Category Archives: My Thoughts

Self Publishing Can Be Self Aggravating

I started publishing my short stories and books a little over a year ago and while I have been very happy with the interest and feedback I have received, I have to admit the process is a pain in the ass sometimes.  What I should say is the process is fairly simple, but the waiting and the support is what can be frustrating.

There are a lot of tools and other writers who have their own tips and tricks to self publishing – ALL HAVE  VALUE and you should consider reading a number of authors’ viewpoints.  Mine are exactly that… mine.  Some of you who have tried this process with Amazon have recently seen a few changes – especially after the merging of CreateSpace.

Here are a few things you should prepare before you ever publish.

The obvious is make sure you have an idea of what your message really is with your work.  No one has read your work yet, so the cover and byline are going to be the first draw.

Then consider eBook or Paperback… or both.  Depending on length and topic of your work you may consider one over the other.  Many people are gravitating more to ebooks, but there are the purists that still enjoy flipping pages and adding the physical copy to their library.  The other thing to consider is the contents.  ebooks are just as good as paperbacks, but including images… for example a graphic novel can be frustrating when you have to position everything perfectly for different e-readers.  It is also important to note that paperbacks will obviously be more expensive to create and will cut down on the royalties.

Next consider your cover little more in-depth.  Amazon has a great option built it for covers based on their templates.  For those who are more creative you can create your own cover, just make sure it fits the dimensions Amazon requires.  You should also think about the look of that cover – especially when you are writing about questionable topics, such as erotica.  Remember it is not a porn mag and being overly explicit when creating your cover can get your cover rejected. And consider the reader, especially when you are offering paperback copies. I doubt the reader would take the book out and read it on an airplane or in the park if the cover looks like a smut magazine.

Finally, have your work reviewed before you start the process.  Grammar is only one aspect, how the story is told is also important.  You may start a story in the 3rd person, but as you continue to write, you can sometimes put yourself in the story and it becomes a 1st person story by the time you are finished.  Take to other authors and consider a pre-release review of the piece.

Now the other issues around self publishing is timing.  It does take a little time to get everything reviewed before it becomes available.  For most writers this is not a big deal and to be fair – it is a lot faster than going through a different publishing firm.  the issues around timing are also centered around how you setup the piece.  If you originally setup the piece as an ebook and then go back and add it as a paperback, the time it takes to get that done and make it available is a pain to deal with.  I have gone to support several times and the canned answers that it is in review after 3 weeks – even though they say 72 hours – is frustrating.  Consider creating both ebook and paperback at the same time and you can control the publishing releases at that point, but it will get the piece reviewed and approved faster.

Always remember what songwriters do… #keepwriting.  Not everything you write will be accepted by your audience.  No singer has an album of hits, they have an album that has one or two and it keeps the fan coming back.  The same is true when you write.  Stick to your vision and your passion.  You are not going to please everyone, but like the game of golf, all you need is one good shot to keep you going and keep you coming back.

sshhh… I Buy Erotica

I recently read an blog post from another author Ann Michelle (see her post here) Where she discussed the concerns readers have about purchasing her erotic tales.  I have seen a similar situation and her options have fantastic merit.  The option of creating a “plain brown wrapper”  for her books could a great thing for the readers who don’t want to look like a freak when the mailman delivers them.  The challenge with this is creating the “fake front” as she described.  That is a lot of work and it is important to remember that we do take pride in our passions.  Sometimes adding useless pages to reach the story you really wanted to read could discourage a reader.

The “Separate Amazon Account” is a much better option.  The only people who are aware of your true identity are the folks at Amazon.  I write under a pen name and do this for my authoring of my work and While I am not worried about items I purchase, I am always concerned about maintaining my privacy.

Now one that she left out, which is something I have begun doing after a recent request for of all things autographed copies of the printed books is to use PayPal or another service to handle payment transfers.  I have a contact page on my web site that can be used for feedback or to inquire about purchasing books.  Rather than create new copies with an inconspicuous title and useless pages of what the reader doesn’t want, I have secured copies of the eBooks that I can email directly to the reader.  When they want printed copies, I can send out copies from my personal inventory that I secured for book signings I did in Europe and for the autograph seeker.

Remember that We love having our work enjoyed and understand the struggles of obtaining it, but ultimately the only way to get it to you – is for you to tell us you want it.  IF you have concerns tell us and for some of us we can make reasonable arrangements.

 

 

Feedback Frustration

When I picked up the pen and started writing, I was thrilled at the amount of feedback I was receiving.  At the time, I wasn’t even looking for it.  Now that I have several stories and books out, I expected to see more reviews.  I still receive support on social media with the likes, retweets and shares, and yeah I still get some of the sickos who want me to help them play out their  fantasies, but I noticed most recently that while I get email from some of my closer friends, I am not seeing the feedback on the web site or amazon sites.

I am curious as to what may have happened.  I thought initially it was just timing, but then I wondered if it was the changing climate here in the US.  The government has come under so much scrutiny about cyber and citizens being watched, I got paranoid and thought readers were not commenting because they were scared as well.

I traveled through Europe last year to promote my books and meet a couple of long time friends and was thrilled at the turnout.  Scared as hell to go out in public but Europe is not the US and I found it a lot more accepting to girls like me.  I mean I only went out once en femme while in Amsterdam and the other book signings were a little more conventional.  Strange that only the other girls wanted to chat while the men just wanted an autograph, but each night I received more email than ever in support of the books and a few indecent proposals.

I still love hearing the thoughts and suggestions of my readers, and wish I could see more of it on the web site instead of the private messages.  Maybe I should take the advice of one of my more frequent readers who suggested I give my stuff away, What do you think?

It is really weird talking about this since I never really was that interested in making money off of all of this. Now that I am I seem to want more than just getting paid.  I would love to hear from readers and other writers to hear your thoughts on receiving reviews and feedback.

 

Hugs…