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Thread: Starting over. Let the journey begin, again!

  1. #1
    I want one for Christmas!! VV c.m.n.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    supercalifragilistic expialidocious

    Red face Starting over. Let the journey begin, again!

    Apologies if this reads like Iím writing a book. I wrote it in Word. Ha! My other updates wonít read nearly this well. This is also my first self-publishing thread.

    First things first, a quick ďabout meĒ: (I'll be publishing M/M fantasy romance)

    I am not at all new to this self publishing thing. Last year, I was still a hybrid author. Today, that pen name is retired. In 2011, I self published my first title, then decided I wanted to try digital-only imprints, and hybridized myself. I had a blast self publishing my first series between 2011 and 2012, simply because I loved to write and didnít give a damn about money or recognition. But then a light went off. A voice said, ďHoly hell, I can make money from this if I do it rightĒ.

    Thatís where I screwed up. Through 2013 to 2016, I worked more with presses than self publishing anything. I changed things up and wrote in genres I hated. Why? Because it was pretty much about the money at that point.

    However, I wasnít having fun. At all. I was working too hard at quantity than quality, trying to speed up my wpm, beating word count records for yearís past, all to get as many books written as I can. Nope, no fun at all, especially with two teenagers, one with special needs, and a part-time job to tend to. Oh, and a stint of depression in 2014 didnít help at all!

    In early 2017, I retired my old pen nameís (I was working with two at the time) and took all my self published titles off the shelves. My other published works are still in the hands of the presses Iím with, but eventually those contracts will end.

    I havenít worried at all about writing since and itís been a wonderful reprieve. I can finally breath again!

    I still love to write, though. I still love to share my stuff with the public. So hereís my new project, to self publish with no qualms and just enjoy myself. Iíve chosen to work in a genre I know Ė M/M romance. Iíll be writing mainly fantasy romance, mixing in some paranormal. I also have ideas for a western. But I will not touch contemporary! I find it pretty boring.

    Yeah, basically Iím doing what I believe I should have done with my old pen name. Gosh, I hope this works out for me.

    It might take a while to update this thread again, since Iím not planning to press ďPublishĒ until 2018. Until then, I have a lot of work to get done, including finalizing my new pen name.

    I have $0 start-up capital. No funds for websites or advertising. All I have left is the experience and some left over image packs from DepositPhotos to design my own cover art. Wait, I take that back. I was commissioning this guy for cover art, but ran out of cash. Another hobby kind of got in the way. Since I have a six-book series to brand, I figured Iíll just use stock art for now.

    On to the books:

    A six book M/M fantasy romance series you can see listed in my signature. Iím still waiting for the contract to end on the first book, then itís game on!

    While I wait, Iím working on getting them ready to go. The editing is almost complete on a few of them. I plan on using Vellum to create my ebooks. Yes, I still have to buy the full program. Anyone know if they accept Paypal credit?

    Iím not sure if Iíll be doing KU since KU 3.0 just came out, or is about to release, and have yet to see the results of that. In my previous experience, I didnít have much luck with other platforms like Smashwords, Google Books, etc. Didnít some new distributors come out lately?

    My Overall Goals:

    Simply, to write and have fun while selling my books online. Kind of like the point I was at in 2011 with my first book, but the market is a completely different atmosphere than it was back then, and I know that. I have a decently thick skin and Iím ready for the challenges this new era may bring.

    Any money made from sales will be put back into the business, i.e. marketing, website, cover art, etc, but Iíll worry about that later.

    Iíve also set up a separate business Paypal and a separate email away from personal or my old pen name stuff. Itís something I didnít do last time.

    Iím also working on properly branding my covers and coming up with a tagline. Anything I didnít do back then, Iím trying to doing now. Basically, I want to look like I know what Iím doing. Haha!

    And yeah, I like doing all this stuff. Itís kind of weird to be worrying about branding when I just want to write, but itís fun.

    My Three Month Goals:

    Continue working on preparing these six books for publication. Three of them are mostly complete, they just need a re-read. One needs a serious editing session. And the other two need edits completed.

    Iím also going to finalize my pen name, at last. It will probably be Nanette Stark or Nanette Starr Ė but ďStarrĒ doesnít sound fantasy-ish to me.

