Monday, 23 January 2012

So you want to self-publish your work?

I'm all for helping people to get their work out there, for all to see and read but - I won't lie - I'm fussy about who I help.

For instance... if you're blonde, attractive, single (or immoral with own transport), complete with breasts.... yeah.... chances are, I'll help you. Oh wait, don't go. I'm kidding. I'll help nearly anyone. Male or female. And, I don't even need anything for it.

However, before I start to help people get their work in the public domain I ask them a very simple question; what's your goal?

It's how they answer that determines whether I can be arsed (technical term) to give them support... for let us be honest... I'm a very busy man. It's tough being a well known, published genious... genis... geniarse.... clever person such as myself. Cough.

I best point out now, right, that artistic licence is used through-out my weekly blogs.

Anyway... moving on...

If someone replies to me in such a way which suggests they are only in it for the money... I tell them to bugger off. Give up now. Move on. Find another job. Choose a different hobby. There are millions of wanna-be-writers out there scribbling down their thoughts and releasing to a worldwide audience and it;s rare that, as a self published author, you make the big bucks. Or Pounds. Depending on where you live.

The depressing thing is - some of these writers are extremely talented (such as myself.... you can find my work on Amazon Kindle and it is a BARGAIN.... what??? What's your problem? It's my blog, I'll advertise if I want too!) and it's a shame to think that real publishers, agents etc etc won't give them the break they so obviously deserve. But, as hinted at earlier, competition is extremely fierce.

Like my cat, really. You know... when I don't bring her her Whiskas Cat Food in the morning, newspaper and cup of coffee... Proper grouchy. Well fierce.

If you're contemplating self-publishing, the chances are you have already gone through the channels of trying to get an agent or publisher or what-not. If not, look into it - never say never - but be prepared to face A LOT of rejection (I used capitals then to really drive the point home, I hope you noticed) and don't think it will be a walk in the park. For years I struggled with sending ideas off to people, banging on doors, banging doors and even banging windows and yet I couldn't get close to these elusive people. Do they even exist, I often wondered to myself.

That was a lie. I never wondered that. I just thought 'bollocks'.

If you want to go down that particular avenue, though, I suggest you stop reading now because I'm not even going to touch upon it. I won't even mention a good book, such as The Writers and Artists Year book, which has lots of useful information, phone numbers, email addresses and even real addresses too, of where you can send your work. Nope. Won't mention it. Oh hang on.... dammit.

Back to self-publishing...

Years ago I started with a company called Lulu. I found them via my friend Google (he talks to me) and followed the relatively simple step-by-step process of releasing my first book. My first book, incidentally, was a cartoon book based on Sperm. Because that, my friend, is how mature I am. I thank you.

Lulu gave me my own storefront, let me even set up the 'look' of my shop. Lulu even let me set the price, which in turn set my royalty level. I kept it low because I wanted people to buy it. And buy it they did, by Jove. (Who is Jove?)

Sooner after I have a bit of a breakdown (because I'm a bit mental, like) and ended up with doctor appointments and appointments with shrinks. It was all rather fun and I found myself, feeling really sorry for myself, writing a book - 'The Autobiography of a Nobody'. Over 200 pages examining my life, and ripping it to pieces poking fun at myself and generally having a laugh with the narrative. At first I thought I was doing it for me but, soon after finishing it, I thought - there's loads of people like me (who suffer from depression, blah blah) so why not release it. Lulu offered ISBN (barcode bit on the back of books) and told me how to get my work on Amazon and other major resellers! Awesome!

And away I went. Less than two months later, I was telling the chicks (when the rohypnol wore off) that I was a published author. They still screamed. Broke my heart.

Moving on...

The problem with Lulu was the charges. It got expensive. To make any money you had to have high prices for your book and - the chances of selling books at a price THAT high (again, my groovy use of Capital letters... I rock) were remote. I still released more books though but, instead of putting a high price, I set the price really low (just over £5.00) - I sold a fair few but was only making 20p a book. Do you know how depressing that is???

And that's when I stumbled across Amazon KDP.

If you want to find it - ask my mate Google. Sure, I could provide the links but, next you'll be asking me to write the damned book for you too (and you should because I am great.... did I mention that already?)

Basically this lets you release directly to Kindle - as an Ebook. Again, you get to set the price.... you get to do the cover design... basically you do everything. And the beauty is - you get most of the royalty to yourself!

Again, don't go thinking this is a get rich quick scheme. I currently have 8 books available through Kindle and the most I make, per book, is £1.30 (ish) but, it's better than a kick in the teeth. It's nice to know, though, that my work is out there and getting read....

Sending letters off to various people hoping to get a big book signing was a dream. I couldn't even get these people to read my books, let alone offer me a deal. So the fact I now have people reading my books and (for the best part) leaving great reviews.... well, really makes a guy feel loved.

And to me - the reviews and other feedback I've received....

That is why I chose to self-publish.

A nice little hobby which enables me to get my work out to an audience other than just my mum and dad and the chance of earning a little extra beer money (I don't drink beer but it seemed better than putting 'prostitutes and drugs')

So.... If your goal is just to get your work out into the Big Wide World.... self-publish.

You have nothing to lose.

And don't forget - once you have tested the waters with releasing to Amazon, you can then get your work onto other places such as Smashwords too. There are many platforms with which you can release your Ebooks. The more places you release.... the more you're likely to sell. But don't forget to publicise your work around the web too! Create a free webpage, talk about your books on Facebook, talk about your books on various kindle forums within Amazon.... TELL EVERYONE!

And remember....

Even if one book isn't selling - KEEP WRITING!!! One of my books is on Amazon for 77p. It took me over a year to write it. I have sold zero copies (that's talent, that is). Another book, I have sold hundreds of copies.... Swings and Roundabouts.

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