View Full Version : Self-pub first timer question

08-01-2011, 05:38 AM
How many books did you self-publish when you started out?

I have 1 completed book that I'm considering self-publishing because I've had two rejections and the last one mentioned that I am submitting to the wrong genre.
Plus this is a continuing series. The second book is written, I just have to edit it.

I've read that it helps to have a selection of several books. Is that true for your first time??

08-01-2011, 06:16 AM
Two rejections and you are giving up already?

08-01-2011, 06:21 AM
Not necessarily 'giving up', just thinking of taking my originally planned route with this story.

08-01-2011, 07:34 AM
I'm not sure I get the reasoning. If you had a good reason before for wanting to self-publish, then go for it, but if it's because you got two rejections, particularly when one isn't even a real rejection but a statement that you're submitting to the wrong genre, I don't get it at all. If you want to be commercially published, it's worth sending out to many, many more than two people. You also don't say whether or not you were submitting to agents or publishers.

Something else makes me wonder. One, if you're calling your book the wrong genre, at least submit it to some people under the proper genre before you decide to give up. I mean, what you've done is essentially taken a pair of shoes to a dress store and then been told they don't want your shoes because they only sell dresses. It doesn't say anything at all about your product.

Second, it makes me wonder if you're marketing this project wrong, which is something to be concerned about whether your self-publishing or not. If you're calling something fantasy when it's really sci-fi, or calling something a thriller when it's really a fantasy, that sort of thing, then you're not going to find your audience. People looking at your book will be disappointed to find that it isn't what they expect.

Third, this could also be an indication that you need to do more research and learn more about the other books in your field before you move on. Is this the first book you've written? Are you writing something in a genre that you don't normally read? I've written a book that kind of fell in between the cracks and those are really difficult to classify, but if you can find some books similar to yours that you can compare to, then you can see what those are called and try to appeal to their audience.

Hope this helps some.

As for several at once, I've heard many people say that your numbers increase the more books you have out. I don't know enough about that to say whether or not you would be better off writing more in the series or writing different books. The difficulty is that if the first book doesn't sell well, people aren't likely to buy the others. On the other hand, if the first is a really great book, having several books for sale might give you some added credibility and make readers more likely to take a chance on you.

08-01-2011, 06:29 PM
To address your questions and concerns,

I was considering self-publishing this story before being "talked into" commercial publishing. I know I'm giving up quite easily, but knowing this story's past, now I believe it might be better to self-pub.
As for the genre issue, the complete story would fall under romance, quite possibly erotic romance, however the first book (as per the publisher I submitted to said) it is more a mystery/romance and not quite what they publish.

Shrugs. I knew that erotica without sex wouldn't sell to the publishers LOL

This is the first book I've tried submitting, but since writing this, I've learned a lot about the genre I'm trying for and do understand why this particular book wouldn't fit that genre.

I'm still debating on what to do next and just getting some info to help me decide my next route.

Thanks for your answer :)

08-01-2011, 07:30 PM
Just addressing the numbers question -- Bob Mayer has said that the best chance for getting sales rolling with a first book is to release is AT LEAST three books, more or less simultaneously. I remember reading it, but don't recall when -- you might check out his blog for more of his reasoning.

I've seen that sort of thing happen in the epublishing (with the existing epublishers) world -- mediocre sales for the first two books, then rising with the third and really getting rolling somewhere around book 7. With books 4, 5, 6, and 7 all coming out within a year or two of the first three.

It looks like readers are reluctant to try new authors until that author has a bit of a track record. It makes sense, in a way -- if I really love an author, I want to read ALL of her books, past and future. If she's only written one book, there's no backlist, and I can't be sure there will be a future list. If she's written three books, it's a good indication that she will write more books in the future, and, at a minimum, I have three books to read.

If nothing else, having several books available helps you to stand out from the pack of one-book self-publishers. And if you're going with just one book initially, don't expect any significant sales numbers, and make sure you write fast enough to have books 2, 3, 4 and 5 ready within a year or two.

08-02-2011, 02:30 AM
Shrugs. I knew that erotica without sex wouldn't sell to the publishers LOL

So, I just had to say, even erotica WITH sex doesn't always get the label, because it's "I know it when I see it" and every editor is different.

I've written four novellas jam-packed with graphic sex. No euphemisms. No crazy props, no electric anal prods, just real people getting sweaty.

The first one got shelved as erotic romance and sold like hotcakes. The second got shelved as contemporary romance (and by the way, that was the right call) and sold like meh. The third one hasn't gone on sale yet, but may be shelved as cont. rom. even though it's the story of two strangers having a lot of extremely adventurous sex and eventually falling in love.

The fourth one I'm going selfpub (waiting for it to go live before I doink with my signature here), in part because I just don't feel like arguing about whether or not a book with anonymous phone sex, menage, and swinging is ER or CR.

/rant off

Anyway, knowing where to put it is actually more important as a self-pub person, because you're the one setting the categories and search terms.

I wouldn't worry so much about numbers, though. Initial sales will be low. But one of the brighter lights in self pub, whose name is escaping me, says "forever is a long time for people to find your book." You might as well start now instead of waiting until you've got three books finished, you know? Just keep your expectations low, and maybe skip the promo until you've got the whole series out.

08-02-2011, 05:22 AM
Thank you kathleen :)

I have thought about the genre mix up quite a bit since last night. Each book (so far) has different categories. ie the first would probably fall under paranormal thriller, the second book would fall under paranormal erotic romance. LOL

I do, at least, want the second book done to publish too when I publish the first. I understand sales will be low, that's perfectly fine. Not trying to become rich and famous, just want to share and have some extra cash for fun :)

08-02-2011, 06:32 AM
Is there any way to edit them so that they fall more into the same category? For instance, upping the erotica in the first book, or cutting some of the graphic bits in the second?

I'm just thinking that as a series it might be better if they were both in the same category since the reading audience might be completely different for the two. I worry that you might risk alienating your audience when they expect one thing and get another. Or is it possible to market them as different categories that just happen to have the same characters and same world, rather than direct sequels? Do you think they stand alone enough?

I'm not sure how much of a problem this would really be, but it does seem worth looking into.

08-02-2011, 07:23 AM
I could cut some of the naughty bits from book 2 and call them both paranormal romance actually.

Here, I know there are different areas of the forum for this discussion, but quickly maybe you (who reads this) can help me decide once and for all:

In book 1, basically both MC's met by fate. Vampire attacks human, human dreams of the attack but that's all he remembers, vampire finds human 10 years later and explains they need to leech off each other to live... it gets a little naughty cause the human requires sexual energy to live.

Hence why I originally called it erotica but the editor said it was more a mystery (though she read a partial).

But there is no more than high sexual tension and a bit of foreplay. In truth, I can see why the editor called it a mystery. The story isn't based on the sex, it's based on the mystery of the dreams and the curse these two have.

Yeah, they eventually fall for each other.

Am I writing between the lines?? LOL

08-02-2011, 07:50 AM
Sounds like urban fantasy to me. Maybe paranormal mystery? I think the vampires classify it, though.