Becoming a Publisher

This fall, I took the indie-publishing challenge and released my first book, Beneath A Silver Moon in digital format. I decided to try doing it myself, after less than spectacular results from my NY publisher and a small press. After all, the book had been sitting in my computer for years, wasn’t available in digital and only needed some work to get it into the correct format.
Actually, it took a LOT of work, because I had to retype the entire book. I now realize I could have paid someone to scan it and make it a digital document. But then, I wouldn’t have learned so much about my writing and how it’s changed.

So, I spent weeks retyping the book, made a few changes because I’ve learned a lot about action verbs and sentence structure. This book was edited by the way, by a big time NY publishing house editor. But there were things I wanted to change. And I could. One of the lovely things you can control when doing it yourself.

I also needed a new cover. I have a friend who is a graphic artist and designer. She’s very talented, (she designs stuff for True Blood), and when we met for coffee early last year she told me she would like to work on a cover design. This was a perfect opportunity for both us to learn together.

I decided to publish the book on Smashwords, which would put the book in Barnes & Noble, the Apple Store and several other outlets. They publish a FREE manual on how to do it, and my only advice is to follow every single step. That’s the key. Do all the things the manual tells you to do and you will be successful. Well, at least I was.

Then I joined Kindle Digital Publishing, which basically allows you to publish a book to the Kindle Store. Depending on the price of your book, you earn between 35% and 70% on sales.

I finally loaded the books in late October. I didn’t even check my sales for a few weeks. Not because I wasn’t interested, but because I didn’t know how. Thankfully, I found a Yahoo loop of Independent Published authors, and it was filled with great advice.
Sales started slow, but each week when I checked the report, they were growing. I’m now selling around 100 books per week, and last week I hit an Amazon best-seller list, (Western Romance), right between Nicolhas Sparks and Christine Feehan.
I also started to receive regular payments for the books, and I’m delighted to say while I won’t become rich, I am earning money on the book. And I’ve started the process for publishing my next book.

Indie publishing is not easy, there is a huge learning curve and you need to control a lot of things your publisher would handle for you. But, I enjoy that control and most of all I’m going to be able to publish the books I want to write.


9 responses to “Becoming a Publisher

  1. Seriously large congrats, Deb. Another breath of hope to all the wanna be’s out here.

  2. Whee! So great to hear of your success with indie. I went that route with my first as I couldn’t find a publisher, and given all I’ve learned, I am not sure I’d go traditional today. My 2nd will also be self pubbed. I agree it’s been a difficult but satisfying journey.


  3. I am in the process of helping a friend publish his first book through the self-pub system, and Wash and I are seriously thinking of doing the same with some adaptations of some of our work. It is refreshing to hear a success story! Big Congrats!


  4. Yes Raymond, it does hold out hope, especially if you write outside the lines, as I do. In romance, my settings are not the popular ones, (America!). I don’t have Dukes or vampires in my stories.

    Eden, you are discovering what I did, the readers are out there. I might only have a niche, but it’s turning out to be a nice one.

    Thanks KB!

    Wally — I am not feeling so well today and I think you know why. A little too much wine last night, but it sure was fun. You should look at indie publishing. It’s not for everyone, but if you are willing to try something new just for the “fun” of it — I say go for it.

  5. I’m glad to see Beneath a Silver Moon is finally getting the attention it deserves. And wow, what a cover! Congrats on hitting the bestseller list!

  6. Thanks Jacquie. I’m glad to see that there really is a market for westerns. Yippee Ki-Yay!

  7. Deb, first of all, and I know I’ve said this before – I LOVE your cover. And you’re absolutely right – sometimes the best thing in the world is to run your own business – and indie publishing is definitely that. 100 books a week? That’s huge. Congratulations.


  8. Yeah, Shane is pretty easy on the eyes. He swears I’m selling lots of books because of the cover, and I won’t argue with him. Lesson learned – Always put the hero on the cover. If he can be half-naked, even better.

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