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girlyswot
09-13-2013, 09:32 PM
In inverted commas, because I don't just mean setting up an actual company for self-publishing your books. I'd just like a place where we can discuss the business aspects of being a self-publisher.

Effectively, you have to be your own CEO. You'll decide what contractors to hire, if any. You'll decide where to spend money and where to make cutbacks. You'll choose your brand and put together your marketing plan. You'll have to grapple with the technical aspects of publishing - or hire people you trust to do those things. You have to make decisions about a whole host of things you may not be an expert in. You get to take risks and reap the rewards - or not.

I'd love to hear from the other self-publishing entrepreneurs on the forum about their experiences of this side of the self-publishing process. What weren't you prepared for? What mistakes did you make? What's been the hardest part of being your own publisher? What advice would you give others setting out on this route?

girlyswot
09-13-2013, 09:46 PM
So, I guess I'll start. ;)

For me, I made a ton of mistakes because I didn't know at the beginning what I was aiming to achieve. It was a spur of the moment decision, more or less. I published two books just to see what would happen. The covers were wrong for the genre, the books weren't well-edited, I had no marketing plan, and so on. I was also pretty rubbish at keeping accounts and recording sales. And I thought it didn't matter because I didn't think I was going to be a 'proper' author, whatever I thought that was.

Two years on, with three trade published books out and another on the way, my goals for my self-published books are quite different. They are my biggest sellers by far. Yes, the same two I did everything wrong with at the beginning.

So, I want them to be the showcase of my brand. I want them to sell my other books for me. I wish I'd started off differently but I'm working to overcome that as much as possible. I'm about to do a relaunch with new covers across all the self-published books - the original two, a Christmas short story and a new one due out this month. The older ones are in new editions with minor corrections and more effective back matter. My marketing plan, after two years of trying various ineffective strategies, is now based around a schedule of regular new releases. And yes, I've learned to keep accounts and track sales. And I think I've worked out how you disclose foreign royalties on a UK tax form. Hopefully.

WriterBN
09-13-2013, 09:54 PM
My experience has been fairly smooth, but I had my own writing and editing business for 7 years, which I still kept alive when I went back to the corporate world. Now I'm back on my own, and I simply folded my fiction writing into the rest of the business.

I do have a marketing plan, but haven't had the time to do very much with it as yet.

evilrooster
09-14-2013, 12:34 PM
Girlyswot, this is a great topic. Thank you for starting it.

sarahdalton
09-14-2013, 01:34 PM
This is a fantastic thread, thanks Ros!

Okay, so here's my experience.

Like Ros I started out with very little knowledge. I sent out ARCs before they were properly formatted and edited. Luckily, the story still translated and I gathered good reviews but it could have gone terribly wrong. For one thing, I tried to create an epub from a PDF file. No, no, no! Don't ever do that! It meant all of my ARCs had random question marks and terrible formatting issues. It was really quite embarrassing.

My business is run like this:

- I'm registered as self-employed and complete tax returns. This is something I'm learning as I go. Perhaps one day I can hire an accountant who specialises in publishing, but until then I figure it all out with the help of the writing community and using my maths-challenged noggin.

- I have an EIN for my business which is in my name and I'm the CEO. This means I can earn money from the lovely people in the US who buy my books (90% or more of my sales are from the US). I didn't bother getting one for an entire year. I didn't think I'd earn enough to warrant it! Then suddenly the IRS had taken close to £1000 from me. Don't leave it so late. Just get it sorted. The information is out there.

- I track my sales using spreadsheets. Every morning about 8am (sometimes later if I have a lie in) I get up, come to my computer, open up KDP, Kobo, Smashwords etc and enter my sales for the previous 24 hours. So I always know how my sales are going I can check for trends and dips. I'm pretty maths-challenged, but I can work a spreadsheet all right. I don't do graphs or crazy stuff like that, I just keep an eye on everything ticking over. If my sales start to slow down I think about what I can do to change it.

- I also keep a spreadsheet to track payments and outgoings. I was bad at tracking how much I spent when I first started out. But I have to remind myself that I'm legally bound to get this stuff accurate. So now it all goes in a spreadsheet.

- I update my books fairly regularly. Over the year I've caught minor errors in the books. The nature of epublishing means I can update them. The paperbacks I would save them up and amend them all in one go. I hardly sell paperbacks, but obviously I want the books to be the best they can.

Another reason to update your files -- to add in links to your books, review quotes, newsletter sign ups etc.

Current plan:

Like Ros, I intend to write, write, write. Releases are the best way to market. At the moment I have a novella in the early stages of editing, I'm involved in an anthology of short stories to be released around Christmas, and I have a plan for two (maybe three) different series. I wish I could create a publishing schedule to stick with but I'm not sure I can estimate my turnover for novels just yet. Maybe when I go full time I might.

Marketing plan in more detail:

September:

- blog tour for The Unleashed
- Kindle books and tips book of the day slot
- storybundle for The Blemished and The Vanished

October

- My Daylight Monsters (a YA horror novella) release around Halloween with a Select promo. I'm going to sit and notify every single website who pick up free kindle ebooks. It'll be long, tiring and laborious, but there's no point having a free book and not telling anyone.

November

- Make sure all books are available in paperback (currently shifting from one POD to another to reduce costs) for Christmas build up. I doubt I'll sell a lot but you never know.
- Possible free run for a Fractured Novella if sales slip

December

- I'm putting The Blemished in Select for 90 days and between Christmas and New Year I want to try a free run with a Bookbub (if they'll have me again). The plan is to get into the top 100 subcategories in the UK. I'm bloody determined that my countrymen will start to buy the book. It would certainly make things easier for me seeing as I earn back more from a UK sale than I do a US sale.

- Hopefully the anthology will come out in December. It's going to be permafree. A bunch of us are writing fairytale retellings.

Jan 2014 -- go full time!!

Then I'm just going to write my YA fantasy series. :)

Have I gone into too much detail? I think my brain just decided to organise all my random thoughts for me!

I'd love to be the kind of person who keeps a written down marketing plan and ticks things off along the way. Alas, I'm more of a fast-thinking scatterbrain who keeps it all in her mind until I do it.

girlyswot
09-14-2013, 02:07 PM
- I'm registered as self-employed and complete tax returns. This is something I'm learning as I go.

Me too. It's a bit complicated in my case since I was already self-employed when I started writing but hadn't declared it to HMRC because my income was so low. Don't do this! It worked out okay in the end, but they initially wanted two years back-payments of NI. If your income is low enough, you don't have to pay NI (small earnings exemption) but you do have to declare it and then claim the exemption. Same for tax. It's better to do it all right from the start, even if your earnings are tiny, than have to try to sort out the mess later, believe me.


