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.