    Iíll be preparing a release schedule and hope my next update will include that. Plus, I need to save for or buy Vellum on credit in the next couple months.

    Anything I might be missing?

  2. #2
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    I write M/M romance too. Rooting for you!

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    In constant transit
    Awesome, motivating post. Thanks!

    I am a lot like you. I hope to have a career doing this, but my primary thing is enjoying my life, enjoying writing these stories and sending them out into the world, and not stressing myself. I had a book deal that fell through, and that whole time in my life was SO miserable. Always stressing about selling the book and worried the publisher would be angry my sales were too low. I knew I never wanted to go through that again. I wanted my author business to be only me and if I didn't feel like selling a book, oh well. It can just sit there on Amazon until someone happens to find it. And during that time, rather than stressing, I will be writing more books.

    Lots of luck on your journey! I will keep checking back on this thread. I plan to begin self-publishing in Spring 2018.

  4. #4
    Livin' la vida biblia ASeiple's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Dayton, OH
    Welcome back! Here's hoping things work out, it's a far different game than it was back in 2011.

    But it sounds like you've got a good plan and solid expectations, so I think you'll be pretty happy with how it goes. Either way, keep us in the loop so we can cheer and/or learn from you!
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  5. #5
    Collective intox CaesarNaples's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    I'm starting over too. In the past, I have self published a collection under a pen name. I mostly made it available for friends and family to show off some of my flash fiction and short stories. I put the collections for sale but never sold a copy. I made my own cover for the books.

    Now I'm wanting to start on a sci fi novel. I want to use my real name. I've learned a lot about putting a book together and marketing, so maybe I can sell some copies. This new effort I
    will be good for my writing, too. I've wanted to write a novel for a long time.

    I heard a piece of advice that sounded absurd at first but I may follow it for my sci fi novel. Someone suggested finishing the cover before anything else, even the writing. I'd like to do this so that I know I have a great cover, and so I can stay consistent with my branding throughout marketing. My hurdle is going to be finishing the novel.

  6. #6
    I want one for Christmas!! VV c.m.n.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    supercalifragilistic expialidocious
    Thanks all for the well wishes.

    I'm working on my NaNo "project" right now: complete edits for two books in this 6+ book series. If I have time left in the month, I'll work on edits for the third novel and finish the 7th book in the series.

    I'm also doing a little bit of soul searching. I've heard some really good things about a small press that interests me. However, my original plan wasn't to sub to any presses. While I do have experience working with trade publishers, the outcome (aka royalties) isn't much different than self publishing. So I'm about to write out (another) pros and cons list, keeping in mind my current situation and any possible changes in the future that may make it difficult for me to self publish.

    Crossing my fingers I'm happy with whatever I choose. I'll update soon-ish. Good luck with everyone's endeavors!

  7. #7
    I want one for Christmas!! VV c.m.n.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    supercalifragilistic expialidocious
    Hey all, another update!

    So even though I'm still deciding whether to submit to a publisher, I'm also planning my website and email hosting. That is something I'll need as an author, whether trade published or self published. There are so many options out there, it's hard to choose.

    My old pen name used all free things: Weebly, Gmail, and free Mailchimp for newsletters.

    This new pen name is going custom (paid), when I can afford it. I've researched almost all of the options available and decided to keep my limit at under $100 for email/website hosting.

    I do like Weebly. It's easy to customize, easy to use, but the "starter" plan is $8 a month. Not to mention I'd have to pay extra for G Suite (custom email). is a popular option, but most of the website hosts charge for 36 months, not yearly. Plus, when I tried, I couldn't get comfortable with the interface.

    I'm looking into Zoho for both website customization and email hosting. They don't have the greatest reviews, but they're cheap: around $80 a year. In this case, I don't think I'll use my custom email for important correspondence, through publishers or Paypal, etc. But primarily use it just for building my mailing list.

    If anyone checks in on this thread, does anyone have experience with Zoho? Or what do you guys use for website/email hosting?
    Last edited by c.m.n.; 11-10-2017 at 07:07 PM.

  8. #8
    Megalomaniac with a typewriter Dynastic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Karachi, Pakistan
    I really like your approach. I am a newbie working on his first romance novel that I plan on self publishing.


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