I have an EIN for my business which is in my name and I'm the CEO. I am really lucky here. I lived and worked in the US for 2 years, so I already had a social security number.


I track my sales using spreadsheets. Every morning about 8am (sometimes later if I have a lie in) I get up, come to my computer, open up KDP, Kobo, Smashwords etc and enter my sales for the previous 24 hours. Wow! I check online most days but I only update my spreadsheets monthly. I love to do graphs and charts and extrapolate to estimate how much I'll be earning this time next year and so on.


I also keep a spreadsheet to track payments and outgoings. I was bad at tracking how much I spent when I first started out. But I have to remind myself that I'm legally bound to get this stuff accurate. So now it all goes in a spreadsheet.Yes! You'll have to do it when you fill in your tax return and it's so much easier if you keep it up to date over the year. Also, make sure your spreadsheet is saved and backed up securely.


Another reason to update your files -- to add in links to your books, review quotes, newsletter sign ups etc. This is the main reason I'm updating mine at the moment.



I'm going to sit and notify every single website who pick up free kindle ebooks. It'll be long, tiring and laborious, but there's no point having a free book and not telling anyone.Make a spreadsheet of the contacts and learn how to do personalised mail shots? It'll take a little bit of time but will save you in the long run.


Jan 2014 -- go full time!!AWESOME!

Polenth
09-14-2013, 03:37 PM
I started a step earlier, as I registered as self-employed and did tax returns due to selling short stories. I've never earnt enough to actually pay tax, but being on file solves complications (I decided to pay my NI contributions, despite my low earnings). What I needed to do when self-publishing was to get an ITIN, which I got sorted before the first book went on sale. The gap between starting out with shorts and self-publishing was several years, which I think put me in a stronger position, as I knew how things worked and had some idea what paperwork I needed.

I keep paper accounts. Things like spreadsheets are nice enough, but I still have paper records from my school years. I have no computer files I can use from then, because those disks would no longer fit in a drive and all the programs are obsolete. I keep digital backups, but paper is my main record.

My marketing plan right now is doing basic promotion for each launch. Announcing it, doing interviews where I can and sending out review copies. I don't want my social media to become like a spambot, so my rule-of-thumb is only to announce any piece of news once. The more books I release, the more items of news I'll have, so it'll build up in time.

How successful this all is remains to be seen, as it's my first year.

Katallina
09-14-2013, 06:44 PM
I'm in a slightly different stage then you guys. I'm actually moving toward the launch of my first novel, Sealer's Promise. It's scheduled for release on February 4th, 2014*.

I started writing what will be the final draft of the novel on August 3rd and have thus far written 65,000 words. I have 3.5 more chapters to go, plus an epilogue. I want that done by Tuesday afternoon.

On Tuesday afternoon my boyfriend, Jay, is arriving (he lives in PA, I live in Ontario). We're suppose to be doing a few things to help with my novel / the business end of self publishing (I'll get to those!) and we're also suppose to be going out to dinner to celebrate the draft being finished. It'll look really BAD if I don't have it done. :O

While Jay is here the novel will sit and bake for a few days so it'll be ready for a pass to catch large plot issues, and then I will start going through it chapter by chapter once he goes home. My goal here will be to fix any large problems *I* can see, and to make the manuscript as squeaky clean as I can get it before my betas get hold of it.

While Jay is here we have four goals: (1) getting the author photo I'm going to be using for all my promoting taken. (2) getting my EIN sorted out. We figure between the two of us this should be possible. (I have really bad vision and I'm nervous I'll mess something up. Even if he's only moral support, that will be a help.) (3) Getting whatever craptastic virus is currently infecting my PC to take a hike. (4) Setting up the stuff I need to get copies ready for my local betas--my brother and his girlfriend. This means: printer, ink, paper, hole punch, binders, as well as highlighters for myself to do a physical copy go over as well. (Note: they are *not* my only betas.)

If all goes according to plan, the pre-beta cleanup phase will be done no later then Oct. 1st (Oct. 5th catch date.). Then I will be able to get my online betas started on the book as well. I have two people who have already agreed to read the novel and give feedback, and have two more in mind that I'm hoping to ask. We'll see how that goes.

At the start of October I will be getting postcards with my book cover on one side and my blurb on the other. I need to make sure I get these done ASAP because I need them to be at my house by November 1st. I'm going to a book blogging convention on November 2nd and will be passing these out along with the business cards for my blog. (My second year attending! Very excited! I had an absolute blast last year and this year I have a friend going with me.)

While my book is out with betas, I need to decide whether I am going to learn how to do my own formatting, or whether I'm going to hire out for it. (Advice welcome.) I'm also going to contact the book tour company I want to work with in Feb. or March and set up the groundwork for that--decide what size of tour makes the most sense, etc. I realize that book tours are a hit and miss thing; potentially a luxury. I've been a book blogger for two years--I'm doing it to market my book, but I'll be honest and say I'm also planning to do it because I want to have one done. (You are free to chuckle if you wish.)

Aside from these business things, I will also be starting to outline three novellas: Sealer's Deception and Sealer's Bride (which will likely get packed together as an anthology called Sealed With A Kiss since they tie together.) and a separate novella called Sealer's Salvation which sets up the couple for the next main novel in the series, Sealer's Quest. If I get the novellas done, I'll aim to get working on the outline for that. I'll be jotting ideas down for it either way. I have a broad picture for each of these, but I know myself: I won't start touching them without thorough outlines. Down that path lies madness! :D

If all goes well, this will bring us to early or mid November. I'll hopefully have all my beta feedback in hand and be able to go through it (With tea and chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate... I can get "cranky" at feedback--though never at those who gave it(!!!). I'll give any moodswing inducing feedback a day or three to settle and then look at it as objectively as possible and use what will work for my book. (And I *will* be ruthless about it. I didn't ask these people to help me so I wouldn't listen to them.)

By this time I should also have Sealer's Deception / Sealer's Bride on the go as well and should be using them to do a nanowrimo type thing. (I'll aim for to complete, but getting Sealer's Promise looked after HAS to be priority one.)

By the time that December rolls around I *must* have the final version of the book ready to go. Ideally I'll have myself, Jay and my two local betas all check it for any last minute typos or other "Whoa, that's HERE not HEAR." type stuff. Once that is completed (by Dec. 10th at the latest.) I will compile versions of Sealer's Promise into proper .mobi and epub versions and I will start contacting bloggers. I will also likely do a couple E-ARC giveaways through my own blog and hopefully through those of a couple close friends.

