It’s been a week since I self-published my first novel with KDP. When I was doing research for self-publishing, I saw a lot of people bragging about their hundreds of books that sold per day and how effective their promotions and countdowns were. I didn’t realize then that most of those people already had an established audience, and had clientele that were already interested in buying their book. Being a first-time author who has never really accomplished much else in life (besides being a part of a wonderful family, that is), I had no idea how invisible I truly was until I tried to self-publish a novel. In some ways, it’s a lot like digging your way out of your own grave.
Truth #1: No one cares.
Okay… maybe not no one. Some of your family and friends will support you, but no one else out in the real world has any idea who you are or why they should pay attention to your work. This does not mean all is lost; it just means that you are going to have to work a thousand times harder to get your name and your novel out there. You have to be really creative with your marketing and the description/cover artwork for your novel, or you’re going to get lost in the shuffle. That’s just how it is.
Truth #2: Self-pub isn’t free.
As soon as you start putting a self-pub novel out there, you are going to have a lot of offers for help with marketing. The thing is, most of those marketing services cost a minimum of $10/month. If you expect to make money off a self-pub novel, you have to have money first (which, unfortunately, I do not) or have an established clientele/audience already.
Truth #3: It’s a lot of stress.
That whole nail-biting thing I mentioned in a previous post has not let up ever since I submitted my novel to KDP. My stomach is still in knots as I type this. I’m constantly checking Amazon to see if I’ve sold any copies or if I’ve got any new reviews. It will steal your life and your sanity, so just be prepared for that.
Truth #4: Self-pub is liberating.
Not only can you make sure your novel or book keeps all the important parts and stays the way you want it, you can also upload new versions if something does have to be changed. Made a mistake while editing? Just upload a new version. Need to fix a scene or inconsistency? Upload a new version. Need to change the ending so it will match your next installment? Apologize, and upload a new version. It’s quite nice, actually.
Truth #5: Self-pub can work.
In all honesty, the fourth truth about self-pub can make all the other ones worth it. I love having control of my work and being able to have full say over what stays and goes. That doesn’t mean I’ll never consider traditional publishing again, even for this novel, but it does mean I’m not giving up hope just yet. So far, I’ve got two great reviews and a decent amount of downloads and buys, so we’ll see where this book can go with self-pub. If I strike it rich with the lottery or something, I’ll hire some people who can help me with marketing and make it really big.
All in all, self-publishing is a challenging, risky business and if you like letting other people handle things for you, it is not for you. However, if you like having control over your own work and not having to wait on rejection letters and denied manuscripts, self-pub might be for you.
Here’s the link to my self-published, ages 16+ YA novel, Diary of a Rocker’s Kid, in case you’re interested: D.O.R.K. on Kindle
Hope you all have a great day or evening!