Rachel, writing

All things novelling-related as I embark on my self-publishing adventure

How to write a novel: 8 Published!

Once The Syndrome Diaries was uploaded to Amazon, it was live within hours. There was a huge temptation to carry on fine-tuning the content and to hold back on publicity: one of the hardest things about publishing is letting go of your baby, knowing that it could still be better. Everything can be better, but there’s a danger of editing and editing and never letting the novel leave home. So I emailed,  tweeted and facebooked.

One sale. Just one person wanted to read my book.

At first, I was downhearted. Then I was confused: I knew at least three people had bought it. They’d told me. Then I realised: the reports analyse by territory. The default report is for .com, but there are separate figures for .co.uk. It was a huge relief to find the drop-down menu and see 7 more sales.

The toughest aspect of publishing has been the marketing. I get annoyed by repeated tweets so didn’t want to make that mistake, but I’ve probably been too cautious. So far, I’ve tweeted once for the ebook launch, once when I got the paperback proof and once when it received its first review (five stars!). I think I can probably get away with a little more than that. I generated some interest at a local reading event, though I spent more on other people’s books than I made on mine. Still, is that really so bad? I like reading as well as writing.

I’d love to share my sales figures, but my Amazon contract forbids me from doing so and I’d rather not get on the wrong side of my main sales channel. The rumoured ‘whoosh’ of sales hasn’t materialised, but the word is spreading, and the feedback has been positive. One frequent comment has been that the person doesn’t have a Kindle, so I’ve been blowing the trumpet for the free Kindle smartphone app. Originally, I was only going to publish an ebook, but a few people encouraged me to try Lulu.com’s print-on-demand service. I’ve had to price the paperback at £7.95 to cover costs, which is  a little high to generate impulse purchases (the ebook, at under £2, is more likely to do that) but it’s out there if anyone wants it! It was easy to take the Word document I’d prepared for the ebook and tweak it for Lulu, and I was lucky that the cover art I’d designed for the ebook doesn’t require a high resolution and actually looks pretty good as a hard copy. Other than my proof copy (about £8 including postage), I’ve not paid anything to make it available.

Self-publishing has to be considered a long-term project, with gradual awareness-raising alongside more novel-writing. And that’s fine. I’ve had loads of fun writing and publishing this first novel and I’ve no intention of stopping.

So that, in 8 blogs, is the story of a novel’s 2-year journey from NaNoWriMo 2010 to Amazon 2012.  If there’s anything I haven’t covered, or that you’d like more info on, please add your comment and I’ll do my best to help.

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4 thoughts on “How to write a novel: 8 Published!

  1. Thanks for the update Rachel. From what I’ve read, sales are greatly helped by having multiple works out there, so I’m glad to hear you have no intention of stopping! Best of luck to you.

  2. Thanks for being so interesting and helpful. My co-authors and I are followingin your footsteps (even to looking at the .com sales figures and despairing!), We have just produced Click to Click: tales of internet dating and Oxtale Soup: stories of Oxfrod and Oxfordshire. Later – if we can afford start-up costs – we hope to have a paper edition. I was thinking of Lulu, but the Society of Authors seeem to recommend that for non-fiction.
    It is all a little more complicated with multiple authors and two groups of them.

  3. I admit I’m not an expert on which routes are best for specific types of book; a couple of people suggested Lulu, and Ali Luke recommends it in ‘Publishing E-books for Dummies.’ One of the books I bought at the reading evening was Lulu-published, so I had some idea of how the book would look (it actually turned out better than I expected), but I’m probably fumbling around a little and getting things sorted as much by luck as anything. I’ve arranged so that Lulu will pay in sterling into my paypal account, but I’m not sure how you’d work it with multiple authors. How have you arranged it on Amazon?

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