Posts Tagged ‘self-publishing’

Sales Update: On release day yesterday, I sold three copies of “Waiting for the Baby.” I still have not spent any money on marketing and tentatively am not going to until I have sold at least 80 copies. Since we spent around $40 producing the book (see details in Part One here), I would like to make that money back before I start considering any paid marketing for “Waiting for the Baby.” Releasing a short story did not increase my sales average on The Anorexic Experiment yesterday. Since my reports for Illegally Innocent are through a different self-publishing company and do not get updated as frequently as my published works on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), I don’t know yet if it impacted Illegally Innocent sales.

In Part One of this series, I said I would share information about what “publishing” includes. Some of the details you will encounter if you choose to publish a short story (or any kind of book) through KDP are the following:

*Book description–You are writing the “back cover” of your book, even if your book is only an ebook and does not have a back cover. You are trying to write a teaser/summary to draw the reader in. With both of my self-published novels, my description was longer than what I wrote for my short story’s description. With a short story, the material is already so compact that I figured the description should be compact as well.

*Genres–KDP will give you a list of genres and sub-genres in which to place your book to help readers find the types of books they enjoy reading. You can pick up to two of these categories. Sometimes you may be thinking of a genre that exists (and you know it exists because you’ve seen other authors’ books in that category), but it is not offered as an option for you to choose. For example, even though my short story is considered to be a “Short Read,” I could not pick “Short Read.” You basically have to wait for Amazon to classify it after some copies have sold. And even when you pick a genre, sometimes it still will not show up on the actual sales page in the genre(s) that you chose. One of the sub-genres I chose was “Siblings” because a big theme in my story is interaction between two siblings. However, even though I chose “Siblings,” it is not currently showing up on my short story’s sales page as of the time of this writing. The three current genres my short story is showing up under are Teen & Young Adult Short Stories; 45-Minute Teen & Young Adult Short Reads; and Short Stories in Teen & Young Adult Literature. So it did get classified as a “Short Read” after all, like I wanted, even though I did not get to select that option. Interestingly enough, although I only sold three copies the first day, my story is ranked as #12 in one of its sub-genres at the moment. Amazon updates ranks each hour. That’s one of the nice things about Kindle Short Reads–since not as many people write Short Reads compared to longer books, it is easier to get to a “bestseller” status in your genre.

*Price–Amazon will suggest a price based on the length and type of book that it is. For “Waiting for the Baby,” a 30-page short story, Amazon suggested a price of $2.69. I opted to mark it as $1.49. Both of my published novels are currently listed at $2.99, so it didn’t make a lot of sense to me to mark this short story, which is roughly one-eighth the size of my novel The Anorexic Experiment, only 30 cents cheaper than my novels. I was originally going to price my short story as 99 cents, but this way I can run a sale from time to time if I so choose and mark it down to 99 cents for the sale. Also, Amazon gives you a choice of a 70% royalty rate or a 35% royalty rate. If you choose the 70% rate, you are not allowed to mark the regular price of the book lower than $2.99. As stated earlier, I wanted to keep my regular price low, so that was one of my contributing factors in choosing the 35% rate. By selling my story for $1.49, I am supposed to receive 52 cents per copy sold.

*DRM–DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. It had been almost three years since I last published anything, so I had to check out a video to refresh me on what DRM entails and whether I wanted to say yes or no to it. Here is a video you may want to watch to help you decide if you want to enable DRM on your story or not: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4k8o1lNa-Ko.

I hope this information is at least a little bit helpful as you explore publishing on KDP!

I have not been posting much this year, so I figured it was time for an update!

In writing news…

I have one more event planned for 2018–the Christmas at Wings Arts & Crafts Show in Kalamazoo, MI, on December 1 and 2. Another author, the lovely Sally Mahieu, and I will be sharing Booth 722, and we would love it if you stopped by!

I started a new YouTube channel in July. It currently has a few videos posted on it. If you’d like to see videos about writing-related topics as well as other things I do in my life, check out my channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8FscDzxIxC7Ab8P5AOicKQ/videos. If you enjoy watching it, I would love it if you would subscribe!

