Adventures in Amazon Publishing
Yes, yes. I know I’ve touched upon this subject before back when we were a hair’s breath from going live with a couple novels of mine. I was pulled back from the edge of that cliff by fellow (traditionally published) authors and friends who begged me to go the traditional route, and exhaust it (and myself) fully before I chose to move forward with self-publishing. As of this moment, my third novel came damn close to a deal at one publisher, but is now back in the querying stage while I write my fourth, revise my first, and final edit my second.
That’s a lot of freaking writing to have done with only six or so people in the world who can claim the privilege of having read them.
As I curl up with a copy of Andy Weir’s THE MARTIAN, I’m giving a quick shout out to the self-published writers of the world. Weir, who has sold the film rights to THE MARTIAN as of this past year, is a great example of the success some self published writers achieve. THE MARTIAN was initially published in serial format, releasing one chapter per month until the entirety was available, for free, through his website. When fans asked for a Kindle edition, he obliged and quickly rose in the ranks of the Amazon Sci-fi genre. Now, he’s signed with a traditional publisher and basking in the glory of big bootied honeys at his Bel Air mansion, I’m sure.
My outlook on the self-publishing approach is that though you may find your niche and skyrocket, ideally what will happen is you will find readers. Readers are the purpose of writing, in the end. If you can claim even a single person who sees your name on the cover of some tale and a sense of trust and familiarity strikes them, then you are a king among men. If you write dinosaur porn, well then that’s something else entirely. (Yes, this exists)
To any of those thinking of going ahead with Amazonian publishing, I give you these three notes of advice –
1) Your cover
If you haven’t the graphic design skills, invest in the work of someone who does. A shite cover will instantly fail you. Your cover image (for a Kindle only release) needs to be 1,563 x 2,500 pixels in size. There are a million options for designing your book. Don’t think for a second that a reader won’t instantly balk at your Faulkner caliber tome with the third grade stick figure drawing on its cover. They won’t see past it, even if you’re the next King.
2) Your final draft
Again, if you don’t have a trustworthy writer/proofreading savvy friend, invest in the services of a pro. Magnificent prose that is riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors will instantly lose you a reader. Quality of writing won’t matter once they hit the second ‘but’ without a comma before it. I know many writers believe their self editing efforts will suffice, but in the end there is no work that cannot be made better by a second (third or seventh) pair of eyes.
3) Decide your purpose
Are you in this to make your millions? Well, alright then. Are you in it to gain readers and share your work with others in the hopes that they will read along with you further? There are many writers out there making a living as self-published authors. They may not be making millions (I’m sure you hear about those when they sign their bigger contracts), but they make an income. Know that simply publishing your work on the public stage won’t necessarily result in readers. There is no Big Six funded marketing campaign behind you when you self-publish. Still if your work is solid, and your stories are of worth to your readers, you may see solid numbers over time.
The issue with self-publishing, as with traditional publishing, is to always be moving forward. You may receive accolades and praise for your work, but if such doesn’t break your door down right out of the gate, the focus needs to always be on the work. What good are readers to you if you don’t intend to give them anything else to read? Keep working, keep writing, always have a project on the drafting table, always be plotting and planning. Even the greats sneak to their hotel rooms while on tour to work on the next book.