Saturday, February 11

Baby Steps to Self-Publishing

I’ve taken some tentative steps into self-publishing. Actually, this step happened a while ago, but I'm changing it up a bit. I self-published a romantic comedy, RESCUE ME, that I wrote some time ago. In fact, it was originally written to target the Duets line of romantic comedies with Harlequin, a line that was around, I think, in the nineties. Talk about a blast from the past!

Anyway, I self-published the book about four years ago, more to use as a gift and a giveaway than to actually sell. Since this book is the only one I actually control, it’s the only book I can use for that purpose on a regular basis. After a short stint at Kindle Unlimited, it’s been available at the regular Amazon store ever since.

Of course, I did everything they tell you not to do when you self-publish a book; I created the cover myself (you can tell) and it didn't receive professional editing. But because I've never meant it as anything more than a giveaway, I didn't think it mattered. I'm sure I'm wrong, but I didn't (and still don't) have the money to hire professionals for this book.

Over the Christmas holidays I decided to give the book another edit. I modernised it (there was no mention of cell phones in the original manuscript), and I cut superfluous words which I believe resulted in a tighter book. I decided RESCUE ME needed to serve another purpose. It’s going to become my reader magnet – I hope.

After uploading the book to Draft 2 Digital, I made it free on Barnes and Noble, Scribd, and Kobo. Then I contacted Amazon with the links from these retailers and asked them to match the price, which they did. Now, I’m hoping the free book will attract readers at those sites. Inside the book, readers will find a link to my newsletter, and if they sign up, they’ll receive a free short story. The idea is to show people a sample of my writing for free so they won’t be afraid to try a new-to-them author.

Will this work? I have no idea. There’s been a lot of talk lately at one of the writing loops I’m on about the glut of free books on the market. Readers can get more books for free than they can possibly read. Why should they buy any books, especially from a writer they’ve never heard of? Perhaps if I’d done this four years ago, I might have been ahead of the curve. I'm a little late to the party.

I’ll reserve judgement for now on how effective my marketing effort will be. As ever, marketing feels like a beast with nine heads. On the upside, I’m learning a lot about self-publishing and the technology of self-publishing that I believe will help me in the future when I decide to jump into the pool with both feet.

If you're interested, here's the blurb for RESCUE ME:
 Chelsea Andrews can’t decide who’s more dangerous; the creep on the Toronto city bus, or the handsome stranger who rescues her. She doesn’t hang around to find out. Fate intervenes when her rescuer, out of work actor Matt Malone, sublets the apartment next door, and Chelsea discovers the most dangerous thing about her charming new neighbor is the damage he’s inflicting on her heart. She’s had enough of men like Matt; her father was a philandering charmer who left devastation in his wake. But the more she gets to know Matt, the more she realizes he’s not like her father at all.
Success has eluded Matt’s acting career. His family is pressuring him to give up acting and work full-time as a chef at the family business, Malone’s Irish Pub. Matt likes to cook but acting is his passion. He’s nearly thirty now, and meeting Chelsea makes him think of settling down. Should he give up his dreams for love’s sake?
Chelsea is starting to believe she can trust Matt with her heart when strange romantic notes begin showing up at the art gallery where she works. Then she’s followed home from the bus stop late one night, and her apartment is broken into. All the evidence points to Matt as the culprit. Is he the kind, funny, sincere man she’s falling in love with, or some kind of stalker? Will the real Matt Malone please stand up?
Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | B&N | Kobo | Scribd | Draft2Digital

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  1. Jana - Best of luck! You're taking all the right steps! I know the market has a LOT of books out there, but romance readers are prolific and many read several a week!

    1. Thanks for the pep talk, Ava. Sometimes I get really down on the business end of things. In times like that I have to remember the joy of creating characters and the worlds they live in.

  2. Good luck! At the library yesterday, a patron checked out six Amish romance books that we got from other libraries because she had read all the Amish romances in our facility (that's a lot), so even though there may be a lot of free ones, there are also a lot of readers.

    1. Gee, too bad I don't write Amish romances! I'll try to keep that positive thought in mind - there are lots of romance writers and they're very prolific!