In the next few weeks I will be sending out an October/November 2018 e-newsletter. If you haven’t signed up already and would like to, please visit my website here: http://angelabaconbooks.com/newsletter-sign-up/. I only send out e-newsletters a few times per year, so don’t worry–I won’t fill your inbox with tons of emails each week! My e-newsletter is a good way for you to keep up with my author events; find out about special deals like Kindle sales, copyediting coupons, and contests; and become a beta reader for my upcoming projects.

My current writing project is the sequel to Illegally Innocent, and it still needs A TON OF WORK. I do not have a release date for it yet. This month marks SIX YEARS already since Illegally Innocent was released, and I know you have been waiting a long time for the sequel! I hope to bring it to you in 2019.

In personal news…

The store where I worked for over a decade shut down in March, and I am currently working in a job where I dabble in Accounts Payable, HR, and random administrative assistant types of tasks. Since this job spans quite the range of duties, I am still training even though I’ve worked there for over six months. I am enjoying having nights, weekends, and holidays off, since I regularly worked many of those shifts at my previous job.

Now that I have completed the CreateSpace process for my new YA novel, The Anorexic Experiment, and have received my first few shipments of books from them, I want to provide a review to help those who may be considering CreateSpace to self-publish their own book(s). This blog post is going to be significantly longer than many of my other posts, so settle in. 🙂

Overall, my experience with CreateSpace has been a positive one. The most exciting part of the self-publishing experience this time has been the price–I only spent about $135 for the whole process. Technically, you can use CreateSpace to publish for free, but I wanted to buy an ISBN for the paperback version ($99), and I purchased two proof copies (with rush shipping), so the total came to approximately $135. This cost includes both paperback and eBook versions. In contrast, my self-publishing experience with Mill City Press for my first novel, Illegally Innocent, cost almost $2500 for both paperback and eBook formats. Plus, I pay nearly $260 per year to keep Illegally Innocent listed for sale on Amazon, the iBookstore, and Barnes & Noble’s website. It appears there won’t be any yearly renewal fee with CreateSpace, but I don’t know for sure yet.

Depending on your own speed and skill with using CreateSpace’s process, you can crank out a book and have it up for sale on Amazon in a few days. With Mill City Press, it can take a few months before your book is available to buy. I also feel like I have more control over The Anorexic Experiment than Illegally Innocent as far as changing the price and updating files in an efficient manner if I want to do so.

CreateSpace has been pleasantly speedy with shipping books to me. All three of the shipments I have purchased so far have arrived in eight days or less (one of those times was even over the Fourth of July, and the books still arrived within six days from the date of order).

With CreateSpace, you publish the paperback version of your book in CreateSpace, but you publish the Kindle version through Kindle Direct Publishing (both owned by Amazon). Mill City Press turned my eBook not only into files for Kindle, but also for iBooks and Nook. With CreateSpace/Kindle Direct Publishing, if I want to make my eBook available in formats other than Kindle, I have to do that work myself. I chose to go with the KDP Select program, which allows you to earn higher royalties and means that I am making my eBook exclusive to Kindle for 90 days at a time. In a few months I might opt out of the program and develop a Nook version–I am still deciding.

Both CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing provide access to helpful sales reports that get updated every day. I particularly enjoy this feature, as Mill City Press provides just monthly sales reports for paperbacks and quarterly reports for eBooks.

Now for a few cons…formatting the interior pages of your manuscript and creating the cover can be a nightmare on CreateSpace. Mill City Press took care of both of those things for me with Illegally Innocent, and I didn’t realize just how many little details you have to watch to make sure your book turns out the way you want it to be. I formatted in Microsoft Word, and even though I have a ton of experience using Word and would have previously considered myself “proficient” in it, I learned even more about it while formatting this book. Even though I tried to do the best I could with the interior formatting of The Anorexic Experiment, I know Illegally Innocent looks better. If it is your first time using CreateSpace, DO NOT attempt to format your book without using their suggested template. I tried to do it on my own at first, thinking it seemed like a pain to copy and paste all of my manuscript into their template. Big mistake. I wasted many hours trying to format it and kept running into problems. Once I started using CreateSpace’s template, the process became much easier. It still took a decent amount of time, but I did not get nearly as frustrated as I had when I tried to do it without the template.

