Taking a New Approach to Self Publishing

In my previous post I discussed the mistakes I’ve made in my adventures of self-publishing. Today I just want to talk about ways that I am trying to learn from my mistakes, and attempt a different approach to making a new WIP more successful than The Alliance: Bloodlines. Now Bloodlines has received some amazing five star reviews, but that means nothing to readers if the cover, description, or editing isn’t strong enough.

 So what happens now? If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

Now that I know I can’t skimp on a cover design or editing, I must find a way to provide those things. Unfortunately I don’t have the money for pay for the hefty costs of professional editing or design. Editing costs can really break the bank depending on the length of the book or different types of editing. I’ve seen recommended professional editors quote as much as $2,000-3,000 for editing one book.

So in order to offer these necessities for my new novel, I will be turning to Kickstarter to try crowd funding enough money to pay for some of the harsh expenses.  Now crowd funding is not easy feat, but with the right planning it can be successful.  You still need to build your audience first (another mistake I mentioned in my previous post) because you shouldn’t assume that enough people will magically stumble upon and back your project. A lot of your backers will come from friends, family, and word of mouth.

I’ll be doing a lot of research and planning before I release my project in May. I would recommend checking out some of the successful Kickstarter projects to get some great examples. I’ll probably do a more detailed blog about Kickstarter once I’ve had more experience with creating a project on the site.

I’ve read a lot of opinions about using Kickstarter for a novel, and I noticed several people have their doubts. If you build enough interest and plan to use the self-publishing route anyway, why not give your book as a backer reward? If the project is successful then you have just put your novel in the hands of many, and that can equal book reviews for you! My goal is simply to get my book into the hands of as many people as possible, and Kickstarter feels like a great outlet for that.

Regardless of what path you take, you should never give up on your passion. If your novel isn’t successful that isn’t your warning sign to quit, but instead evaluate the whole package and determine how to improve.

I’m posting the announcement that I made on my Facebook page for anyone who don’t follow or might have missed it. This gives a very brief explanation of my project. I’ll be providing more details and art as time passes, but for now I just want you all to know why this project is important to me. Please read on if you haven’t caught up with my Facebook page!

 

“I’ve decided on my Kickstarter project! After much consideration, I chose my latest WIP that is currently titled Sacrifice. This title may not stick, but right now that’s what i’m calling it. The story centers on a gay protagonist who also happens to be a meta-human. I’ve gotten great feedback from beta readers, and I really feel like this is a story that needs to be told. There needs to be more quality LGBT friendly novels. I’m sick of seeing a small selection, and most of them don’t even look professionally done. I will work my ass off to make Sacrifice a well written story that positively represents the LGBT community and can be enjoyed by anyone.

I’m planning to launch this at the first part of May and more details will come soon. I have a strong well-thought out game plan, but I also need to build an army to make this successful. I have a great group of friends that have offered their time to help me create art, beta read, edit and much more. I am very grateful to have such awesome people supporting me. I’ll need more help spreading the word, and if you have a blog or know someone with a blog/site that might be interested in an author interview/Q&A or whatever, i’ll be looking for every opportunity possible. Stay tuned, and stay awesome.”

Mistakes I Made in the Adventures of Self-Publishing

Prior to self-publishing my first novel, The Alliance: Bloodlines, I did research on my options for publishing. I read countless blogs and other resources that explained the “Do’s and Don’ts” of self-publishing. I listened to some of the advice, but disregarded the huge chunks of info that would require me to spend more on my novel than I could afford.

Publishing your novel is a hugely gratifying experience. Hell you should pat yourself on the back right now if you’ve finished writing a novel—regardless whether or not you’ve published yet. Completing a novel is no small feat, but when you put your heart and soul into a story it seems only right to give your story the best chance at success. You want the world to read your story, right?

I think I speak for most writers when I say that we don’t do this for the money. If you’re a writer simply trying to make a buck, then you’re probably going to be awfully disappointed. A writer of fiction simply wants to give readers the same experience that they receive themselves when reading their favorite books. A writer wants to make the readers drift off into their fantastically crafted worlds and forget reality. They want their readers to have a great experience and grow with the characters, or simply fall in love with them.

So what care should indie authors take in order to give their self-published book a fighting chance?

Professional editing is a MUST. I did not listen when this rule came up in several blogs and articles. Professional editing can be a costly venture, but you can significantly diminish your chances of success by skimping on the editing of your novel. No matter how much you think you can edit yourself, trust me when I say it’s just never good enough. Professional editors get paid to catch errors with a trained eye, and it’s best to let them work their magic. Do your research and pick an editor that is qualified to work on your novel. I made the mistake of hastily hiring someone to work on Bloodlines, and paid almost $800 for a nightmare of edits that ended up being tossed out. I had several friends help me re-edit Bloodlines after several more revisions, but we did not catch all the mistakes.

A professional cover is also important. The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” can be thrown out the window. You should take time to plan out your cover ideas, and don’t forget to consider covers for sequels if the book will be a part of a series. It never occurred to me at the time of self-publishing that I needed to have a plan for my covers, but you want them to have some kind of cohesion. I love the cover that was made for me, and my designer gave me exactly what I asked for, but it wasn’t well thought out on my part. I should have made something more enticing than the playing cards. Unless the person scrolling through Amazon just can’t resist a good game of cards, I am probably not luring anyone in with my cover.

Build a fan base. I read in so many places that I needed to build a fan base first and then release the product once I generated enough interest. This applies whether it’s a novel, comic, or whatever. I was hasty and didn’t wait, with my Facebook page only having a handful of fans and no one really knowing what Bloodlines was all about. Some people might stumble upon your novel on Amazon, and they might buy it without knowing anything about it, but you have way more chance of success if your interest is already there. If you have time and patience, I believe this approach could be valuable to you.

Now these are some of the biggest mistakes that I’ve made, and I would love to hear from other authors that have learned from their own self-publishing woes. In my next blog I will discuss how I am taking a different approach with my latest WIP. Just remember not to get too discouraged! Mistakes are simply a way of learning.

Sequels and Revisions

Hey, just checking in with a quick update. I’ve been fighting a nasty cold all week, but that can’t stop all the characters inside my head! The draft of my latest novel, Sacrifice, is being read by my trusted beta readers. Feedback is slowly flowing in so i’ve been compiling a list of notes for revisions on that project, but my focus has been on The Alliance: Bloodlines sequel.

The most common question that I receive from readers is, “What happened to Jameson Brown while he was in the hell dimension?” Ask and you shall receive! His story will be told in the sequel, so prepare yourselves for Drakon. This sequel will provide a fresh new environment for the demon hunters and friendships will be tested.