On the marketing front I will need to have decided whether I want a book blitz, a book tour, or both. If I do a book blitz, my plan is to have that during SP's launch week in February and I'll want to start talking to the company (I hope to work with Xpresso Book Tours (http://xpressobooktours.com/).) I want to hire in January. If I want a book tour (whether it's only or as well) I need to decide whether I want a reviews only tour or a normal tour with reviews, interviews, guest posts, etc. I will need to get that going at the start / mid of December since setting all that up takes longer. (Hello, Christmas money. You're going to be a *big* help here. And yes, my family knows I'm doing that.)

During all of the above time I will keep writing. It's too early to say when I'll finish each of the shorts or start the next novel, so I'm not really going to try. One step at a time and all.

If everything goes according to plan, Sealer's Promise will launch properly on February 4th 2014, people will know that it's coming, it's arrival will be announced via promotion and a tour will follow. From there I need to cross my fingers and hope the money starts coming in.

*I realize that I have sidestepped the elephant in the room during my entire post. I have not, and currently am not, hiring an editor. There are days when I want to reschedule my release and try to figure out a way to incorporate that, but (1) I don't have the money to afford it or the knowledge to make sure I'm getting the right person at this time. (2) I don't want to push back my release again.

I realize that this is actually a rather big deal, especially considering that I hired a very talented artist to do my cover, that I've spent this much time on my book and that my plans are as detailed as I have listed. There are days when it really, genuinely, bothers me. I think that editors are a really important part of the writing process and I'm pretty sure if I did work with the right person the book would only benefit from it. (Gotta be more insightful then "That's great, Kat!" from Jay every time I ask him for feedback about something. He means well but *no*, not every word that comes from my keyboard is "great". :) )

Self publishing is an area of my life where I'm still not totally sure where I sit on the fence. What I mean by that is I'm not certain how much of me is truly doing this simply for the joy of writing, bringing my characters to life and eventually being able to hold them in my hands. (Through publishing a POD book.) vs. whether this is going to be a totally legitimate business and I'm going to need to step my entire game up on a whole other level if I want to be here. I have to *really* think about this as I am on a disability pension and I need to pay attention to how my book and that will co-exist if, by some miracle, my series does take off. (Again: I write primarily for joy and to share my work with people at this point, and I am trying not to have sky high expectations. But I need to think of both outcomes, as well as what I'll do if I end up somewhere in the middle.)

I'm gonna wrap this up by saying that I'm very lucky I wandered in here back in early 2012. I've learned--and continue to learn--a lot from all of you and while my plans are far from flawless (but then, what plan isn't?) they are much better then they would have been on my own.

(Note: Oh crap, I forgot to schedule getting the wrap for the book done. I'll need to figure out when I'd need that. Oops!)

Also, I agree with evilrooster--this is a totally awesome thread idea! I'm enjoying reading everyone else's experiences / plans. :)

shadowdragon
09-15-2013, 12:03 AM
I started out totally clueless and made a lot of the same mistakes as others here. I put out a book with a cover that wasn't great, it needed editing, etc. I did fix the editing mistake within six months of releasing my first book.

By the time I released my second book (a short children's Christmas fable) I was getting better. I had an editing and design team behind me that also helped with promotion. I just released my third book (the second in my fantasy series) and it went out into the world professionally edited and designed with a great cover.

I keep all receipts pertaining to any expenses paid out and keep records of how much I've earned. My taxes this past spring were a learning experience even though I had them done by a place that knows what they're doing because I know I would have messed it all up.

This adventure started out a little rough, but after a year and half, I feel like I have things under control.

girlyswot
09-15-2013, 12:53 AM
I'm curious to know what outside help you've hired and at what stage. For me, the current book is the first one I've hired professional editors for (one content editor, one copyeditor/proofreader), although the previous book did also get professional editing in a slightly roundabout way.

I know other people have hired cover artists, people to help with promo (such as blog tour organisers), accountants and so on. What about agents? Does anyone have one and if so what have they done for you (foreign rights, for instance)? What else haven't I thought of?

girlyswot
09-15-2013, 12:56 AM
I'm in a slightly different stage then you guys. I'm actually moving toward the launch of my first novel, Sealer's Promise. It's scheduled for release on February 4th, 2014*.


That all sounds incredibly well thought-out and organised. Looking forward to hearing how it pans out. Good luck!

Parametric
09-15-2013, 01:03 AM
I'm curious to know what outside help you've hired and at what stage. For me, the current book is the first one I've hired professional editors for (one content editor, one copyeditor/proofreader), although the previous book did also get professional editing in a slightly roundabout way.

My day job is as a freelance editor, partly for self-publishers, but I don't use an editor for my own work. One of my goals is to escape the paralysis of insecurity I've sunk into over the years, working year after year on round after round of edits on a project that still hasn't satisfied me. So I write, publish and move on. Obviously I still put time and care into my work, but I will never again spend years working on a project that doesn't sell.

I do work with a cover artist, since that's a skill I don't currently have. I'd like to learn to create decent covers myself so I can publish entirely alone.

Katallina
09-15-2013, 01:15 AM
For my cover I hired Robin Ludwig Design (http://www.gobookcoverdesign.com/) -- I am completely thrilled with my cover, Robin was a breeze to work with and I would recommend her gladly.

If I get my book formatted, I'm considering JT Formatting (https://www.facebook.com/JTFormatting). -- Recommended to me by another cover artist I respect, Stephanie Nelson of Once Upon A Time Covers (https://www.facebook.com/Onceuponatimecovers). Still not sure if I'll hire for this or get some advice and do it myself. I think there are benefits to learning it besides money. If I learn how to do it I can update my own books and I will have much more control over making sure they are the way I want them as time goes by. On the other hand, if I hire someone who knows what they are doing, I can be confident in the fact that my book will look good and that readers will have a pleasant reading experience. I could always hire out for Sealer's Promise and spend time mastering design later once I have my PC working right and a copy of Microsoft Office.

For my book tour, as I listed earlier, I want to work with Xpresso Book Tours (http://xpressobooktours.com/services/) -- Giselle and I both started our book blogs around the same time and while hers has definitely gone in a completely different route then mine, I consider her a friend and feel comfortable with the idea of working with her. On top of that, and equally important in a business sense, her tours are extremely well organized and tend to be really successful.

