First, I would like to welcome and thank Lindsay for taking the time to guest post here with us at Lisa’s World of Books. Being e-published is a bit of a mystery for most people so Lindsay is going to share what she has learned.
What I’ve Learned from E-publishing
I’m about six months into my e-publishing career with two, soon to be three, novels out and a couple of shorter works such as my latest release, a steampunk novella called Flash Gold. I’m a long ways from becoming a bestseller and making a fortune (hah, aren’t we all?), but I’m now making a respectable part time income from my ebooks. I’ve learned quite a bit along the way, and I thought some of you might be interested in hearing about it(especially if you’re a writer thinking of bypassing the traditional route and self-publishing your work).
Without further ado…
What I’ve Learned from E-publishing
Marketing is tough but mandatory.
Whether you self-publish or go through a publishing house, you’re on your own for marketing these days. So many writers are introverts, myself included, that it’s difficult to warm to the idea of promoting your books, but it’s part of the gig. If we want to succeed, we have to blog, tweet, guest post (yup, that’s why I’m here!), and you might even throw in a YouTube video or an iTunes podcast.
If you work hard, and you’re a little lucky, you might be able to make a living at this.
I’ve read a lot of interviews and essays by my favorite traditionally published authors, many of whom are mid-listers rather than bestsellers. They’re usually the first to admit they either haven’t been able to give up the day job or they weren’t able to until they had a large number of books out (books that were popular enough to warrant re-printings and a perennial place on bookstore shelves).
With e-publishing, things are proving a little different. You keep 70% of the sales price instead of 15-25% (or less), and your books can remain on the virtual shelves indefinitely, so nothing goes out of print. In the last few months, e-readers have really taken off and so have ebook author success stories. Some indies that, based on their Amazon sales rankings, would be considered midlist are making a full-time income from their earnings (some a very good full-time income!).
Readers are willing to take a risk on self-published authors.
Before I got into e-publishing, I have to admit, I sneered at the idea of buying self-published books. Like many, I’d been burned, encountering poorly edited stories with weak characters and yawn-worthy plots. But, since I bought a Kindle, I’ve changed my tune and so have many other readers.
For one thing, indie ebooks tend to be a lot more affordable than traditionally published offerings. That makes them attractive at least in one respect. It’s easier to sift through the dirt to find the gems with ebooks too. This is because you can download a sample before buying. That’s usually enough for me to know whether a story will be worth my time (and money). I’m a picky reader, but I’ve found some high-quality self-published fiction out there.
Also, I’ve been honored by all the folks willing to take a chance and buy my work.
Helping others can be a way to help yourself.
I mentioned that you have to learn how to market and promote yourself (well, your work anyway!) if you want to sell books, but you don’t necessarily have to blog/tweet/facebook/etc. about you, you, you all the time. In fact, people can grow tired of that quickly.
On my e-publishing blog, I have a category for interviews and success stories where I talk to other indie authors who are doing well for themselves. This is an opportunity for them to get the word out about their own work, but it’s had positive repercussions for me too.
When I post an interview with someone, it’s natural for them to link to it or at least mention it on the social media sites. This sends some of their fans to my site where they may find out about me for the first time (and maybe some of them happen to like the kinds of books I write). I’ve also had some of the authors return the favor by interviewing me for their blogs.
Like your mom said, it pays to be nice!
These are just a few of the things I’ve learned on my e-publishing journey. If you’re interested, stop by my blog to read more about the topic. Or, if you’re a fantasy fan, please consider checking out Flash Gold (preview up at my site) or one of my other ebooks. Thanks!
Thanks again Lindsay for visiting with us today! I will be reviewing Lindsay’s Novella, Flash Gold, her tomorrow. Please come back and check it out!