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Here’s the intro from the book. Copyright Shoshanna Evers 2012, 2014 All Rights Reserved.
by Shoshanna Evers
Welcome! Successful Self-Publishing: How We Do It (And How You Can Too) is all of the advice and inspiration I’ve wanted to share with authors for a while now. As both an independent and traditionally published author, I can tell you from experience that there are pros and cons to both routes. Ultimately, the best thing about self-publishing is the ability to retain control over all aspects of your own book, and to make more money per sale doing so.
Numerous other successful authors have joined me to contribute their knowledge and tips on how they’ve achieved their goals through self-publishing. We’ve got specific suggestions, Do’s and Don’ts, and so much energy and excitement for this new world of publishing that by the time you finish reading, you’ll be ready to take the steps to put your manuscript out into the world as a published book.
I’m not against traditional publishing. I consider myself a business woman as well as an author. My business is the business of “being Shoshanna Evers.” That involves much more than just writing books. More than half of my work day is spent not writing, but in publishing or promotion-related endeavors. When I heard that I could get 70% royalties based on list price if I published a book myself instead of going through one of my publishers, I made a business decision: It was time to dip my toes in the self-publishing waters. And wow, the water feels great!
We start with USA Today Bestseller Kallypso Masters’s inspiring journey of how she quit her part-time day job making thirty grand a year (including benefits) and went on to net well over six figures as a debut indie author. She’s very pro-indie, to the point that she thinks getting an agent and accepting a traditional book deal that includes her digital rights is like flushing money down the toilet.
I can see where she’s coming from—after running the numbers before accepting a six-book deal with a large traditional publisher, I felt I could make more money on my own, since as JA Konrath says, 70% royalties forever is worth more than 14.9% royalties, and forever is a long time—but I wanted to try something different to see how it went. Point being, I went into it with open eyes. Whatever you do, go into a project with your eyes open and know what you’re gaining and what you’re losing by taking a certain route. Most important to me in any contract is that I am still able to self-publish if I sign it.
Author Gia Blue hit number twenty three on the overall Amazon Kindle Bestsellers list with a
short erotic story and continues to self-pub what she calls her “smut” since she feels publishers won’t touch it but…readers love it.
New York Times and USA Today Bestseller H.P. Mallory talks about the importance of great cover art and how to make the most of your cover to sell your books, and build your brand.
Then, author Cara Bristol interviewed me about the business of writing. In the interview I give candid answers about how I went from completely unknown (in fact, Shoshanna Evers did not exist at all, since it’s my pen name) to making a living as a full-time author. It includes my tips on when—or if—to find an agent and go the traditional publishing route, or whether self-publishing is the best choice for you.
Liz Matis’s book spent almost two years in editor limbo before she pulled the plug and decided to go it alone. She also talks about how she put her self-published book out as an ebook, a print book using print-on-demand, and an audio book—all with a zero to low start-up costs.
Having a high quality product that’s well written, well edited, well formatted, and has a great cover are all an important part of respecting our readers, something Katriena Knights (who also writes as Elizabeth Jewell and KC Myers) discusses in her essay.
Amazon Bestselling author Heather Thurmeier gives us her top ten list of tips for successful self-publishing, plus a bonus tip. She doesn’t gloss over the hard work involved or the fact that your book-baby might not sell as well as you hoped. Then again, it might…
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer Probst found a place for her story about a rescue dog by self-publishing it, and now writes a check each month with part of the book proceeds to the animal shelter where she volunteers. She found a wonderful way to contribute to charity with the gift that keeps on giving—royalties!
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Skye Warren did an experiment. She put two novellas up for sale and told no one to see what would happen. Her experiment led to some fascinating insights on self-publishing, including the importance of discoverability and word-of-mouth in the absence of marketing.
Price points are an important facet of self-publishing, since we have the ability to be nimble with our pricing and make adjustments as needed. We can try different things to see how our books sell best and what makes the most money. I’ve found that when I price my books higher, I get less sales (and therefore a lower ranking on lists) but I make more money. My bestselling short story Overheated, however, is only 99 cents simply because it’s too short to make it cost more, in my opinion. It outsells my other books. Jackie Barbarosa discusses the pros and cons of the 99 cent price point and whether that should be part of your marketing strategy.
Donna McDonald kept getting rejections from traditional publishers who said her books were wonderful but there was no market for an older heroine. She proved them all wrong by self-publishing and now makes a living off of her self-pub income.
I interviewed USA Today Bestseller Debra Holland, and she explains how good reviews and making category bestseller lists on Amazon made her sales go through the roof. She sold over 120,000 books in her first fourteen months as a debut author.
Then David Kazzie, Amazon Bestseller and creator of the viral YouTube hit “So You Want to Write a Novel” talks about how putting his book up for free brought life to lagging sales.
I’ve also included Valerie Bowman’s Twitter primer for authors, which includes information on how to use hashtags and Triberr to maximize your follower reach. Being on Twitter is a great way to get connected to the publishing community and connect with readers.
Author K. Rowe gives her tips on marketing using free promo, including the importance of making it easy for readers to discover and get to your books via links.
So what happens if you put out a great book and it’s not selling? When Heather Hiestand, (who also writes as Anh Leod) had lagging sales on one of her indie books, she took it to a review website loop and asked for honest opinions on why it wasn’t selling. She changed her cover, blurb, and sale price to increase sales. One of the biggest benefits of self-publishing a book is that we can change things that don’t work until they do work.
The last article in this book is my essay Getting Published, which breaks down all the publishing terms, what they mean, how to format your manuscript, how to write a query letter, and how to decide if you want to pursue traditional publishing, self-publishing, or as I have done, both. For this updated 2014 version, I’m thrilled to be able to add New York Times and USA Today bestselling author to my bio, as well, thanks to the self-published box set MAKE ME: Twelve Tales of Dark Desire.
If you’re reading this introduction as an excerpt or sample pages, please know that you can download the book for free at SelfPubBookCovers.com. We want you to be successful. This is how we do it, and how you can too.