Nine Days Out: The Self Publishing Experience (So Far)
Unless you happened to just today discover me and this blog, you already know that my short story collection, Thank You for Ten: Short Fiction About a Little Theater launched a week ago Saturday. It’s my first self-publishing experience and while there is still much to do to promote and sell copies of the book, I have in the last ten days had a bit more time to take in the experience, and asses my feelings on same.
To begin with, despite the work that remains, (the work only just begins once you launch) I can’t help but feel some degree of relief since the launch itself. There is no more formatting or techie stuff to deal with. It’s all been approved, and the file clearly works on all devices I intended it to work on. It’s clean, professional copy with very few oddities to speak of. It’s been priced and posted correctly. My sales reports are reflecting sales, as they are supposed to. As I’ve said before none of that was as bad as I sometimes feared it would be before I started it all, but I’m happy that for this book it’s done.
I was telling a friend the other day that it can be a bit of a time warp. Not unlike getting to opening night in the theater. You put all this work into a project, and while you’re doing so any given day seems like drudgery or endless work that isn’t leading anywhere. Then one day you wake up and you realize it’s complete. The book is launched, in this case. In the first few days I found myself mentally checking off things I had to do to prepare for the launch, forgetting for a moment that i had already in fact launched the book. I can go to the page and see it sitting there on Amazon or Goodreads. (And most recently, on iTunes as well, if that is your preferred location.) It won’t sell itself, but it’s there! (And there, and there, etc.)
I’ve posted about it in several; free directories so far, and have a few more to look into over the next few days. It can’t appear i too many of those. One never knows where the person who will tell all of their friends about this great short story collection may happen upon it first.
For the first few days I was fierce in promoting it every few hours, as I knew I would be. At this point I mention it about once a day on my Facebook feed, and maybe twice a day on Twitter. The slight awkwardness with self-promotion that I sense I would feel is in fact present. It may become more so as time goes on, depending on the medium. But it had not crippled me, and i have been able to justify it most of the time. I probably still err on the side of “not enough self promotion,” but it’s greater than zero, and I’m all right with that for now.
The most significant result of my first self-publishing experience may well be the comfort it brings me as I think about my second self-publishing experience. Barring some major change of plans, that experience will be my first official novel, Flowers of Dionysus which I intend to have out late spring, 2015. It of course will take longer, but as it is still a simple structure with no pictures or charts, the process for formatting it should be much the same as my experience for this collection of short stories. Much of the intimidation such things have is in their total newness. I’m sure there will be problems along the way the next time I do this, but none of those problems will be related to the novelty of the experience. The proof is there that I’ve done this once, start to finish, within the deadline I set for myself. That fact will be half of what i need to get through the process the second time.
In conclusion, there is a huge amount of work that goes into something like this just to get to launch. There is even more work to do to promote and market and convince others to buy the book and talk it up. (You can help, blog readers, by please buying a copy and spreading the word for me!) Still, there’s an undeniable satisfaction in concluding this process successfully, and within the time frame I wanted. I do feel empowered moreso than i ever would be going the agent route, and control and power are important things to me in my creative endeavors. The difficulties are not lost on me, but they are the difficulties I chose to subject myself to, as opposed to those someone foisted upon me.
In conclusion, this first experience in self-publishing has for me been neither magical nor shameful. It feels right now exactly as it is; a creative work into which I put much effort and imagination that has now come to at least the initial stages of fruition. Though I have nothing with which to compare it right now, I have to feel that I’ve made the right choice.
Stay tuned for periodic updates on how the experience is going.