June 18, 2012

I'm PROUD to be Self Published!

If you log onto amazon right now-  go, i'll wait-   you'll see a super bitchin piece talking about the uber-fabulous Jessica Park, and her equally fabulous book, Flat Out Love.

I hope that you can realize, even if it's just for a brief moment, how incredible this is. How inspiring. And how freaking amazeballs Amazon is!  Dear Amazon, I heart you in a big way.

The first thing people say to me when they find out that i'm an author is, without a doubt, "I've always wanted to write a book." Did you realize that 90% of the people you know want to write books?  I didn't either. Half of them probably never will.

But do you know what I tell them?

I tell them IF THEY'RE SERIOUS, THEY SHOULD DO IT.  And they should 100%, SELF PUBLISH.

I'm not trying to offend anyone out there who has or is traditionally published. Good for you.  I'm sure that it's the right decision for you and I sincerely hope your experience makes it totally worth while.

It simply no longer is the right choice for me.

Don't get me wrong, when I wrote In Dreams (my debut young adult novel), I naively tried and tried to get signed with an agent. I simply assumed that was what you were supposed to do. I'd heard of self publishing. I saw the sheer amount of people doing it. I just also naively assumed that only shitty books were self published. And that it meant I had failed as an author.

Self publishing meant I wasn't good enough. My book didn't have enough appeal to sell in a mass marketplace. My characters sucked. My story sucked. Everything about what I was trying to do, S-U-C-K-E-D.  And as the rejections quickly filled my inbox, I started to agree with that theory even more.

I had two choices. I could quit and give into the belief that my book wasn't good enough to be read by anyone other than me.  Or I could forge ahead and publish on my own. I looked into self publishing more and more. I researched for days on end, read hours of blog posts, chose the sites where I would self publish (amazon, hands down) and where I would sell paperback versions of my books (createspace).

And then I made the decision.

Or rather, it was made for me. (Thank you to every single agent and publishing house that rejected me. I sincerely cannot thank you enough.)

I decided to self publish. Not like I'm really a quitter anyway, so we all knew what was coming.  :)

But I can tell you, almost 10 months after putting out my first book... Self Publishing has been the coolest and best thing i've done in terms of my career. Amazon has been spectacular and I have very few (if any) complaints. They are responsible for 95% of my sales. I'm sure that has a lot to do with the fact that they simply blow their competition away, but hey, it's good for my business.  :) 

I love the control and the freedom I have self publishing. And I love Amazon's reach into places I only dream about. I cannot imagine having published through a traditional publisher and I don't recommend it to anyone who asks me for my opinion (granted, I don't have anything to compare it too, but still- I am happy to be self pubbed). At this point, where sadly it seems like bookstores are going the way of music stores, it's simply a waste of time to query and submit. And it's a hit your ego doesn't need to take. Trust me, when your book is out for public consumption, your ego will take enough punches.

So yeah. I love being a self published, independent author. I love the community i'm a part of. I love the talent. And I freaking love Amazon. (even though right now they're pissing me off cause my book is supposed to be "free" and it's not lol). And I want to thank them. Because they gave me a platform, a chance, an opportunity to NOT give up on my dream. Had this been another place and time, being rejected by agents meant my dream would have been crushed. Limited. Over. And now, because of places like Amazon- we don't have to give up. We don't have to keep our stories to ourselves. We have the choice to share our words with the world. We have OPTIONS.  Amazon has changed my world.

But they aren't the only ones.

Amazon may have changed the world for us writers..... but it's writers like Jessica Park who have changed the world for us readers.

Go read.  :)

10 comments:

  1. Awesome! Thank you so much for writing this. I am almost finished with my first novel, and I have been dreading the idea of having to find an agent/publisher ect. This is really so great to read this...thank you for posting :)

    Nicole Deese

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  2. Nicole- you are SO welcome! and GOOD LUCK!! If you ever have any questions, or get frustrated, i'm always willing to help... just post on my facebook page or shoot me an email! :)

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  3. It's posts like these that give me renewed encouragement to go forward :)

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  4. Hi. You say Amazon does 95% of your sales. How does this happen? How do theyn promote so that you can get sales? Or do you promote and refer people to buy it in Amazon? How do you market your book to get sales? Wouldn´t that be a downfall from not having a publisher? thanks for your blog, your inspiring words and your help. I have tw books that I have finished and now I do not know what comes next?! :)

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  5. I'm currently working on a science fiction novel to be self-published on Amazon and I'm also curious as to what to do next and how one promotes themselves.

    Any insight into these things?

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  6. Mamma Dre- Good! Don't stop. There's NO REASON TOO- because no one is stopping you. :)

    Juan- I said that Amazon was responsible for 95% of my sales because that's simply the truth. I sell MORE on Amazon than anywhere else. I think it's because people have Kindle apps on their cell phones, ipads, and computers. Also, people have more kindles than nooks. I think more people shop for books on Amazon than anywhere else. And so... my sales come from there. And no, they haven't done anything to promote my books, but I've worked my ass off trying to promote, market, gain a fan base. The best thing you can do- is have your book professionally edited (NOT edited by a friend), make sure you have an eye catching cover, and TELL A GOOD STORY. :) I'm honestly not sure how much a publisher does for you marketing wise anymore. I've heard from numerous people that they are responsible for all their own social media, blogging, facebook, twitter, etc.... but I honestly can't say because I don't know. Best of luck! You can find so many ideas and answers online- simply search. JA Konrath's blog is a WEALTH of self publishing information. Search his archives... he helps in EVERY way possible. Again, good luck!

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  7. Unknown-

    That's the biggest question after you've written a book, isn't it? And I wish I could tell you that there is one magic formula to follow, but simply put... there isn't. What works for one author might not work for another one. It varies so much depending on WHO your target audience is, how to reach them, etc I honestly don't know how to market to a science fiction audience, but i'm sure if you do some searches online for marketing, or "where are the science fiction readers?" maybe something good will come up? look for forums where people talk about sci fi books... things like that.

    I will suggest this as well, or at least mention it.... my first book is in the KDP Select group on Amazon. That means i can ONLY sell my e-versions on Amazon and no where else. No Ibooks, Sony Store, Barnes & Noble, etc. And whenever I do "free" days with my books, they shoot up the charts and I get exposure on Amazon that I'm not sure I could pay for!

    Best of luck to you. :)

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  8. Excellent post, Jenn. What an exciting time to be a writer!

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  9. Rock the fuck on girly! I plan on delving into self-pub the second I grow a pair (I'm quite terrified!) and ladies like you, Jessica and Colleen are an absolute inspiration! Xooo

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