Well, I did it. I published my first book. And let me tell you something, self-publishing is NO JOKE.
From worrying over revisions and editing, to tweaking cover design, previewing eBook formatting, approving paperback formats, and the endless miniscule changes involved in each step, there's hardly any room to even think about marketing.
I may have mentioned it before but I intentionally did not make any attempts at traditional publishing. Not because I don't believe in my story but rather because I believe in the self-publishing community even more. The self-pub cottage industry gifts readers with some truly incredible works of fiction (I would assume excellent non-fiction too) and I admire these intrepid pioneers immensely. I felt it would be disingenuous to do anything less than attempt to follow in the footsteps of brave authors like Travis Baldree, Krystle Matar, Quenby Olsen, Carrie Dalby, Dan Fitzgerald, and so many others whose works I love and respect. Their creations scream into the void that traditional publishing is MISSING OUT ON GREATNESS. (Although to be fair, Mr. Baldree's little selfie, Legends and Lattes, was picked up by Tor AFTER he'd first published it himself.)
And so, with the hope of riding some coattails, I chose to go with Draft2Digital as my distribution platform. D2D makes the entire process incredibly easy to understand from start to finish. I'd considered launching through ye olde Amazon but when I tried navigating the KDP creation site, I kept getting lost and questioning my choices. (Similar to the reasons I opted to use Wix over WordPress for hosting my website, but I digress.) I need user-friendly interfaces and D2D was the best option for me. In addition, D2D distributes to a vast range of markets, including Amazon, several of which I'd never even heard of! A nice little surprise was finding out the eBook version is now available in at least two foreign markets for English-language books and several lending library spaces as well.
Back to my original point. Self-publishing is not for the faint of heart. It isn't an easy-pass to just saying you've written a book. It is WORK. Work worth well doing if you believe in your craft. Pesky little worries multiply and morph into scary, cumbersome anxiety-bombs which steal your sleep and sanity. Why did I write a certain character "that" way? Because that's how he presented himself in my head. Is the cover idea dumb? I'll ask my beta readers for their opinions. Should I have re-written that weird, but necessary scene, for the umpteenth time? Umpteen-and-one won't make a difference. What if there's another book out there with the same title? If there is, should I change it? It's a romance, mine's not. Okay, That will work. Why did I buy ten ISBNs? No idea. How many QR and bar codes do I need? What exactly do I do with a QR code? Should I make that code into a sticker for my car? Do I have the courage to walk into the local, indie book store and ask them to carry my book? **did that today if you want to know** And on and on and on...
And once you do all the work of writing, revising, editing, proofing, re-writing, re-revising, re-editing, re-proofing, cover designing and redesigning, formatting and re-formatting, and getting everything "just so," you hit the publish button. And wait. I'm forcing myself not to check the reports page and see how many books have sold. I am desperate to know...and desperate not to know. I am worn completely out and the exhaustion has very little to do with teaching English to college freshmen or learning to be a yoga instructor. I'm placing all the blame squarely on Eva's shoulders. I'm sure she's able to withstand the pressure.
All that said, if you've never read a book by a self-published author, do yourself a favor and pick one up. Yes, they're hard to find. The bookseller platforms, to my knowledge, do not yet offer lists or filter options tailored to self-published books (although they should). My advice is to seek out book blogs or contact your local indie bookshop for recommendations.
When you're reading a self-pub, understand this; every single bit of work necessary to get that book into your hands was done by the author. Not just the writing but everything else required along the way. Even if they hired another artist to contribute...they still invested time and energy (not to mention money!) into providing those pages to you. If you're fortunate enough to have discovered a selfie, TELL YOUR FRIENDS. LEAVE REVIEWS. Readers are the true power behind an author's success. You hold that power in your hands every time you purchase a book. Did anyone else just hear He-Man shouting, "I HAVE THE POWER!"? Just me? Okay...moving on.
This isn't a shameless self-promotion post. If you think you'd be interested in a Southern Gothic/Family Saga set in rural 1960's Alabama with a vibe similar to Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and Steel Magnolias...give Saving Eva a whirl. Links to purchase are included in the icons on my home page. If not, please do yourself a favor and seek out indie authors in your favorite genre. I can almost guarantee you'll discover a treasure or five.