The Secret Dreamworld of an Aspiring Author by Anna Bell - Self Publishing: The Good
It’s been just over three months since I self published a book on Amazon. It has been like taking a crash course in publishing. I can honestly say that I’ve learnt more about publishing in the last three months than I have in the 3 years I’ve been writing. At times it has seemed like the best decision I’ve ever made; at other times it has seemed liked the worst decision. I’ve made a lots of mistakes, and learnt a lot about myself.
So was self publishing a good thing to do? Well it depends on how you measure success. Is it by numbers of copies sold, by numbers of reviews written, by the types of comments in the reviews, or by my position in the Kindle chart sales ranking?
I guess I need to start with my initial expectations. I hoped I’d be the next Amanda Hocking (come on, secretly don’t all self published authors?), and if I wasn’t I hoped my book would sell about over 100 copies. After my launch week I didn’t think that would be too hard going, but in my first month after the sales from family and friends (both virtual and real) I was down to about 2 or 3 sales a day. By the end of the first month I’d just sold just over 100 books. That was respectable, right? After all, I’d read on some newspaper article that most self published authors can find enough friends and family and word of mouth themselves to sell 100 books. But I couldn’t help thinking was it all worth it for 100 copies?
I came to the conclusion that self publishing wasn’t for me; that actually I needed the traditional publishing model, and I desperately needed a publisher to market my book for me. And then something odd happened: my book started to sell. My sales jumped to 15 sales a day, then to 30, then 60. I’ve now sold just shy of 2,000 books, and over half of those sales are from the start of April. I’ve managed to scrape into the top 200 books on Kindle on occasion, with the majority of my time in the charts spent between 200-300. Which considering there are 410,000 novels on Kindle pleases me no end.
The other ‘good’ thing about self publishing has been having my work in the public domain. It’s been great having actual people read my work and let me know what they think. Although it is a really scary thing to do, and it often makes me feel like I’m stood naked in a shopping centre, it is actually great to hear feedback. I’ve loved having people tell me they’ve enjoyed the book. I actually think it means more to me when I hear nice feedback than it does when I see the numbers of my book sales creep up.
But as you’ll guess from both the title of this column (and the bags under my eyes if you could see them) that it hasn’t all been plain sailing. It has truly been a rollercoaster – but I’ll tell you about the bad and the ugly in the weeks to come.