Monday, September 17, 2012

Self-Publishing Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

Our special guest today is author Wynne Channing, who's sharing some great tips on how to avoid some of the pitfalls of self-publishing. Her new book, What Kills Me, is a fantastic new vampire story and will be available for purchase for only $0.99 during this tour. Wynne has also provided a prize for one lucky commentor which includes a signed bookmark with butterfly charm and an e-copy of What Kills Me. Details are at the end of the post. This giveaway is for US & Canada only.

An author's redo: Three self-publishing mistakes that I regret.

It took me less than six months to write my YA paranormal adventure What Kills Me. Then I put it away for more than a year unsure of what to do with it. One day, the books editor at the newspaper where I work showed me how to submit my e-book to Amazon. It looked easier than setting up a Facebook profile.

It is not. But I was fooled enough to launch myself down the path of Indie Author-dom.
And now I have the honor of appearing on The Speculative Salon as part of my first blog tour! I’d like to share a few words of advice to anyone thinking of taking this amazing, exciting, and scary step.

Okay, the title is a little misleading. I can’t really regret my choices since I’ve learned from them. And they are not mistakes. What is wrong for one author can be right for another.
But here’s what I would redo if I had a time machine or could mail myself a letter like that nonsensical romantic film starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. Here are three “mistakes” that I would redo:

Wait to start promoting your book: Hang on, Wynne. I haven’t finished the book yet. How can I promote it? Yeah, that’s the conversation that I had with myself...which I regret. It’s never too early to start talking about your upcoming project. Sign up for Twitter. Identify yourself as [insert name here, author of the upcoming amazing book..., etc.] Start amassing followers. Connect with other writers and book bloggers. Start a blog. Tell people about your progress. Do a cover reveal. Collect emails so you can inform your new fans exactly when they can grab a piece of your literary genius.

Attempt to format your book yourself if you are techno-twit: Here are some things I could have been doing in the three days that I spent trying to format What Kills Me for publication: have tea and cake, plot the sequel, set myself up on Goodreads, work on my Amazon author profile, have tea and cake. Instead, I had a bald spot from scratching the same spot above my brow and an e-book with no working hyperlinks and strange spacing. By all means, try it. There are a lot of sites that offer great advice on how to do it yourself. But if it is making you want to throw your computer, hire an editor or formatter. Then go for tea and cake.

Be humble: Modesty is one of my father’s tenets. Don’t brag, he would always say. Growing up, I didn’t need to brag because I had subterranean self-esteem and as an adult, my self-deprecating humor helped me at parties.
But it prevented me at first from talking about What Kills Me. “Oh, I wrote a little something.” Uhh, no. I wrote a novel. I chose to publish it myself. And within two months, it won a reader’s choice award and almost 100 people have praised it with reviews. Once I started openly talking about the project, it invited dialogue. I met a lot more people, received great advice, and invaluable referrals.
Be proud of your accomplishments. Writing is hard. Whether you’ve started your first chapter, or you’ve just pressed “publish” on Amazon, tell someone. Hell, tell me! I will say that I am proud of you and please know that you deserve the praise.

Contest: Ok everyone, you know the drill. Leave us a comment and you'll be entered to win the lovely bookmark and ebook of What Kills Me. Please include an email address where we can contact the winner who will be chosen at the end of the tour on September 25th. Again, this contest is for US & Canadian residents only.

What Kills Me Links

What Kills Me is now $.99 on Amazon and Smashwords

About the book: An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race. So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive. How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?

About Wynne: Wynne Channing is a national newspaper reporter and young adult novelist. Wynne loves telling stories and as a journalist, she has interviewed everyone from Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Jackman to the president of the Maldives and Duchess Sarah Ferguson. The closest she has come to interviewing a vampire is sitting down with True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard (he didn’t bite). She briefly considered calling her debut novel “Well” so then everyone would say: “Well written by Wynne Channing.”

Connect with Wynne


Rafal said...

You are right that most authors should hire professional help for eBook formatting. But there is danger in it - you do not know what you do not know, so you are vulnerable that professional will tell you that eBook formatting is harder than it really is and you believe it.

Some formatters will tell you to code HTML as you write (which is not great practice).

You should try it yourself (by, for example, following guide on my website). If you fail to create good eBook on your own you should seek for professional, who can do it at low-cost.

Disclaimer! I am owner of company that offers eBook formatting services.

Tom said...

Awesome advice, Wynne. I, too, made the mistake of waiting too long to promote my first book. The result was a half a year of languishing in the equivalent of e-book no man's land. However, I learned early on to leave the formatting to experts.

Humility ... well, I'm as humble as they come. LOL

Hello everyone at The Speculative Salon!

Elle J Rossi said...

Great post, Wynne! It's hard to talk about our work, because it does seem like bragging or too in-your-face. There's a fine line between confidence and downright annoying. I'm learning balance as I go!

Heather Hildenbrand said...

Bahaha! I love "Well" as the possible title! hilarious. and great tips! thanks Wynne!

Deanne Williams said...

Great post Wynne. Some good advice especially about promoting your work. You can never start too early.

Cathy Yardley said...

I found this article via the Savvy Authors loop. Congrats on the book! It looks like a fun read, and I'll be sure to pick it up.

The only thing that I'd clarify just a bit -- re: "collecting emails" means you're setting up a newsletter or similar, right? I'd hate for new authors to think "oh, I should grab these emails" and start copying addresses from wherever they hang out online. That would be bad.

Hope you're enjoying tea, cake, and your blog tour! :)

WynneChanning said...

Thanks for all of the comments guys! Rafal, I tried to format my book using online guides. Formatting + Wynne = BALD SPOT.
And thanks Cathy for helping to clarify. No stealing emails and spamming. Anyone who does that is getting bad karma (bald spots maybe). I mean, setting up a newsletter and inviting interested readers to sign up to be notified when the book is published.

Juli D. Revezzo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Juli D. Revezzo said...

Congrats on getting your book out there, Wynne--and getting the Reader's Choice award. That's awesome! Your book sounds very interesting. Good luck with it.

Rafal said...


Formatting using online guides is not easy for many authors. But it's worth a try :)

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed this book. Wynne is very talented. :)

Unknown said...

I've had my eye on this book for a while now, so I can't wait to read it!

I self-pub too, and I can definitely identify with just about everything said here. Congrats to you and your success :)

WynneChanning said...

Congrats! What is the book called? (Brag about it.)

Kira Decker said...

I understand the "I wrote a liitle something" pause. I am slowly learning to get over that. Nice to know I'm not the only one. Congrats on the book and thanks for sharing this with us.

Kiradeckerbooks (at) Gmail (dot) com

Ella Gray said...

Thanks so much for commenting everyone. I'm emailing the winner today and I hope you all enjoy Wynne's book :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...