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Self-Publishing: Six Weeks In

26 Dec 2011

Hope your Christmas was better than mine. I spent all day yesterday curled up on the couch because of a stomach flu. However, I got caught up on the Hawaii Five-O remake. I watched the first episode, thinking I’d get a good laugh over the cheese and dismiss the show, but I’m hooked on the bromance between Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. And Grace Park kicks some serious ass.

On to the self-publishing experiment…

So far, so good. The ROI is decent, but I didn’t have to hire a free-lance editor since the books were previously published. I’m trying to get the rights back to as many titles as possible because I enjoy the process (and figuring out the technical stuff…which I’m still doing, as evidenced by the way too many updates I’ve done on the Kindle versions) and I LOVE the control. Honestly, no one cares about your work as much as you do unless you’re Stephen King.

Anyway, six weeks into this self-publishing experiment, I learned a few things beyond the technical stuff:

  • Amazon customer service for Kindle DP is as good as Amazon customer service for their purchasing customers
  • Amazon’s KDP Select program sucks for indie authors because I don’t like the exclusivity clause—although the ability to price titles at free is tempting
  • I’m selling more at B&N than I thought I would, but I think it’s because I have a free title there
  • B&N customers are very quick with their reviews; I don’t have the Nook or the Nook app, but I wonder if B&N sends out a reminder to complete a review after a customer finishes a book
  • I sell practically nothing on Smashwords but its value is the distribution to major retailers such as B&N and Kobo
  • Smashwords is inconsistent with its premium distribution rules and reviews…and I think some of its reviewers don’t understand the word metadata
  • Sony and Apple customers love free books but that doesn’t translate into sales of non-free titles
  • Sales at All Romance eBooks aren’t stellar by my standards, even though all three titles are listed as best sellers, but I submitted a vignette for their Wildfire newsletter and am waiting to see if that will spur sales
  • For my titles, reviews on review sites don’t sell books…which is great because I don’t have the time to send out review copies
  • Customer reviews (actual customers, not reviewers who received promo copies) on retailer sites do sell books
  • Having a backlist helps…if priced appropriately
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