Also, Jay has just "surprised" me with news that he's coming on Monday. :D In other words: "Kat! Write faster!" Oh dear. ;) (As long as I'm close I'll be okay, I suppose. I just don't want to get too off track.)

sarahdalton
09-15-2013, 01:48 AM
For my covers I used Najla Qamber Designs (http://www.najlaqamberdesigns.com/). I also made a couple by myself using stock images and GIMP.

For my first novel I went to an editor way too soon. It happened to be Wyvern Publications (http://www.wyvernpublications.co.uk/), who had published one of my short stories in their Vampire anthology. They did put me on the right track though. The first draft was awful. Mina was a brat, she killed a rabbit for no reason and had the power to smell emotions, which was boring for an MC. I changed her personality quite a lot, gave her telekinesis and turned her into someone who couldn't take a life.

I've just realised from their website, it looks like they've shut down. Hmm, I should enquire about my rights for the story...

Anyway, after the editing I discovered betas. I spent all my available cash on the first edit so couldn't afford another one, or anything for the next two books. Like Katallina I've had to rely on the kindness of others and work really hard to try and get the books error free.

For the novella I've just written I'm in talks with Andrea Harding (http://www.expresseditingsolutions.co.uk/) about editing, proofreading and blurb writing. It will be such a weight off my shoulders to outsource all three.

For blog tours I've used Reading Addiction Tours (http://readingaddictionvbt.blogspot.co.uk/) and Enchanted Book Tours (http://www.enchantedbookpromotions.com/) I must admit that neither of them have run completely smoothly and sometimes posts or reviews just never happen as promised.

ETA: Katallina, thanks for the suggestions on formatting. That's something else I want to outsource. I never get it quite right on my own.

Parametric
09-15-2013, 01:55 AM
For my covers I used Najla Qamber Designs (http://www.najlaqamberdesigns.com/). I also made a couple by myself using stock images and GIMP.

Najla Qamber is very talented. One of my clients swears by her - Najla absolutely nailed her story (http://www.najlaqamberdesigns.com/uploads/3/2/1/1/3211989/4856034_orig.jpg).

sarahdalton
09-15-2013, 02:02 AM
Najla Qamber is very talented. One of my clients swears by her - Najla absolutely nailed her story (http://www.najlaqamberdesigns.com/uploads/3/2/1/1/3211989/4856034_orig.jpg).

Ahh, I remember seeing that one in Naj's portfolio when I hired her! I think she's getting even better now. The premades are just amazing and only cost about $65. http://www.najlaqamberdesigns.com/premades.html

Parametric
09-15-2013, 02:23 AM
Ahh, I remember seeing that one in Naj's portfolio when I hired her! I think she's getting even better now. The premades are just amazing and only cost about $65. http://www.najlaqamberdesigns.com/premades.html

Beautiful! I wish I could do what she does. I've never had much artistic talent and would much rather hire a professional for cover art, but with a release every week, it's becoming uneconomical.

Judy Koot
09-15-2013, 04:35 PM
Oooh, I too like her work!
And girlyswot, thank you for starting this thread, it's very helpful.

Since I've only started self-publishing a couple of months ago and don't really have anything out yet (except for a Dutch short story on Kobo), I have limited experience, but I still like to answer the questions you've posed though, and hope to share more in the future.

I have to bail now, but I'll come back later!

Graylorne
09-15-2013, 05:23 PM
I am trade published in The Netherlands, with two books out and a third coming this Fall.

For my English books I have started my own publishing co, Red Rune. I'm doing my utmost to bring only quality books on the market. Each English book has been critiqued by several US/UK beta-readers, I engage a very experienced, professional US editor and my covers are made by the same designer that does my Dutch books.

I have two books and a novellette out on Amazon, Smashwords & affilates. A third will follow (I sincerely hope) this week and a fourth is scheduled for October.

I have done several GoodReads giveaways, what gives a fair bit of exposure (the second one had some 1150 subscribers), but not much else atm.

I've done a small book tour with Reading Addiction, and just like sarahdalton I wasn't really happy with it. I write fantasy for YA and Adults and their bloggers weren't exactly compatible. (A Promo on a protected 18+ page isn't handy for Y.A. :))
Now I have a second one booked with Promotional Book Tours (http://www.promotionalbooktours.com/2013/09/shardfall-by-paul-e-horsman-book-tour/), who are a lot more pricey, but they give a much more solid impression, too.

I recently had a really nice book trailer made by Pixel Pixie Design (https://www.facebook.com/PixelPixieDesign), I've an author website (http://www.paulhorsman-author.com). I've concated book bloggers for reviews.

The only thing I lack is sales...

But I was prepared for the long haul. I'm working on three new books (alternately) and I try to get myself in the picture. I can't do much more than that.

---

@sarahdalton: I did wonder - I was checking your present book tour, and I missed one of the first stops. Have you contacted them?

LOTLOF
09-15-2013, 08:08 PM
I have currently self published one novel and am working on number two, which will hopefully be part of a long series.

When I originally published I did not think of it as a business. I simply wanted to publish my original work and see if anyone would actually pay money for it. My original goal was to get just ten sales. I simply wanted ten people I didn't know to think my book was good enough to actually buy. My secondary goal was to get a hundred sales. I had no thoughts beyond that.

Having looked over the self publishing threads here I understood that it would be good to keep my expectations low. Since I didn't expect significant sales I set out to publish my story as cheaply as possible. I had Beta readers look over my manuscript and edited it as best I could. When I considered it ready I went through Createspace and made it available for Amazon. I had taken a look at publishing sites like Outskirtspress and others, but decided not to use them. It made no sense to spend hundreds of dollars on their packages when I did not expect to make anything on my book.

As for marketing, the bane of all self published authors, I simply relied on the fans of my fanfiction work. I had written a good many popular stories on fanfiction.net and had about four thousand followers. So from the start I knew I would be able to get the word out to a fan base that was familiar with, and enjoyed, my work. The reason I didn't expect sales was because my experience has been that many folk who will rush to get something that is free, are a whole lot slower when they have to pay.

The writing became a business about the time I hit a thousand sales. It REALLY became one when I got my first royalty check. It suddenly struck home that I could actually make money from my writing.

When I posted my first novel I didn't spend anything but time on it. On the second I have decided to pay for freelance editor as well as for a cover artist. Since I expect to actually make some revenue, investing in the second book makes a lot more sense.

mairi
09-16-2013, 12:15 AM
My books are not self-pubbed but I just thought I should share that my reviews of my books started including praises for the covers and editing when I worked with CT Cover Creations (https://www.facebook.com/CTcovercreations) and The Passionate Proofreader (http://www.thepassionateproofreader.com) for cover designs and editing respectively. Hope that helps with the business end of writing. :)

sarahdalton
09-16-2013, 12:39 AM
@sarahdalton: I did wonder - I was checking your present book tour, and I missed one of the first stops. Have you contacted them?

