Sunday, April 24, 2011

Self-publishing: status report. Part II

Happy Easter, everyone.

So, I have some good news to report in this status update. I was reviewed over at Red Adept Reviews. You can read the review here.

If I haven't already pointed this out, I will now just so there is no confusion. HUSH, HUSH, MY LOVE was an experiment in self-publishing. Sure, I wrote it and had it published in a professional magazine, but I also used it to venture into the world of self-publishing, familiarize myself with the process to put it up on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords.

Well, one thing I learned was that you can give away stories (and books) on Smashwords. On B&N and Amazon, you can't. This is unfortunate because my short story is very short. I wouldn't charge anything for it if I was able to get away with that. Mainly, my intention was to put the story out there for free just so I could increase my audience, get my name out there to people who have never heard of me. Hopefully, my strategy has worked despite me having to charge for the damn story on Amazon and B&N. To any readers who purchased the story from either of those markets, I want to thank you and to apologize. I appreciate you parting with a buck to read my story. I apologize that is was so short. However, I hope you enjoyed it very much despite its brevity. I will be releasing an anthology soon with more short stories (all longer than HUSH, I promise). I hope you'll read it and enjoy some of my other work.

My downloads at Smashwords has slowed, but I think this is to be expected. The last time I looked (this afternoon), I had 169 downloads. I have no idea what other self-pubbed authors would expect, but for me, that is awesome! That's just in a month and the month isn't over yet. It surprises me because I am virtually unheard of, and like I said, this was an experiment, so I am very excited about that number. Also, I've sold two units on B&N and five on Amazon when I looked today.

I'm still researching marketing strategies, reading posts on the Kindle Board, as well as blog posts by Joe Konrath, Amanda Hocking, and other self-pubbed authors in addition to formatting and proofing my anthology. I'm eager to release the anthology because there's no feeling like seeing that people have taken an interest in something you've created.

I've traditionally published short stories in the past. As a matter of fact, I'm waiting for word on two short stories now. The thing I love most about self-publishing is the quick turnaround we writers have with our work. When I'm ready to give readers another story, I don't have to sit on my hands for months waiting for them to get it. All I have to do is design the cover and format it (all of which is under my control) and then upload it. It's as simple as that. There's none of this waiting and waiting and...

Lastly, I'd like to give a personal thank you to everyone who has downloaded a copy of HUSH. You guys rock! I appreciate it more than you know.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Self-publishing: status report. Part I

Okay, so my short story, Hush, Hush, My Love, has been available on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords now for nearly two weeks. Here's the lowdown on what's happened during that time.

B&N was the last one to make the story available. Despite the note on their site that says it takes anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, it took considerably longer. Almost a week! That's crazy slow, so just be forewarned.

Smashwords is my favorite of all the platforms so far. Why, you ask? Well, for starters, they are quick about making the work available to readers. As per my previous post, I had a lot of downloads quickly. Of course, that could be due to the story being free. To date, I've received four 4-star reviews. That really made my day to get those. The majority of the downloads came during the first two days and have since tapered off, but I am still seeing downloads each day.

On Amazon, I've only sold two copies. :( Not impressive, I know. I managed to sell one on B&N so far. If truth be told, I'm actually happy that I sold anything on Amazon or B&N. I mean, I haven't gone all out and tried to do any heavy marketing. Also, Hush is a short story. A very short story, at that, so asking someone to pay to read it is a long shot. (Although, I must admit, it's a damn good story and I think anyone who parts with a buck to read it won't be disappointed.)

So, there you have it. I've probably made $1.50 total from the story. But, that's not why I self-published the short story to begin with. The reason Hush is out there is two-fold. First, I wanted to make it available as a promotional tactic, in order to put my work out there and let readers see what I create. The other reason was for me to test the waters with self-publishing and experience the steps necessary to make my work available on the various platforms. So far, the experience has been very easy and pleasant.

For those who do not know, I am working on putting together a collection of my best short stories. The tentative title is An Adverse Anthology: strange & disturbing short stories. I'm nearly finished composing it and I hope you'll check it out when I publish it. Of course, you can bet I will make it known when it hits the various distribution channels. Also, I hope you'll come back to see what I have in the pipeline for future releases.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Experiences in self-publishing

This is probably the first post of many about my experiences with self-publishing. Recently, I've been reading a lot about authors embarking on this path and their stories. Most of these authors you may have heard of. Well, that is, if you're into that sort of thing. If you're reading this blog, I imagine you probably are.

So far, everything I've heard from these authors has been compelling enough for me to dip my proverbial toe into the self-publishing waters. If Amanda Hocking's or Barry Eisler's story doesn't excite you--well, you need to check for a pulse.

I began putting together my publication earlier this week. Actually, truth be told, it took me longer than that to construct the cover image and get it just right. I owe a shout out to James (a colleague at work) who gave me invaluable information to help me out in that department. Thanks, James! You da man. I managed to have everything prepared and uploaded my work to Amazon and Barnes & Noble Wednesday afternoon. That night, I went through the Style Guide on Smashwords, heeded its advice, and when finished, submitted my work to Smashwords.

Amazon and B&N state that it could take 24-48 hours until the work is available in the marketplace. If Smashwords gave an estimate, I don't remember what it was. When my submission was received by Smashwords, it said that I was number 808 in the queue. Needless to say, I figured it would be the last to hit the market. I was wrong. I received an email from Smashwords during the wee hours that said my book was available for download. Wow. That was fast.

My story did not hit the market on Amazon until today (Friday). Barnes & Noble still hasn't finished processing the submission. On the first day the story was available on Smashwords, I already had 89 downloads and received three four-star reviews. Although the first reviewer gave away one of the twists in the story. I can't believe he did that!

I wanted to release this story for free, as a promotional device to reach readers and spread my name. Well, the unfortunate downside to that plan is that Amazon and B&N require authors to sell their work. Smashwords, on the other hand, allows you to give work away. So, as a side note, let me apologize to anyone who is turned off that my story is only for sale on Amazon and B&N. It's not my fault. I would give it away on those platforms if I could, but alas, I can't.

So, there you have it. My experience so far with self-publishing. It has been exciting and pleasant. I hope it continues to be. Now, I must spread the word, let others know it is out there, available for download, and hope they get a copy. Even more, I hope they enjoy it and help spread the word.

So, if you've managed to read this far, I hope you've gotten something out of my experience thus far. Also, if you haven't yet read the story, here is the link so you can check it out. Free Smashwords copy. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy(ed) the story and I hope you'll come back for more.