The odds of someone making it big by publishing eBooks is rather slim – I’ve come to that realization lately, especially after visiting various blogs, websites, etc. There are so many books out there, many more than most people realize. I got my first taste of this when I submitted AFR to Smashwords nearly two weeks ago. I found it hard to fathom that there were over 2600 books in front of mine that were waiting for approval. I guess I should say stories, because many of them were likely short stories. But the fact remains that it’s nearly impossible to get noticed when there is such a glut of words out there. A person can only do so much on his or her own, but it seems that if you can get a little help from your friends, family, contacts, co-workers and the like, you stand a better chance of maybe getting that one book noticed. Maybe.
I didn’t have any unrealistic expectations when I decided to self-publish AFR in print back in 2007. I knew I was working full time back then and didn’t have the time or the resources to do anything more than a minimal amount of marketing. Was it successful? There’s the rub – how do you define “successful”? For me, success was found in the little things. I was able to sell quite a few books to my friends and family and co-workers. I sold a few to people I didn’t know, and I didn’t sell a lot more than that. I was able to do a few readings and signings and had a lot of fun with that. I put on a book launch party (with much help from my number one fan and partner in crime, Janet), and that was a blast. Sixty or so of my friends and co-workers came out to help us celebrate the book’s release. We solved mysteries, ate “book-related” foods (finger-shaped cookies, eyeballs made from gelatine, bones made from meringue), I did a reading and then Q&A with the crowd. We had movie posters on the walls, skull candles, even mystery music playing in the background (Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky). For me, this was success.
And now, I’ve entered a whole new realm of publishing – the eRealm. Before I did any of this, I spent a few hours pouring over different websites, trying to learn as much as I could about eBooks and how to get them out there. There’s so much information available that it can be overwhelming. In fact, it was overwhelming, but then I came across a website called Savvy Self-Publishing. In essence, it’s a blog site devoted to giving tips on self-publishing ebooks through blogging and social media. I began reading some of the posts and felt right at home. It’s as if this invisible person was sitting next to me, showing me how things are done – better qualify that by saying – how she did them. Reading further, I discovered that this invisible person was Lindsay Buroker. Never heard of her, but that’s not saying much coming from an eBook newbie. I found out that she’s been e-pubbing for about a year, and with a degree of success. Maybe it’s the material she writes, maybe it’s not. What I do know is that she had a plan and that plan is now making her money. I’d be a fool not to at least study her methods a bit more closely, wouldn’t I?
Ok, so I’ve spent significant time reading her blogs, watching her Tweets, and I have a bit of a plan going here, but there is so much more that needs to be done. Given the fact that I’m retired now, I should have nothing but time to spend on this, and I suppose that’s true, but I do have a life outside of writing, and that has run a bit of interference lately. However, I will be devoting more of my time to writing, editing, and publishing not only the existing stories I have at this time, but also new material. I don’t have any expectations with this endeavour – if I sell a few eBooks, great, and if I don’t, well I’ll still write because that’s what I love to do. Thank you, Lindsay, for being an inspiration. I hope you continue to have success with your writing. As for me, I’ll let the universe unfold as it should.
I’ll leave you with a quote that I believe is true -
“Success isn’t something that just happens–Success is learned, success is practiced and then it is shared.” -Sparky Anderson