1. Islandwriter
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    Islandwriter Member

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    My Adventures in Self Publishing

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by Islandwriter, Sep 2, 2013.

    Greetings,

    I have been away from this forum for many months, and I thought I would come back and tell a bit about my experience in Self Publishing.

    When I joined this forum I was writing my first novel, a international, adventure with a lot of sub plots, but after three months I realized I was not ready to write that kind of book, it was too complicated, to many layers and plots. I put the book a side and decided to write something simpler.

    I wrote a 35K word psychological thriller in about 2 weeks and when it was done I was ready to send it of to a publisher. Then I thought: "I'll have to wait at least six weeks for a YES or NO,then several months or even a year before i see any money for my work." So I decided to Self Publish.

    I decided on Smashwords, they deliver to several other ebook retailers, so I thought that was a good idea.
    After doing some research on Smashwords and other Ebook retailers I noticed that Erotica were big sellers across the board. Some of them quiet short, maybe 20K to 30K words, and they were selling for $2.99.

    My spanking new Psychological Thriller went on the shelf, and I began to type Erotica. I did three books over three weeks at 25K words each more or less. When I had them ready I found a guy who would help me with some fancy covers. Then I went through the grueling pain of formatting them to Smashwords formatting rules, and then I uploaded.

    I put the first book in the series as FREE, then the other two at $.99.

    Nothing, nothing. BOM! My first sale. I was so happy, someone in cyberspace had bought one of my books.
    The sales trickled in, I didn't promote these books, I didn't tweet, facebook or anything else, just used tags on Smashwords.

    During this time I wrote three more Erotica novels, but these I entered in to Amazon KDP Select program, and I increased the price to $2.99,and they are selling.

    Then I uploaded my Psychological Thriller, and after six weeks, I have had two sales. Lesson learned, Erotica sells more.
    But,I have now written a sequel to the Psychological thriller and I'm writing the third installment in the trilogy.
    When I uploaded to KDP I did open a Blog, FB page, under each of my pen names, Fiction/Erotica.

    Lessons learned.
    1..Self Publishing is easy.
    2..KDP sells more than Smashwords.
    3..Erotica sells
    4..You have to be ready to change Genre if one doesn't sell.
    5..You have to have more than one book out there, just writing one and sit down and wait won't work for most of us.


    Good luck to all!
     
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  2. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    I must admit, I have been tempted to venture into erotica to see if I can make more money that way, but I'd have to write it under another nym :).
     
  3. Islandwriter
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    Islandwriter Member

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    Not a problem. Both Smashwords and KDP let's you use up to three pen names linked to your real name.
    It's a lot of fun, and you can write about things you would never talk about in "polite" company.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm curious... how much actual cash has come to you from all of those works in total?... over what period of time?

    do you feel that to be ample pay for the time and effort you put into writing them?
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm just sitting here thinking you immediately published a book you wrote in two weeks, and wonder why it didn't sell well. Then wrote three books in three weeks and put them up for sale and they "are selling". Sorry, but I can't help but wonder what kinds of sales you would have if you had actually taken some time after writing the books to, you know, edit and polish...
     
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  6. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with shadowwalker. Personally, I wouldn't consider publishing so quickly, or at such a low word count. To me, that would be bare bones first draft. I also don't see much point in churning out quick erotica novelettes, because of course anything tittilating will sell, but I prefer to write meaningful stories, and if they have erotica in them, that's fine. But meaningful stories take a lot longer to write than a few weeks. I feel the reader deserves better effort than that. However, I by no means judge anyone who chooses to publish the way you did and wish you success in the future :)
     
  7. Islandwriter
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    Islandwriter Member

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    It's like this:
    mammaia...Without getting into my personal finance, I can say they paid for my utilities for that month, and the feling of someone actually paying there hard earned cash for one of my books, that's a amazing feeling. How are did your sales do during the summer?

    Shadowwalker/jazzabel...There are several software that helps authors edit and check for grammar and spelling mistakes, I also have beta readers and an editor, and while I write I send them 1.2.3 etc chapters to work on while I keep on writing, then when the book is finished the editor does a final double, and triple check. Some mistakes do pass check and my reviewers tell me about them, but what they agree on is that the story or stories are solid and a good read. This way I learn from mistakes and hopefully become a better writer
    Meaningful stories to whom? To the author surely,but the people out there, they want a good story, or in this case a exciting story to take them away from their normal day to day. Have you ever read 50 Shades of Gray? You should, the grammar sucks, the plot is so so,but the story grabs you, and guess what, the author sold a few copies :)
    Then you got your Homer, Old man and the Sea, Mitchener's books and so on,they are fantastic books, but how many of us simple humans can create that kind of fiction? I know I can't, what I can do is tell a story, and if i can get my readers to download in two days a mix of 15 of my Erotic stories, I'm a happy camper.Why? Because some one out there are reading my stories, and maybe, they are waiting for another, which I will write for them.

