Progress Update and Game Plan for Week 1 of Self-publishing
Updated: May 14
What a roller coaster this week has been! Exhausting, exhilarating, maybe even slightly traumatizing. Definitely feeling overwhelmed with everything I have learned. I thought that by spending the last couple of years writing my first book, I was taking my time and making sure that what I presented was a finished polished project. Come to find out, that was only the tip of the iceberg!
Amazon's slowness with releasing my book was equally frustrating and added to a lot of confusion for me this week. There is no "do this to achieve greatness" game plan for writing. You can't just practice 5 times a day and walk out the star of the field. That sounds remarkably easy compared to these shenanigans. This writer distributes his manuscripts to X Y and Z and makes a killing. This other writer is exclusive with Z and makes a similar killing. But in order for either of them to work for you, you have to make sure that your genre with this specific focus, the time of day you submitted your work, and whether or not you stood on your head and ate ice cream the night before have all been in process for the last 3 years before you even had the idea to become an author. Seriously, what the...
It would be discouraging if I weren't so stubborn, if I didn't know that "best-seller" or not, I was going to write anyway. But since I am going to write, I should at least try to be the most successful I can possibly be at it.
So what's my game plan? I've heehawed relentlessly through my options since the KDP debacle. I honestly don't know yet whether that was an error on their part or mine so I cannot claim the injustice of it all...yet. I understand that we live in the world of COVID19 and that things are delayed and that in the grand scheme of things whether my book is released today or a week from now isn't going to really matter. However, my anxiety and obsessiveness have been relentless. I have gone from nay-saying all things KDP, to calling them begging for reasons why my book hasn't been released, to deciding I'm going to go wide with my manuscript and to hell with KDP, then to now realizing that maybe I should stick with KDP after all.
My reasons are very simple. I did not get the "you should have an established blog, newsletter, fan base set up before you even finish writing and publishing your first book" memo. You didn't either? Well join the club! And evidently the best way for the under-prepared like myself to get caught up is to utilize Kindle Select with its promotion and Kindle Unlimited features.
But even if using those resources, you still have to do quite a bit of marketing on your own. Marketing. Yep! Take the world's most generally reclusive and emotional group of people and make them market themselves because what could go wrong with that. What happens is a lot of people get discouraged or just don't do it. Ultimately, that means that those people may not become well known authors. I refuse to let myself fall into that category.
So I need a game plan! And I need to stick with it. I called KDP, again, realizing that they probably have my number memorized by now and groan each time they see it pop up on the screen, and was told that my title should be published within the next 24 hours. I'm not going to hold my breath for this one. However, I am hopeful! When they release my book out of review to publishing, I will remove my book from Draft2Digital and go exclusive with Kindle Select for at least 90 days and see how that works out for me. I will be redoing my website in the next week to create a newsletter that I hope all of you sign up for. And I will begin working on my second book.
I am also going to be researching all things marketing in regards to self publishing. This week's homework for my self, along with my college classes which have kicked off for summer, are the following titles:
The Holy Grail of Book Launching - Mimi Emmanuel. I purchased this one in paperback form off of Amazon a while ago and will probably start with it. It has 149 reviews and all seem to be relatively positive.
Then I'm going with Market to Millions: The Ultimate Directory to Free ebook Promotion - by David Ogren. This one is on Kindle Unlimited which I am a subscriber to. This one is a lot less well known, only 6 reviews, but it was "free" so why not give it a go.
Successful Self-Publishing - Joanna Penn. This one has a purchase price right now of $0.00 in the Kindle store. I suppose she is running a promotion...see I'm catching on to this marketing stuff! And she has 646 very positive reviews so this will probably be a great resource and I'm excited to read it.
Self-Publishing on Amazon 2020 - Dr. Andy Williams. This one is on Kindle Unlimited and has 41 positive reviews.
CreateSpace and Kindle Self-Publishing Masterclass - Rick Smith. This one seems more like a tutorial for all of the ins and outs in creating and formatting manuscripts, how to update them when necessary, lowering and raising prices, advertisements, etc. I feel like it's going to be more of a "help me!" handbook. It's on Kindle Unlimited and has 554 positive reviews, so I think it'll be worth the time to read it.
Out of all of these, I'm hoping to find information on building an email list from scratch and how to successfully advertise and market my book. I'll update as I read and let everyone know what I learnt. Hopefully it will be different than the webinar I watched yesterday. There are a lot of people out to capitalize on the fact that self-publishing is the new trend, a lot of people are looking to do it, and not a lot of people have the startup capital to hit the ground running with advertising right away. If I can help a few of you with the process while I go through the journey myself, then I'll consider that a win!
On to my homework!