My husband, Mike, designed the cover of The Anorexic Experiment for me and did a great job. Unfortunately, though, we found out that CreateSpace’s print quality is not quite what we were hoping for. The cover image looked fantastic on Mike’s computer, and we thought it was within CreateSpace’s guidelines, but we ran into problems with pixelation and images that were slightly blurry. Overall, the print quality of both the cover and the interior is just not quite up to par with what Mill City Press produced for me. Both of my books use black as the main color on the back cover, and if you compare the two, the black on Illegally Innocent is much more vibrant and seems to be more of a “true” shade of black than that on The Anorexic Experiment. CreateSpace also seems not to be as careful when cutting pages–in one of the copies I received, the pages were incredibly crooked. Although all of the text was present and readable, if you flipped through and compared placement of headings, the book was definitely put together at an odd angle.

Overall, the problems I have experienced with CreateSpace have not been serious enough to prevent me from using their services again. I do think Mill City Press produces a slightly more professional-looking book, but it took a long time to earn back my money on that first book. I am glad I chose Mill City Press for Illegally Innocent and still recommend them if you do not feel comfortable trying to format your manuscript and create a cover on your own. Self-publishing a book for the first time can be overwhelming with figuring out how to market it, let alone trying to learn how to format, create your cover, and navigate other publishing issues. If you do not feel you are particularly computer-savvy, or do not have someone in your household who is, then I would recommend picking Mill City Press or a similar company in which they do most of the work for you. Honestly, if Mike had not taken on the responsibility of creating my cover, I don’t know if I would have chosen to use CreateSpace because I feel extremely uncomfortable with the idea of making a cover. You can hire people through CreateSpace or freelancers to help you with the tasks that you don’t want to do yourself, but if you’re picking CreateSpace to save money, any tasks that you hire out to other people can really start to rack up your costs.

Whoa! You made it to the bottom of this post. 🙂 If you have any questions about my CreateSpace experience, please post them in the comments. If you’d like to read my review of Mill City Press from a few years ago, click here: https://thehealthybacon.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/illegally-innocent-ebook-and-a-review-of-mill-city-press/.

If you’d like to read the first two chapters of either of my novels, click here for Illegally Innocent: http://angelabaconbooks.com/illegally-innocent/ and here for The Anorexic Experiment: http://angelabaconbooks.com/anorexic-experiment/.

I am excited to share that I have been distributing copies of my current work-in-progress, a YA novel called The Anorexic Experiment, to a dozen-ish beta readers over the past couple of weeks and have already started hearing back from them! While I am waiting on feedback, I am working on the manuscript for a different book (title still undecided). This month marks four years since I released Illegally Innocent, so it is definitely time to publish another book. I have two author events scheduled before the end of the year, and I will keep you updated on whether I will have a new book available at one or both of these events. I am going to try a different self-publishing company this time, so it remains to be seen whether that choice will make the publishing process easier or harder than last time. If you’d like to visit me at an author event, mark your calendar now. 🙂 Here is where I will be:

Saturday, November 12, 2016–Santa’s Bag Arts & Crafts Show at Marshall High School in Marshall, MI, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday, December 3, and Sunday, December 4, 2016–Christmas at Wings Art & Craft Show at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, MI, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday

I am currently booking events for 2016. Here is what I have scheduled so far:

March 26–Flea & Farmers’ Market at the Kalamazoo Expo Center in Kalamazoo, MI from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

May 5–Author Fair at Ransom District Library in Plainwell, MI from 6-8 p.m.

December 3 & 4–Christmas at Wings Art & Craft Show at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, MI from 9-4 on Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday

If you are looking for a speaker for your school class or other group, please send me an email at angela@angelabaconbooks.com. I love sharing with others on the topics of writing and self-publishing and have spoken to groups ranging in age from second grade up through adults.