As I am venturing into the world of self publishing myself I thought it would be useful to gain the insights of already published authors. In doing so I intend to provide some interesting interviews over the coming months where I ask, basically, the questions I want answers to in the hope I will uncover some good tips from seasoned pros.
My first interview is with John Davis, author of ‘Gunship’ available in the Kindle store.
1/ How many books do you have published?
I currently have one (Gunship) available in the Kindle store, a second book due to release on 12/1/2011 and three more in the works to be available before September of 2012.
2/ What made you self publish?
I chose to self publish after reading that e-book sales had passed paperback sales. The royalties on a paperback sale are far less, on average, than an e-book because of printing cost. The truth is traditional publishing houses aren’t looking for many new authors, just more work from established names. So rather than waste time sending copies of my book all over the country to make less money, I chose to self-publish in e-book form and spend more time writing.
3/ Did you prepare your e-book yourself?
I did self-prepare it for the most part. I wrote it, did 2 corrective rewrites, gave it to a good friend with a masters in English to proof, loaded it to my Kindle and proofed it again…and still missed a couple of errors. I also had the cover professionally done. Otherwise, it took a lot of time but required very little money.
4/ Who did you self publish with?
Currently just Amazon, although I have gotten several emails from Nook owners and am considering going there as well. Amazon was the quickest to set up and paid a slightly higher royalty rate.
5/ Do you do a lot of self promotion?
Most of it is self promotion. You have to as a self-published author. A few avid fans of the book also help by promoting it themselves, they are in love with the series just as much as I am.
6/ Do you find sales peak and then drop off after your initial self promotion?
I equate a book launch to a new movie hitting theaters as far as sales are concerned. The first few weeks, a new book usually sells the bulk of its copies. After a few weeks have passed, sales taper and just like a movie hitting DVD, the sales continue but are only a fraction of its launch sales.
7/ Who does you cover art?
A good friend/model of mine appears on the cover of Gunship, theamandaelizabeth.com, and again, I had it done professionally which will usually cost around 75 to 100 bucks(but is well worth it).
8/ What advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?
Advice, how much time do you have? Kidding. I would stress writing on a subject that you can’t shut up about, because there will be times you have to write when you don’t feel up to it and this helps a lot. DON’T go the vanity publishing route (Authorhouse, I-Universe). Simply, they are the creation of traditional publishing houses and charge you to do things that you can do on your own for free. Open a blog and Twitter account, best promotional tools ever.
Anyone who says it can’t be done is daring you to prove them wrong. Finally, know what you are getting into. It’s a lot of work, which is why most people never finish their first book. If you are sure it’s for you, dive in and enjoy every minute of it.
Thank you John or your time and your great insights. You can follow John on Twitter @johndavisbooks