The First Book Sale

I’ve just done a small leap of excited joy. I got it. That elusive first book sale. I’m over the moon!

I’d never thought about self publishing before. That was, until I read the article with Amanda Hocking on The Guardian website which outlined her supreme success at making it as an e-author. Suddenly, an entire new world came into focus and I realised that the novels which had been languishing in my computer files could actually become something. Yes, they’d need some work, some hard hours and many edits to get them to a stage where I’d be happy to publish them. But, I could publish them, me, myself. I could put them online for everyone to see and reap the rewards and disappointments as they came.

So, in earnest, I set out to complete Inside Evil. A couple of months later and several extreme edits and rewrites, I uploaded to Amazon in less than a huge fanfare. In fact, I’ve been so secretive about my works that I haven’t shared it on Twitter or Facebook…surely a HUGE marketing faux pas. It’s not my fear of being rejected as such, but the fear of friends and family having to go through the motions of pretending to love my work whilst secretly hiding their true feelings. That’s what I truly fear. Releasing works which those who I love actually think are not worth the paper that they’re written on yet cannot say such things to my face. I can cope with strangers hating my work and criticising. From loved ones; that’s a whole other ballgame.

Having done NOTHING in the way of research into self publishing and marketing, I’m brand new at this whole venture. My sister bought the first copy of the book, but, to my delight, I’ve just signed into my account and almost a week to the hour after first uploading, I’ve my first sale. I’ve really done nothing in the way of marketing, other than setting up this blog and though one tiny, little, insignificant sale may seem like nothing, I’m overjoyed.

I’m now an author. I’ve published, I’ve sold. What an incredible feeling. And now I have to strive to continue this feeling for the upwards struggle!

Shelfari; A Worthwhile Resource?

If you publish with Amazon, which is highly advisable if you’re trying to reach the Kindle market, then they take great pains to mention Shelfari as an extra resource. Like Goodreads, this book group community offers a place to create libraries of your favourite books, rate and add details about novels, and meet with other readers. But I’m wondering, is it any good?

I’m not well versed in Goodreads and as Inside Evil doesn’t yet have an ISBN, I haven’t had the chance to discover whether this community can help build a book’s profile. Amazon’s Shelfari offers to be a promising tool, particularly because Amazon state that the extras which are tagged onto digital books in Shelfari can be made available to readers. This ultimately means that readers can access a custom built library of characters, book themes, places etc to either supplement a book that they’ve read or offer an added attraction to buy. But, does it actually work??

Like Goodreads, you need to build up followers and friends, so launching a book into Shelfari offers little initial help because your work falls in front of no one. If you’ve been using the site for a while, then it could promise a few sales as you’ll already have friends and followers. I’m also unsure as to whether this is actually a thriving community of readers, or a place which offers a few days of novelty before users drift away. Could the same be said for Goodreads? I’m not sure.

I’m determined to continue with Shelfari for a while, adding some character biographies and book extras to see whether any sales can be created. Once I get my ISBN I’ll also give Goodreads a shot and compare the two.

Do you use either website? Have you found it helpful as either a reader or a writer, or both? Let me know and we’ll see whether we can determine if each resource is worth the time and effort.

Maximise Your Exposure With E-Novel Self Publishing

One of the things I’ve very quickly come to discover with releasing an e-novel is that you need maximum exposure. Gone are the days when the niche was in its infancy and a new book appeared on the ‘recently published’ screen for days. Now, with the ease of publishing, you will find that your book very quickly disappears off that first page and is lost amongst a sea of other authors also trying have the words noticed. If you’re waiting to sit back and see the book sales come in, then don’t have high expectations, because the chance of readers actually finding your novel are slim.

One of the best ways to maximise your novel in the first few days of publishing is by spreading across many platforms. Amazon’s Kindle is obviously a leading device in the area of e-novels, and you should look to use it as a number one resource. You should create author pages so that customers can more easily browse your work. Annoyingly,  you’ll need to create an author page for each of Kindle’s markets including .com,, .de etc, but it’s well worth the effort. Amazon also have their Kindle Library which offers you the chance the lend your book, for free, to customers whilst taking a cut of a sizeable authors fund. However, if you’re looking for maximum exposure as quickly as possible, I’d suggest not taking this route.

The Amazon Kindle Library (KDP Select) requires you to make your novel exclusive to Amazon for 90 days. In return, you’ll get a cut of the $600,000 author fund in relation to how many times your book is borrowed. However, if you’re not expecting to make a splash with your publication, you very unlikely to get a large cut of the fund.

Instead, it’s worthwhile heading to Smashwords, a website very similar to Amazon in that you can publish your novel there. From here, Smashwords allows you to spread your e-novel to iBooks, the Nook, Sony Reader and multiple other platforms. Royalty rates are high and the spread of your novel is vast. Formatting, whilst slightly different to Amazon, is very easy, especially if you’ve already gone through the process with Amazon, and you can be completed in mere hours.

Rather than publishing only on Amazon and thinking as Smashwords as an additional option, you should look to both platforms as having equal pegging on the priority ladder. And, though you may miss out on KDP Select payments, the opportunity to maximise sales on other platforms is well worth it.