A Year Of Self-Publishing

Exactly a year ago I made the decision to self-publish my first novel “Seascape”.

Over the course of the year I completed the editing and publishing process, I had 1 book launch, two store signings, three library visits. I was a book club selection for two book clubs. I did three assorted author sales. And I did a couple of community farmer’s markets. My book is in two bookstores, and two drugstores.

I have done almost no promotion other than this blog and Facebook, one newspaper advertisement and a couple of flyers at local post offices.

I have sold around four hundred printed copies and 75 eBooks, with almost no effort. Of course this begs the question, what might my results have been with considerable effort? Unfortunately I suck at sales. I am my own worst enemy, because I do not know how to toot my own horn, and I hate to impose and ask for the consideration of others. I have stretched myself a bit in this department. I am willing to stretch a bit father, but for the most part, this is never going to be my strong suit.

My strong suit is writing a book that people enjoy reading, even those who were certain they would have to groan and bear it. If I could get a dollar for every man who read it and said they didn’t think they’d like it, but enjoyed the whole thing, well I’d have about thirty dollars, at least. If you had to take away a dollar for every person who did not enjoy my book well I’d still have my thirty bucks. If someone has not liked it, they sure haven’t let word get back to me.

Word of mouth means everything. My book has sold for the most part on word of mouth. The trick is getting my book into people’s hands. Once it is there they enjoy it, pass it on, and buy more copies for others. I am blessed by repeat customers. That is wonderful for me because these are not just individual sales. Many purchasers of “Seascape” will return when the next book comes out. I may not have pushed my book into a great many hands, but almost every hand that took a book has become a fan and champion of my work. I know I have a small but firm base I can build on.

Over the course of the year the lessons were endless. I know where to spend my money and my time in the future. I know that bookstores are my least favorite sales locations. I know that if I can afford it, I am better off hiring someone to help with promotion. I am great at showing up but not so good at finding events and locations to market myself. I sold where I did not think I would sell. I did not do well where I thought I would. Through it all I made some great connections, bought some great books by other authors, and reaffirmed my belief that other writers are some of my favourite people.

Self-publishing seemed like such a monumental task and it turned out to be a life changing event. Looking back on the choice, I can say it was a fantastic decision and I have no regrets. If I do not secure a book deal with the next book I am writing, I would definitely go this route again.

8 thoughts on “A Year Of Self-Publishing

  1. wantonwordflirt

    Nice to see you back blogging!

    Reading about your first venture out to the self-published book arena, reminds me of the Indie music thing….you never know which venues / avenues will be the best for promoting / selling one’s music…..very unpredictable.

    Congrats on doing so well, with so little promo and zero marketing budget.

  2. Christine Molloy

    Congrats on your book! I really enjoyed this post. I self-published my first book the end of November and am currently in the marketing/promotion phase. Like you, I am not good at it; especially since it is a specialty non-fiction book. To be honest, I do not enjoy this process at all, mostly because it takes time away from writing and that is truly where my heart is at. I do not regret self-publishing at all because without it, I would probably not have a book out there that is helping many, but it IS a lot of uncomfortable work for me.

    1. ShannonRaelynn Post author

      Thanks so much Christine. Congrats on your accomplishments as well. If you ever want to swap stories or knock around promo ideas just let me know. I am waiting for my copy of your novel to show up in my mail box. I could not be happier to support you and Suzanne, one if your contributors, who is one of my dearest friends.

  3. ericjbaker

    Self-promotion is the worst! You have to get really pushy, i think, and brush it off when a promotional event does not yield tangible results. Still, you did well, and you have a novel with your name on it! Maybe the next one or the one after that really takes off, and then you’ll have a whole new crop of fans going back to get the older ones.

    Thanks for telling your story. It’s helpful for those following (or hoping to follow) in your footsteps.

  4. wantonwordflirt

    I agree with Eric. Don’t despair if you do not sell all of your first batch of books because most certainly after your next book, readers will be asking if you have others they can read (regardless of same genre or not). To sell 400 hard copies plus 75 digital with so little marketing really is an accomplishment to be proud of. Carry on! 🙂

  5. Pete Denton

    Well done on the sales for last year. I must admit to being a little surprised the digital sales were lower than the print sales. I thought more would have been through ebooks. Great numbers though and good luck with 2014 🙂

    1. ShannonRaelynn Post author

      Thanks Pete. I need to educate myself further on digital promotion. So much to learn and so little time


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