I decided not to. It was only for an excerpt rather than a review and I had two posts scheduled that day. I'm always hesitant in my approach to book bloggers.

Old Hack
09-16-2013, 01:02 AM
My books are not self-pubbed but I just thought I should share that my reviews of my books started including praises for the covers and editing when I worked with CT Cover Creations (https://www.facebook.com/CTcovercreations) and The Passionate Proofreader (http://www.thepassionateproofreader.com) for cover designs and editing respectively. Hope that helps with the business end of writing. :)

I'm confused.

If you're not self published, why have you worked with cover designers and proof readers? Shouldn't your publisher be sorting that out for you?

Because I was so confused, I took a look at your "books" page on your website, and didn't recognise any of the publishers' names there: and when I searched for them, I couldn't find any websites for them either.

I don't suppose you could provide a few more details, perhaps? It would be interesting to know how things have worked for you.

Medievalist
09-16-2013, 01:09 AM
Y'all might find some of the Publishing FAQs useful (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=233)

Marian Perera
09-16-2013, 01:18 AM
My books are not self-pubbed

Is The Werewolf Prince and I (http://www.amazon.com/WEREWOLF-PRINCE-Moretti-Werewolf-ebook/dp/B00AJDMYPW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379279798&sr=1-1&keywords=the+werewolf+prince+and+i) your novel? If so, it seems to be self-published - Amazon Digital Services.

Katallina
09-16-2013, 01:42 AM
Y'all might find some of the Publishing FAQs useful (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=233)
This is awesome. Not sure how I missed it before, but very glad to be looking at it now. Thanks. :)

girlyswot
09-16-2013, 01:45 AM
Oh, that was a double-take moment! The stock photo for the cover of The Werewolf Prince is the same as on the Greek translation of one of my books (http://theoldshed.me/%CF%83%CF%84%CE%B7%CE%BD-%CE%B1%CE%B3%CE%BA%CE%B1%CE%BB%CE%B9%CE%AC-%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%85-%CF%83%CE%B5%CE%90%CF%87%CE%B7/). I do love it, though, and I don't think there's likely to be much overlap in readership. ;)

Only Stronger
09-16-2013, 09:02 PM
For my covers I used Najla Qamber Designs (http://www.najlaqamberdesigns.com/). I also made a couple by myself using stock images and GIMP.

For my first novel I went to an editor way too soon. It happened to be Wyvern Publications (http://www.wyvernpublications.co.uk/), who had published one of my short stories in their Vampire anthology. They did put me on the right track though. The first draft was awful. Mina was a brat, she killed a rabbit for no reason and had the power to smell emotions, which was boring for an MC. I changed her personality quite a lot, gave her telekinesis and turned her into someone who couldn't take a life.

I've just realised from their website, it looks like they've shut down. Hmm, I should enquire about my rights for the story...

Anyway, after the editing I discovered betas. I spent all my available cash on the first edit so couldn't afford another one, or anything for the next two books. Like Katallina I've had to rely on the kindness of others and work really hard to try and get the books error free.

For the novella I've just written I'm in talks with Andrea Harding (http://www.expresseditingsolutions.co.uk/) about editing, proofreading and blurb writing. It will be such a weight off my shoulders to outsource all three.

For blog tours I've used Reading Addiction Tours (http://readingaddictionvbt.blogspot.co.uk/) and Enchanted Book Tours (http://www.enchantedbookpromotions.com/) I must admit that neither of them have run completely smoothly and sometimes posts or reviews just never happen as promised.

ETA: Katallina, thanks for the suggestions on formatting. That's something else I want to outsource. I never get it quite right on my own.

I am very impressed with her work (albeit, this is the only site I have visited for cover design.) I'll keep her in mind when I get ready to think about a cover. The MCs in my book are male, though most of her pre-made covers feature women. I did see one nice cover that features a gorgeous six pack, but it's not that kind of book. :-)

sarahdalton
09-17-2013, 04:59 PM
I am very impressed with her work (albeit, this is the only site I have visited for cover design.) I'll keep her in mind when I get ready to think about a cover. The MCs in my book are male, though most of her pre-made covers feature women. I did see one nice cover that features a gorgeous six pack, but it's not that kind of book. :-)

Haha! Yeah, I think Naj's favourite genres are romance, YA and NA, but she has made some lovely covers that branch away from those genres.

Another cover designer I love is Scarlett Rugers http://booksat.scarlettrugers.com/ Quite pricey though.

Graylorne
09-17-2013, 06:41 PM
Another cover designer I love is Scarlett Rugers http://booksat.scarlettrugers.com/ Quite pricey though.

She has some nice covers. Her prices are professional, but judging her website she offers good service for it.
She probably doesn't do old school fantasy, though :)

Nightmelody
09-17-2013, 09:49 PM
I earmark money from my profits to put back into the business.

I have bought software, a better computer, graphics, office supplies etc.

I have spent many hours on photoshop because I love graphics and find it relaxing.

I do beta and editing swaps on my self pubbed books, generally one weekend a month spent on beta reads etc. I consider that part of my business.

I've scheduled editors for October and March so need to have content to send them.

Next I want to learn Scribus, free software for making nice pdf's for print (scheduling that in November.)

I keep track of purchases etc for taxes.

c.m.n.
09-20-2013, 06:54 PM
Op, thanks for making this post! Very interesting seeing what everyone does for their publishing "business".

Me? I'm both trad. published and self published, and am currently deciding which route I want to take for future publications. I love self publishing: love being able to create things for my books (formatting and cover art), and watch my sales in real time.

When I first self published in 2011, of course I was inexperienced. I had a couple of beta readers go over my story, made a cover which was appropriate for the genre but badly executed, and just threw it out there.

I kept my expectations low. Even if I had a couple sales, I was happy. Sales were stagnant on Amazon for a few months, but after uploading to AllRomance Ebooks, they took off.

Two years later, I save receipts of my purchases, and keep track of my royalties from both my self-pub stuff and my trad. stuff (I have to for a couple of organizations I go through). For taxes, I'm completely stumped, so I used H&R Block.

The gal who did my taxes for me last year was really nice, and she knew what she was doing.

