Thursday, February 24, 2011

I know I have touched on self-publishing in the past but a recent USA Today article caught my attention and it got me thinking. Authors like Amanda Hocking may have numbers that make you say OMG! as your eyes bug out of your head. They are having amazing success self-publishing. But how much time is invested in marketing and promotion to acquire such sales? And what about the ones who are not finding success in self-publishing?

As I've stated before, promotion is my enemy. I have read on many occasions from many different authors that the best way to sell is to write that next book. A large backlist is your friend. And this has become my motto because quite frankly, self-promotion is just not my forte. So I want to know more than just how many books Amanda Hocking sold in one month. How much initial capital was required to get the manuscript ready for self-publication (editing, cover art, purchasing an ISBN number, etc.)? How many hours a day are those who have found even moderate success having to spend promoting their books? The article states "Hocking credits her success to aggressive self-promotion on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter". But how aggressive? And when does it cross the line? Because there is a point where self-promotion can turn off readers.

What I want are facts laid out nice and neat, not big numbers thrown out toting the wonders of self-publishing. Because for every dozen successful self-pubbed authors there are hundreds who are not. And while price point might have something to do with initial sales (cause I think most people are willing to fork over $.99 to try a new author out), in this business it's all about repeat sales. I'll pay $.99 but if it's crap, I'm not going to buy the second book, no matter how cheap it is.

So is success based on good writing, price point, aggressive marketing, or all of the above? Are those not finding success failing miserably at one of the above? Or is it all just a crap shoot where you have to cross your fingers and hope your book sells?

I wish I had the answer.

Shiloh Walker posted on her blog several months ago about her foray into the self-publishing market. It's an interesting read not only for those thinking of dipping their toes into the pool of self-publishing but for those involved in more mainstream publishing.

But here's some food for thought. Not long ago, e-publishing was considered the bastard child of the publishing industry (and in some minds, probably still is).

Oh -- and one last thing. And Stephanie Laurens has started a interesting blog hoping to bridge the gap between all authors no matter which side of the fence you fall. Check it out.


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