At the time of this blog post I have self-published 7 titles, and I am in the process of completing a devotional that will likely also be self-published.
1. Experience really is a great teacher.
As I look back on my novels, Good Girl really bears the characteristics of a first novel. The main character, Shayna, is a mirror of myself. As authors mature, they tend to be more able to break away from self. This is precisely what has happened with my writing. Single Dad 19, which was begun days after I finished Good Girl, is about a young man's experience with grief and new fatherhood--nothing that I have personally experienced. In addition, with these two books I learned an author should not change his/her name. Good Girl is published as Kimberly G. Anderson, while Single Dad 19 and my other books are Kimberly Griffith Anderson. Amazon and other booksellers list is as a separate author. When I married as Massey in 2015, I had to make the decision to keep my published name as Anderson on future works due to this earlier blunder. As a self-published author, there is a not a publishing company there to prevent the missteps. It is important to connect with other authors to learn the ropes.
2. Money cannot be the sole motivation to write or publish.
In a previous post I wrote about the fact that writing is a basic way of life for me. Writing helps me to sort out the issues of everyday life, it is a part of my meditation. I believe that no man is an island. We have all experienced or learned something that can help someone else. Sometimes, though, in our reflection and meditation to write the next paragraph or chapter, God may reveal something to us that we can either take for ourselves or write it, publish it, and potentially share it with the world. Yes, it would be great if every book became a bestseller and I became rich, but until that happens, I will just keep pecking on these keys and praying, and thanking God each time a reader tells me what one of my books meant to him/her.
3. Self-publishing means self-promotion.
As a self-published author, no company has compensated me with a million dollars up front and now must promote my book to recoup their advance. Actually, for most self-publishing it is the author who has spent money up-front and it will be the author who must work to promote the book and recoup the publishing fees. Authors must give out business cards, bookmarks, and even books everywhere they go! Authors must use their social media platform. Authors must seek out events and opportunities to speak and promote their work. Authors have a tendency to be shy or introverted, but in order to become successful, they must break out of their shell.
4. It is easier to promote a book that meets than a book that is just a fun read.
I have been published since 2008, with 7 titles. I have found, that with A Girls Guide to Abstinence and A Guys' Guide to Abstinence, I have a much easier time of promoting them because they serve a purpose. These books help to explain a concept we often shy away from because we don't fully know how to explain. While, I think everyone needs to read all of my books, these and What Are Fungi, a nonfictional children's book, serve a specific purpose. The others are relatable and entertaining, but these 3 are need-to-read titles.
5. All self-publishing companies are not created equally.
I have 4 books published with AuthorHouse and 3 with CreateSpace. In addition, I have used 48hrbooks and International Minute Press for some smaller projects. I really like the final products that AuthorHouse presents, but these attractive books come with a significant initial investment by the author. Included in the package is an ebook, and posting to all major websites for books sales. The company will even post the book in their e-magazine. They will contact the author to offer opportunities for additional promotion for additional costs. CreateSpace, I have found, offers "al-a-carte" publishing. They offer similar packages as AuthorHouse, but they also offer a no-cost option for authors who upload a print-ready PDF. While formatting is a BEAR, and it can take as much time as writing the book, the money saved by not having to pay upfront costs can be redirected to promoting the book. If you are considering self-publishing I encourage you to contact the author of a book published by the company to get their feedback before you make a decision.
Are you a self-published author or considering becoming one? Please comment below.
If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.