By Matthew C. Plourde
I’ve crafted some various blog posts throughout the last year to assist my fellow self-publishing writers (and to also document what I’ve learnt so I can recreate the process when needed). Well, it’s been some time since I’ve gone through these, and I certainly have more commentary and such to divulge to my peeps here. Also, it’s always helpful to consolidate information/links. So, let’s start a dialog!
Little known fact: Eden was published to iBooks before anywhere else. When I’m a household name, remember that! It will no doubt be a Trivial Pursuit question in the 2010 edition. No doubt.
All fancy aside, I foolishly thought the arrival of the iPad spelled doom for the Kindle & Nook. What a silly man-animal I am. While sales were still better than I could have hoped for (~30 Eden sales on the iBookstore during its first month), I rarely sell a book on the iBookstore these days. I’m not convinced Apple has done even a serviceable job on their marketplace. The whole “people who bought this also bought this” section on Amazon is killer. Hey, other online bookstores – you should have that. Far as I can tell, iBooks takes money to “spotlight/feature” certain major releases and that’s what sells. Of course, that data is based on completely zero research… so, take that as you will.
I created the ePub for Eden “manually” using these tips: Working With iworkspages To Create an epub
While that post is full of invaluable info for ePubbers, I’m not sure all of that work is even necessary. Instead of using Lulu to publish to iBooks, I recommend using Smashwords to get on the iBookstore. They will take your “generic” M$ Word file (formatted for e-readers) and convert it to an iBookstore ePub for you. No muss, no fuss. Also, Lulu doesn’t remove your title from the iBookstore when you ask them to. Lazy wankers. All I use Lulu for these days is the hardcover versions of my books. My experience with them has been absolutely terrible. They offer no support and rarely respond to your inquiries. Once Amazon’s Createspace allows me to make a hardcover, I’ll likely say farewell to Lulu.
Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes
Here’s the “big one”: Self-Publishing Tips & Tricks (print/ebook)
This is my master guide for self-publishing. I wrote it after Eden and used it for The Antaran Legacy. My advice in there will save the noob publisher many hours of frustration. Believe it!
Much of what I outline in there holds true. I can now say with confidence that Amazon is the ruler of all. (duh, I know) Publish there first, and publish there hard. Hard? Target reviewers who also review on Amazon. Fill out your author page. Get your sample going early. Maybe engage on the forums. Hit Amazon like you hit your wife (whoops – that last comment is only applicable in the South).
Here’s a little thing I recently learned about Amazon: Don’t lower and then try to raise your price. Amazon claims they only change yer price if they discover yer book being offered for less $ elsewhere. Well, I ASSumed this would take longer, but it was immediate. As soon as I re-raised the price on the Antaran Legacy (I’m messing with the price as part of several experiments), Amazon kept it at the lower price. I plan to message them once my new price filters everywhere and tell them what’s what. Good to know, though!
I have some tips on XinXii here: Self-publishing On Xinxii
Someone mentioned I should check it out, so I did. The site claims to be “Europe’s leading online marketplace for all kinds of written works.” (their words, not mine) While I cannot refute that claim, my books have been on there for ~3 months and I have yet to net a single sale. Of course, I haven’t done any advertising in Europe, so who am I to complain? I can say that I average 3-10 monthly Eden sales on Amazon UK, so my previous assertion holds true: treat Amazon as your #1 market.
XinXii now also accepts the MOBI format (same as Kindle), but that’s really up to you if you want to provide it. Again, yer gonna do MOBI for Kindle and that’s really where your focus should be. If you get around to formatting another MOBI for XinXii, then more power to ya.
The Next Frontier?
I truly believe Amazon is the best vehicle to get your work noticed. You’re prolly sick of hearing it by now, but I’ll beat you over the head with it one more time: focus on Amazon, all the rest can come afterwards.
If anyone knows of any other self-publishing distro sites who offer something tangible, please post in the comments section! I will likely try it out, screenshot the hell out of it and then post my thoughts as I go through their process.
However, I am quite pleased with the holy trinity: Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes/Noble. If you publish to these 3 places, you have some amazing coverage which actually nets sales. Well, you will sell if you put in the effort to get the word out there.
Happy hunting! 🙂