Here’s another bit of exciting news. I just received my first royalty payment report from Amazon, and the payment should be arriving soon. It’s a tiny, tiny royalty payment, to be sure. But it’s still a big baby step for me. I’m starting to feel like a real writer.
I’ve only got one e-book out so far, and I had to self-publish that. It’s a collection of five flash fiction stories, that I wrote for Holly Lisle’s free course, Writing Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck. So far I have sold a grand total of six copies, and three of those were to family members. I only have one review on Amazon, which means it’s highly unlikely that anyone will accidentally stumble across my little book. I believe you have to have ten reviews before it shows up in anything but specific searches. But I have plans for that, too.
Writing the stories was just the first step. Then I had to get feedback, which turned out to be both helpful and discouraging. That’s one of the problems of posting a story on a forum for feedback, instead of giving it to a critique group or a group of beta readers. Through another of Holly’s courses, Publishing While Broke, I also had access to a free Gimp tutorial about designing my cover. But just to be sure it wasn’t too, too amateurish, I also took another e-book cover design course on Udemy.com, which gave me a more complete understanding of the elements that go into the design. This was intimidating and helpful at the same time, since I wasn’t about to pay a professional $400 or more for an e-book that would sell for $0.99.
Fortunately, I already have and use Scrivener, thanks to Nanowrimo winner codes. Scrivener makes it much, much easier to compile a novel or short stories into an e-book. For Amazon, I had to download Amazon’s KindleGen app as well as the Kindle previewer. I had to make sure that my stories were as good as they were going to get, add in front matter such as the title page and copyright page, and back matter such as my author blurb, and a link to my mailing list signup. I actually agonized over exactly what I needed, and now I feel like I just threw it together and need to do better on the next book.
And wouldn’t you know…even though I previewed the e-book on the Kindle software, and put it onto my own Kindle, I still found errors after I uploaded it to Amazon. I promised myself I could “unpublish” and fix errors and republish once, and then I was done. I used that “unpublish” option too, right after the book went live a few hours later. I had to force myself to leave it after that, especially when my stories suddenly started picking up more critiques on the forum.
I shared the link on Facebook, and got nothing. Most of my friends don’t see my writer Facebook page. And I’m reluctant to be pushy or repetitive about promoting my book to my friends. Hence the six copies, and the royalties that might buy me a cup of coffee, if I drank coffee. But it’s all about getting stuff out there, and I am starting to have more confidence that my readership will grow, as long as I keep producing. It’s a learning process for sure. But it’s amazing to me how much I’ve already learned about self-publishing, compared to a year ago.
I plan to write another short story or two, about the characters in my flash fiction collection. Then my plan is to get my book on Smashwords, and give out free review copies to people who sign up for my mailing list. Those who email me with a link to anywhere they reviewed my book will receive the free story, which will be the only way to get it. I will also do the same thing for my Persnickety stories. Which of course means my next project is to get my mailing list sign-up back onto my web page. And then I need to get my second collection of stories out there.
So much to do. I’m feeling so overwhelmed with projects that I can’t keep from smiling about it.