Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thoughts, Three Books In



Dearest Diary,

First, some caveats:

*This is actually Book 3 and Book 4 and Book 5, but in the world of self-publishing, this is my 1st and 2nd and 3rd books.

**I started this post a couple of months ago, on May 1, but I needed to stop and think about what happened. I was still too close to publishing the last book, and I wanted to make sure the rose-colored glasses (and gray cloud of New Book Craze) had passed.

So here we go!

Formatting

Thoughts after Book #2:

I thought I wanted to hire out. I have a fabulous formatter, if anyone needs a person. Only $30 for a book of about 55,000 words across multiple formats (Smashwords, Amazon, ePub). Email me at sydney strand books at gmail dot com. (No spaces & appropriate formatting needed.)

But then I realized I kept finding mistakes--and each time I went back for changes, I a) felt embarrassed to be bothering my formatter yet again and b) paid another $10. (Which was totally deserved, by the way.)

Thoughts after Book #3:

I went ahead and formatted for Amazon myself, using Scrivener.

Best. Decision. Ever. There was a one-day learning curve, but when I uploaded, no major problems were found (which is what happened with Book #1 when I formatted using Word). I recommend this book to help you through the process.

Promoting

There are a lot of timesucks and money sucks out there. If you want names, email me. (I don't want to put down anyone in public.) And after Book #3, I'm realizing that I'm not in a position to do any hardcore promotions. I need more books up first. More time devoted to putting up those books. To revising them, and to working on covers. Because the most important things are...

Wait, that's a new section.

Prioritizing

The most important things when treating this self-publishing world like a business are:

1) The story. Is it one that stands out in the crowded marketplace? 
2) The writing. Did the words get revised until you wanted to puke? Until you fell asleep over the words at 4 a.m. Again. For the fourth week and eight revision? Did they get proofread by others?
3) The cover. Does it look like it could blend in with a New York cover? Or does it look like your class assignment for Photoshop 101?
4) The knowledge. Are you reading what's happening in the market and how to better tap into that market? I'm far from an expert here, but I feel like I'm improving with each step (and mistake) I make.
5) The reassessments. Are you writing the stories that need to be written, and not just the one you feel you HAVE to do? I know that the former straight-A student in me wants to conquer "Next on the List!" But sometimes, the next thing on the list may have gotten stale. Or inconsequential. Maybe something else you were working on is striking a better chord with your readers, and you should concentrate on that story instead.

Okay. Better stop for now or this will NEVER get posted.

Onward and upwardly yours,
Sydney