    In the end we are all story tellers, people like to read a good story, get involved, feel the characters, and connect with them. If there are spelling or/and grammar mistakes you will be forgiven, BUT if your story sucks, you won't.

    As far as why my psychological thriller doesn't sell, the competition is fierce. My Erotica genre is very limited so my books sell better there.
     
  8. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it all depends on the standard each writer sets for themselves. I am pretty sure 3 books in 3 weeks isn't evident of giving each book your best effort. I am not saying you should do anything different, obviously you know best what works for you, but since you offered your experiences and advice, be prepared to hear opinions. :)

    I was in a similar position you are describing, but once the initial euphoria of fans and popularity wore off, I wanted to do more and better. And the amount of effort that goes into a carefully crafted novel is incomparable, but still, in my opinion, worth the effort.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  9. Islandwriter
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    Islandwriter Member

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    No problem with opinions, I just like to have my stories read.

    cherio!
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't sell my books... i give them away, free of copyright restraints, to anyone who finds them of interest, as my motive is not to make money, but only to enlighten...
     
  11. rara_avis
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    rara_avis New Member

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    Hi Islandwriter

    Thanks for this. My experience is not so good on the self-publishing front. I have written two books and published them both on Amazon. I wrote an historical novel of 115,000 words that sold 51 copies in 8 months, and a sci-fi novel of 130,000 words that sold 290 copies in 7 months.

    The historical novel took months to research and write and was really hard work, and the sci-fi I just hammered out in a few short weeks, but as you can see, I made much more money from the sci-fi. I enjoyed writing both. It's my conclusion also that soft-porn (aka erotica, lol) is what you have to write if you want to increase your chances of selling lots of copies, but I'm not into that at all. I'm happy just plodding along writing what I enjoy writing, and I am thinking about writing some detective fiction next.
     
  12. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @rara_avis: Considering it sold at all, and 290 copies isn't nothing, I would encourage you to try to get traditionally published next time. Because it seems you can write well enough for people to want to spend the money, so it makes sense to aim higher. Besides, imagine if you had a really good editor behind your sci fi novel, and a publisher to hype it up and advertise it, it would sell a lot better. :)
     
  13. Tennysonwren
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    Tennysonwren Member

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    You mentioned beta readers and and an editor, is this a paid service? Can others access these services, your imput would be appreciated.
     
  14. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe you should use your spellcheck on these posts...

    I can't believe anyone can churn out 3 books of any quality in 3 weeks and expect to get repeat business.
     
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  15. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    I wouldn't write erotica even if it sells more.It's not about money for me.

    Good read by the way. Seems inspiring.
     
  16. Dresden260
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    Dresden260 Corrupt Diplomat

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    But. but the money D: I agree with you about that although not because of the money aspect. I don't have the drive or (Imagination?) to write erotica. It's meh...
     
  17. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Erotica just seems a bit to perverted for my taste. I guess people like to get turned on by arousing words, but hey sex sells. I'd love to make money off my future writing projects but I am not going to force myself to cook up a story associated with a popular genre to make some quick bucks. I see all of my stories as something special, something I'm faithful too.
     
  18. Dresden260
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    Dresden260 Corrupt Diplomat

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    If and when I go to publish my novels I'm going to self publish. I don't aim to be a bestselling author. I more or less just have fun writing. You're right with not forcing to go to another genre. Don't be an erotica sellout :p
     
  19. alex ramirez
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    alex ramirez New Member

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    Erotica sells. That and stories about teenagers who fall in love with teen wolves.. Write what makes you happy and and not what's going to make you rich. If you want to get rich, get a real job where the income is steady and you get promotions every six months or so.
     
  20. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Lessons I've learned from self pubbing?

    1 Self Pubbing is not easy. It's hard. It was and still is a steep learning curve for me as a writer. Those who go the trade pubbing route are spared an awful lot of pain. But its also highly rewarding doing it all yourself.
    2 Kindle sells more than Smashwords? Absolutely. For me the ratio's about a hundred to one in sales.
    3 Erotica sells? Maybe. Wouldn't know what sells and what doesn't. But I think every genre has its day.
    4 You have to be ready to change genre? No. I write sci fi and fantasy. It's all I know. Very few authors I think can simply switch like that to something new. And if they tried they'd probably not like the results.
    5 You have to have more than one book out? Absolutely.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto the question...
     
  22. LegendsTheFour
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    LegendsTheFour Member

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    I feel like publishing a book at a publisher house is more stable? I mean, you have people around you to look over your books, give you advice, and sure it takes longer, but I rather release something that is 100% a year later than release something that's 80% a year faster... But good on you anyway!
     
  23. Amyfire
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    Amyfire Banned

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    Congratulations!
     

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