What I’ve Learned So Far as a Self-published Author

Posted on September 15th, 2011

I’ve been a self-published author for about three weeks, so it’s time to take my wealth of wisdom and share it with the world.


There are a few steps you need to take before you can make your book available to the world.  Beyond the obvious revisions and editing, you also need to format your manuscript so it looks correct on ebook readers and print versions.  In my case, I have separate files for each format.  If a reader tells me that there’s a typo, I’ll need to update each file with the fix and submit it individually to each publisher.

That brings me to my next point.  Even before you can format, you have to decide where you’re going to release your book.  I have four places in my case: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CreateSpace, and Smashwords.  Each one needs a different ISBN, so I ended up buying a block of 10, which allows me to prepare for my next book that will be released sometime next year.

After you’ve got your work in finished form, you need to register your copyright.  Go to http://copyright.gov to do so–if you’re creating a print version, you’ll need to mail two copies of the book in order to register your copyright.  ebooks can simply be uploaded after you’ve paid the $35 fee.


This is the biggie.  I’m trying several different avenues, including:

  • obtaining a live TV interview with KTTC (link to come)
  • creating a YouTube book trailer
  • posting on social websites, including Reddit and Twitter
  • participating in a Facebook group for my book
  • submitting to multiple book reviewers
  • hosting a launch party in Rochester MN on September 19
  • signing at an author event in Rochester on September 24
  • sponsoring a Goodreads giveaway of 5 signed copies of my novel
  • spreading my press release to several area newspapers, many of whom published it verbatim
  • securing a feature article in the Minnesota Writers Alliance newsletter
  • accepting preorders on my own site, and including a free ebook with purchase of an autographed novel
  • requesting honest reviews from family and friends
  • reviewing indie books and connecting with other indie authors

There are many other opportunities (and probably a few things I’ve missed that I’ve done), and I’m trying a lot of different things.  However, by far the best way to get additional sales has been for those who enjoy the book to talk about it with others.  Word of mouth is amazing at selling books.  A few vocal readers have done a lot to help get my work out there.

As a related aside, I’d love to get my novel into book clubs (The Caldarian Conflict is a fantasy novel, so fantasy book groups would be best for me), so if you have any advice on that, let me know in the comments below.

The biggest issue I’ve found is that many people presume a self-published novel will be low quality.  This is hard to change.  However, since I know people are concerned about quality, I offer them a free preview of the book so they can decide for themselves.  Many of those who read the preview ended up buying the book.

Keep writing

By my estimation, it’s possible to make a reasonable living by selling between 75 and 100 books per day.  Since at the moment I’m only selling about 2-3 books per day, that’s a pretty far stretch.  However, by writing more books, suddenly it becomes much easier to achieve that goal.


  • With one book, you might need to sell 75-100 copies per day.
  • With two books, you might need to sell 35-50 copies of each book per day.
  • With ten books, you only need to sell 7-10 copies of each book per day.

And so on.

So while I’m spending a majority of September taking advantage of the time to market my debut novel, I’m going to spend October and November finishing up the draft of a second. With a little luck and a lot of work, I should be able to release the new novel by mid-next year.  I also have a few short stories I may decide to release in the interim.

That’s all I’m planning to divulge tonight. What do you think?  Am I missing something? Or are there other areas to explore?

First feature article!

Posted on August 30th, 2011

I was featured in the Minnesota Writers Alliance newsletter this month.  Thanks to Joan Sween for an awesome article.  So excited to get the word out!

MWA September 2011 Newsletter

Check it out!

Editing Fiction: Hook, Plot, and Conclusion

Posted on February 6th, 2011

For the February Minnesota Writers Alliance newsletter, Joan Sween, the newsletter editor, asked me to write an article based on my freelance editing experience.

Since most of my clients submit fiction manuscripts, I focused on improving the hook, overall plot, and conclusion.  Find out what I said in the link below!

11-02 MWA Newsletter

Article Published in the MN Writers’ Alliance Newsletter

Posted on May 28th, 2010

As a result of linking up with the Rochester MN Writers Group earlier this month, I was asked to write an article for the Minnesota Writers’ Alliance monthly newsletter.

I talk a bit about giving yourself permission to mess things up a bit in the first draft, and that the most important piece is … well, I guess you’ll have to read the article to find out.  Enjoy!

Newsletter, 10-06 (PDF version)