to reach out to many people who had done it successfully. (Apart from Sue at Starships & Aliens and Derec at Opening Chapter – Thank You!)
- No Pre Promo, no buzz built, No launch party – locally or online, again just a facebook post on day of release. I relied solely on social media for promotion.
- I walked 200 miles, wrote 15,000 words and untold hours were spent by various friends editing, formatting, designing and illustrating the book. All in all making it a labour intensive project which has so far only netted approximately £300. Take away the cost of the free copies and i have so far made about £200. And i haven’t paid any contributors to the book! Was it worth it?
There’s nothing more exciting than seeing your first book in print, and i would highly recommend it! When i ripped open the box and first cradled it like my first born, i squealed and popped like cheap bacon in my new tefal titanium pan.
The book is getting great reviews on Amazon and it has inspired a fewfriends to change things in their life and has made others laugh. Surely effecting people is more important than MONEY?
Huge thanks to everyone who has read it and had the time to share their thoughts or recommend it.
If you don’t have a copy yet, some Amazon sellers have now completely devalued my art, and for some reason you can grab a copy for £3.01, here!
massive thanks to Norris Nuvo, Laure Lajarthe, Paul Bevan, Cai Hughes and Eleanor Burns.