I want to keep my self-publishing as cheap as possible, but I know I'll need to hire an editor for my next project, so I'm looking around for freelancers.
I do my own simple marketing such as guest blog posts and giveaways here and there, and I hired a cover artist for my last book, Erin Lark designs (http://erinlark.com/design/), she's a member of AW. :)

mairi
10-02-2013, 11:23 PM
I'm confused.

If you're not self published, why have you worked with cover designers and proof readers? Shouldn't your publisher be sorting that out for you?

Because I was so confused, I took a look at your "books" page on your website, and didn't recognise any of the publishers' names there: and when I searched for them, I couldn't find any websites for them either.

I don't suppose you could provide a few more details, perhaps? It would be interesting to know how things have worked for you.

Hi Old Hack. I feel like I've been caught by the principal for some reason as this is my first time to talk to you, lol. =D

Sorry for the confusion - you see, my publisher is Filipino like me (one reason why you don't recognize any of her company names / trademarks, all properly registered though).

She used to be my former boss (I started out writing articles for her) so we have a really lax arrangement. Basically, because my books are doing okay, she's given me free rein to choose my editor and cover artist but she pays for their services and she also does the marketing of course.

I hope that's clarified things? =D

====

@Queen of Swords, Yup she uses KDP. Hers is a very small publishing company (again, we're based in the Philippines so we don't even have a US address - we also use CreateSpace for our paperbacks. =D) and though she has other authors, I don't get to interact with them as I mostly do my own thing. Hope that makes things clearer?

@GirlySwot - we are not the only ones using that photo hehe. Liliana Rhodes also uses it - whenever I search for my name on Amazon, her billionaire book also shows up. =D

quaghead
10-03-2013, 12:28 AM
I apologize if I've missed a discussion on this elsewhere on the forum, but I haven't found many people elaborating on it in my searches. I have a question about what you are all doing with regard to a legal business address.

Are you using your home address as your business address? Paying for a PO Box or professional mailbox service? Are you listing your home or "paid for" address on your website/business cards/marketing emails?

I know it's ideal to have a separate business address and that legally marketing emails need to have your business address included. But I wonder if you have all done that from the beginning, or if you waited a bit until you had a few publications out there and started to get a following? If you do publicize your business address, do people actually send you mail?!

I don't want to use my home address as my business address for privacy reasons; however, to get a small business box at UPS (with a real street address as opposed to PO Box) would be $170/year. A PO Box through USPS would probably be cheaper but they don't accept deliveries.

Just curious what your experiences have been. Thanks!

C.R. Baker
10-03-2013, 06:49 AM
I'd love to hear from the other self-publishing entrepreneurs on the forum about their experiences of this side of the self-publishing process. What weren't you prepared for? What mistakes did you make? What's been the hardest part of being your own publisher? What advice would you give others setting out on this route?

I'm new to self-publishing but not to running a business. Here are a few of the things I'm starting to put into place.

1) Opened a bank account for my writing business and deposited some initial funds in it.

2) Invested many hours in my education, both on craft and on the business aspects of self publishing.

3) Evaluated 13 professional editors and selected one to do both a developmental and copy edit.

4) Purchased my domain name and set up my author email account.

5) Started attending local writers groups for camaraderie and idea sharing.

What have I learned so far?

1) We are in a rapidly changing industry, and the "best way" to do things isn't very clear. There is a lot to learn. What is the right pricing? How do you build a platform? I think a lot of people self-publish because it sounds easy, but it's actually pretty complicated. You need to be up for that.

2) I think people market too hard, too soon. Why invest tons of your time marketing a single book? Even if they love it, they'll have nothing else to buy. I plan to push hard on getting books 1-3 out in the world, and save my big marketing push for once I have a bit of a backlist.

3) Spend wisely. For me that means getting good editing (#1) and getting a good cover (#2).

4) Value your work. I don't see why authors give their books away for 99 cents or even free. This may make sense in limited circumstances (a short term promotion to drive sales of other books), but if you think your book isn't worth the price of a dollar menu hamburger, why should your readers?

I'm new enough at this that I can't say the things I've learned are completely true. But these are at least the things that I suspect. :)

merrihiatt
10-03-2013, 07:30 AM
I apologize if I've missed a discussion on this elsewhere on the forum, but I haven't found many people elaborating on it in my searches. I have a question about what you are all doing with regard to a legal business address.

Are you using your home address as your business address? Paying for a PO Box or professional mailbox service? Are you listing your home or "paid for" address on your website/business cards/marketing emails?

Originally I used my home address. I now have a pmb (private mail box). It has a street address and packages may be delivered there (anything that needs a signature, actually) and then a notice is placed in my PMB for me to come inside and pick up the package/item. I do not list my address on my website or anywhere else. My business cards contain my name and website only. If I want to write my phone number on the back, I can.

I know it's ideal to have a separate business address and that legally marketing emails need to have your business address included. But I wonder if you have all done that from the beginning, or if you waited a bit until you had a few publications out there and started to get a following? If you do publicize your business address, do people actually send you mail?!

The only mail I've received is from solicitors.

I don't want to use my home address as my business address for privacy reasons; however, to get a small business box at UPS (with a real street address as opposed to PO Box) would be $170/year. A PO Box through USPS would probably be cheaper but they don't accept deliveries.

See my note above about a PMB (private mail box). I have a large one and it only cost $90 for a year.

Just curious what your experiences have been. Thanks!
Good luck!

sarahdalton
10-04-2013, 07:07 PM
I apologize if I've missed a discussion on this elsewhere on the forum, but I haven't found many people elaborating on it in my searches. I have a question about what you are all doing with regard to a legal business address.

Are you using your home address as your business address? Paying for a PO Box or professional mailbox service? Are you listing your home or "paid for" address on your website/business cards/marketing emails?

I know it's ideal to have a separate business address and that legally marketing emails need to have your business address included. But I wonder if you have all done that from the beginning, or if you waited a bit until you had a few publications out there and started to get a following? If you do publicize your business address, do people actually send you mail?!

I don't want to use my home address as my business address for privacy reasons; however, to get a small business box at UPS (with a real street address as opposed to PO Box) would be $170/year. A PO Box through USPS would probably be cheaper but they don't accept deliveries.

Just curious what your experiences have been. Thanks!

I literally sorted this out a few days ago. I'd been using my home address, and it was really only for my mailchimp newsletter, I hadn't had any reason to get post up to that point.

But I really want to push the mailing list and try and develop more of a readership so I decided to rent a PO box, or actually in my case it's a business address for a company who scan and forward mail in London. They were pretty cheap - £15 for the year. They scan up to 10 pieces of mail per month. I doubt I'll get any more than that. I mean, I could advertise the address for fan mail, but I could always set up an Email address for that, and I doubt I'd get much anyway. You never know though!

Have a google around. You could rent a PO Box in your city for convenience, or hire a company to forward on your mail, whichever is easiest for you.

Ann Joyce
10-04-2013, 09:10 PM
I rent a PO Box for $54. per year. You can do six months at a time if you prefer, for $27. That address is on the postcards I hand out with ordering info (I've also had fan mail show up in there - great fun). Of course, since it's a PO box, there is no limit to the pieces of mail you can receive. And, it's a write off.

girlyswot
10-04-2013, 10:15 PM
4) Value your work. I don't see why authors give their books away for 99 cents or even free. This may make sense in limited circumstances (a short term promotion to drive sales of other books), but if you think your book isn't worth the price of a dollar menu hamburger, why should your readers?

The same reason supermarkets have loss leaders - to attract customers. I have one book which, when it was on a six week free promotion, had well over 100,000 downloads. That's 100,000 people who get to try my work and have a direct link to click through to buy more. I've just decided (a week ago) to set it to be permanently free and it's currently getting about 200 downloads a day. That's a LOT of highly-targeted marketing for all my other books.

Oh, also I set my short stories at 99c. Because I think that is what they are worth. My longer books are at higher prices.

But also, I think the question of 'worth' is a complicated one. I don't price according to what a book is worth to me. I wrote it. It's worth more to me than anyone else. I price with the goal of maximising revenue. Higher prices don't necessarily do that - although the 70% royalty margin at Amazon does skew in favour of prices above that.

sarahdalton
10-04-2013, 10:29 PM
Yes, your free product is a sample, which is why you should only give away your books when you have other books, preferrably in a series, for customers to move on to.

The only reason my first book isn't permafree is because it's my biggest seller. If sales start to drop I'll consider it then.

WriterBN
10-04-2013, 10:32 PM
I've been through several incarnations of my business and have, at various times, used a PO box, a private mailbox, and my home address. if you're starting out, a regular PO box is inexpensive and easy to set up.

Medievalist
10-04-2013, 10:38 PM
I don't want to use my home address as my business address for privacy reasons; however, to get a small business box at UPS (with a real street address as opposed to PO Box) would be $170/year. A PO Box through USPS would probably be cheaper but they don't accept deliveries.

Just curious what your experiences have been. Thanks!

Go to a PMB Personal Mail Box provider. Many box/moving supply or storage companies offer them. It's a legitimate tax deduction for a business (I forget how much; I think it's one of the percentage ones on Schedule C—see an accountant!).

Also: Pay the extra ten bucks a year for a Private domain registration when you register your domain, even if you use the PMB.

Keep your personal and business online lives as separate as you possibly can, if for no other reason than it makes it easier to be on vacation when you're on vacation and at work when you're at work.

It's also a great way to avoid much of the online trolling around being a writer.

LOTLOF
10-04-2013, 10:48 PM
Q: What is something worth?

A: What someone is willing to pay for it.

As the author, what you yourself think your work is worth is irrelevant. It is what the customers think that matters. There is nothing wrong with setting prices to meet customer expectations. You may honestly believe that what you have written is as good as anything produced by Sanderson or Martin. However if you are an unknown writer charging $12+ for your ebook you are not going to do very well. The reader assumption isn't 'wow, this must be really good if the price is this high.' It will be 'no way am I paying that for someone I've never heard of.'

No matter how much faith you have in yourself you need to be aware of the market you are in and of the prices offered by your competition.

It is also true that it can be worth selling one product at a loss, or even at no cost, if it boosts over all sales. For instance, most fast food chains price their burgers at break even or even at a small loss. That is because they can make huge profits from french fries and sodas.

Setting your price isn't about getting the max for each individual item. It's about trying to get as much overall income as possible.

sarahdalton
10-05-2013, 08:50 PM
Let's talk about front and back matter. What do you include in your ebooks?

I want the copyright page to have a more professional feel. Any tips? Do you include little images, decorative items that make the books look prettier?

For the back matter I include blurbs instead of first chapters. They are shorter, punchier and I can include a few books then.

We have to be careful when it comes to links. Amazon et al won't put up with links to competitors. For my kindle books I link to my Amazon author page. For the others I just link to my website because I've always gone through Smashwords for Apple, B&N and Sony, so it's easier.

girlyswot
10-05-2013, 10:02 PM
I try to have everything as back matter, including the copyright page and the table of contents. That's how I prefer it when I'm reading ebooks, rather than at the start. I have links to my individual books on the Amazon site for the kindle version to make it as easy as possible for people to click through and buy. For the Smashwords version, I have links to the individual book pages on my website which have all the buy links. I also have a link to sign up to be notified of new releases, and a general link to the website.

The main thing I think it's important to remember, especially with back matter, is that readers will get cross if they think they've got 10% or 20% more of the book to go, but in face it's all excerpts/blurbs etc. I really think your book should go to at least 90% and preferably over 95% (this is harder with shorter books and novellas, but it's still important). Manage reader expectations - you don't want them disappointed at the end.

Medievalist
10-06-2013, 01:50 AM
Always link to your Website not to a vendor site; you can control the links on your own site; you can't control them elsewhere

HannahWing
10-20-2013, 10:30 PM
Reading about ITIN forms is making me want to cry. Is this something that you did before or after you self-published? Did anyone outside of the US have any difficulty in the publishing process without an ITIN?

Medievalist
10-20-2013, 10:33 PM
Reading about ITIN forms is making me want to cry. Is this something that you did before or after you self-published? Did anyone outside of the US have any difficulty in the publishing process without an ITIN?

Did you see this Publishing ITIN FAQ (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=268573)?

HannahWing
10-20-2013, 10:58 PM
Yeah, thanks. I think I may be particularly dense because I'm still a little confused about when you need to get it. It would be nice if I could put it off until after publishing.

Judy Koot
10-21-2013, 01:32 PM
Hannah, according to this article there's an easier way for non-U.S. citizens to obtain a U.S. tax number: http://catherineryanhoward.com/2012/02/24/non-us-self-publisher-tax-issues-dont-need-to-be-taxing/
(I have to apply for one myself yet, have been putting it off too...).

I don't think it's obligatory, and you won't get into trouble if you haven't got an ITIN or EIN, but it will cost you part of your income.
If you're going to publish through American platforms like Amazon or Smashwords, the U.S. will be withholding a part of your royalties unless you have an ITIN/EIN.
It can go up to 30% of your royalties, depending on the country you live in.

Parametric
10-21-2013, 01:37 PM
You can wait until after publishing, but it would be best to get an EIN or ITIN sorted out well before your first royalty payment is processed. I'm in the UK and I got my EIN sorted with a ten-minute phone call to the IRS, so it wasn't as scary as you'd think. :)

Torgo
10-22-2013, 01:46 AM
As in so many things in life, the Notorious BIG has much to teach us about publishing. These are some rules I would adhere to as a trade publisher, but possibly they have some application to self-publishing too.


Rule Nombre Uno: never let no one know
How much dough you hold cause you know
The cheddar breed jealousy 'specially
If that man f___ed up, get yo' ass stuck up

Don't make a big deal about how much money you have to spend. You'll get ripped off.


Number 2: never let 'em know your next move
Don't you know Bad Boys move in silence and violence?

Conduct negotiations in confidence. You don't want to be gazumped on an important acquisition.


Number 3: never trust nobody
Your moms'll set that ass up, properly gassed up

Everything needs to be governed by a clear contract.


Number 4: I know you heard this before
"Never get high on your own supply"

This line has many interpretations for both trade- and self-publishers.


Number 5: never sell no crack where you rest at
I don't care if they want a ounce, tell 'em "bounce!"

Retailers are retail experts. You're not.


Number 6: that goddamn credit? Dead it
You think a crackhead paying you back, s__t forget it!

You, on the other hand, can probably stretch to 30-day credit terms.


7: this rule is so underrated
Keep your family and business completely separated

Amen, brother.


Number 8: never keep no weight on you!
Them cats that squeeze your guns can hold jums too

Strictly limit your exposure by carrying only as much stock as you can expect to sell.


Number 9 shoulda been Number 1 to me:
If you ain't gettin' bagged stay the f__k from police

Should you bumble into a dubious-looking semi-conspiracy to manipulate market retail prices, please don't do it via your corporate email system.


Number 10: a strong word called "consignment"
Strictly for live men, not for freshmen
If you ain't got the clientele, say "hell no!"
Cause they gon' want they money rain sleet hail snow

If you can't afford to write off a whole years' worth of books without serious implications for your life, it has implications for your running a publishing business.

HannahWing
10-22-2013, 07:14 AM
You can wait until after publishing, but it would be best to get an EIN or ITIN sorted out well before your first royalty payment is processed. I'm in the UK and I got my EIN sorted with a ten-minute phone call to the IRS, so it wasn't as scary as you'd think. :)

Oh thanks so much, that's really encouraging.

Old Hack
10-22-2013, 10:48 AM
I think Torgo has earned a round of applause for that. Ha!

LBlankenship
10-22-2013, 05:51 PM
I think Torgo has earned a round of applause for that. Ha!

LOL, seconded. Though I've generally preferred to draw my self-pubbing advice from Cypress Hill's "Rock Superstar." ;)

eta: and writing advice from Eminem's "Lose Yourself".

JacquelineSweet
10-23-2013, 10:56 AM
Torgo, that was magnificent.

Judy Koot
12-10-2013, 07:59 PM
I'd love to hear from the other self-publishing entrepreneurs on the forum about their experiences of this side of the self-publishing process. What weren't you prepared for? What mistakes did you make?
My background: I'm a Dutch trade-published writer and music teacher, and have been self-employed for more than 12 years.
I decided to go the international self-publishing route in April this year.
I knew it would be a lot of work, but I didn't realize it would be even more work...
I had big plans, thought I would be able to publish a couple (!) of novels this year...
But learning about self-publishing, promotion and the international market (besides writing and my job as a music teacher) took up so much time, I've only published one e-book, a Dutch short story.
I've learnt to be very, very patient. I want to offer high quality books, and this takes time.
I've also spent time on building websites, a Facebook page, blogging and this forum, to keep in touch with others and create a network.


What's been the hardest part of being your own publisher?
The hardest part was that I had two short stories translated into English, and then realized that I couldn't, for the life of me, afford to have my (past and future) novels translated. This would cost me thousands and thousands of dollars... Per book.
So instead, I decided to write new manuscripts in English, translate old manuscripts myself, and hire professional editors.
It was tough to realize I couldn't write in my native language anymore if I wanted to go the international route, and also that I wouldn't be as literary fluent in English as in Dutch. My English isn't bad, but I still have a lot to learn and it does take a lot of effort on my part.


What advice would you give others setting out on this route?

1) Learn everything you can about self-publishing, the book market, promotion, marketing/branding.

2) Realize you have to make investments (I paid for translations, software to create e-books, photo licenses for book covers and websites, and website hosting amongst others). Create a budget, think about what you are willing/able to pay and shop around.

3) If you're a non-native English speaker entering the international market, do your research. Also realize you either have to be(come) fluent in English or be willing to pay (a lot) for professional translations.

4) Things will take a lot of time, so be patient. Make a (year) plan. Be clear about what you want from all this. It took me a lot of time to figure out which way I wanted to go with my work.

M. H. Lee
12-10-2013, 09:07 PM
Judy - Did you ever think about publishing your existing novels in Dutch? I know the market would be smaller, but I'd also think that for Dutch-only readers that there are less options available and it might help you to attract a core reader base?

Judy Koot
12-11-2013, 12:37 AM
Lee, thanks for asking.
I did, but I really would like to be able to earn a living with my books, and those chances are better on the international market; the Dutch book market is just a speck of dust in comparison to the English one.
Also, I'd like to focus on e-books and Dutch e-books don't do well yet (about 2% of Dutch book sales are e-books, in comparison to 25% in the U.S., and those 2% are mostly trade published).

There are some other reasons as well, like the fact that we don't have an Amazon equivalent here in the Netherlands. The one big online retailer that matters, only recently decided to open up to self-publishers, but royalties are low and there are costs, so you have to price your e-books really high, which decreases chances of selling... Not fun.

Eventually, I will probably be publishing my books in Dutch as well, but my main focus will be on the international market first.

M. H. Lee
12-11-2013, 01:08 AM
Ah, interesting. I for some reason just assumed that Amazon would support making books available in Dutch, but, yeah, if that's not an option and the market is that small and expensive then pursuing the international market first makes sense.

Judy Koot
12-11-2013, 02:25 AM
Yes, Amazon does support making books available in Dutch, since September this year. I'm really glad they do. Problem is, most people in the Netherlands don't own a Kindle or buy at Amazon... They just buy (epub) e-readers and e-books from Dutch online retailers. Retailers that don't sell self-published e-books (except for the expensive one I mentioned earlier)...
Fortunately, there's Smashwords, Apple and Kobo, so there are some other possibilities.