I've been asked by a few people whether I'd care to share my experiences with self-publishing for Amazon, both for Kindle and through CreateSpace. I'm certainly no expert, in fact, I'm amazed with myself for having managed it at all, not being particularly 'techie'. But honestly, if I can do it, anyone can!
Of course, we've all read about those amazing success stories, right? I'm not going to list them - you all know who they are - the authors who sprang up out of nowhere, having self-published a Kindle book when no traditional publisher would look at them, and hey presto, they became overnight successes and suddenly all the publishers were begging them to sign contracts. Well, I think we're all realistic enough to know we can forget those! They're the exceptions to the rule, and good luck to them - they deserve their success because basically, we all do. But sadly, for the majority of us, it doesn't happen. I think with self-publishing, it's best to start out with the mindset that this is an interesting, exciting experiment for our own satisfaction - and if we have any success, or make any money, that's a bonus.
I was fortunate that when I started my self-publishing 'experiment' I'd already had eight books published the traditional way, so I already had a small readership following me. But each book still has to stand or fall on its own merit - and I was aware that if I self-published anything less than my best work, it could affect whatever popularity I may have built up with my previous books. If you're starting out with self-publishing as a completely unknown author, your reputation depends 100% on this first book you bring to the world - and you also have to make more of an effort to get your name known - but as we've seen, it can be done!
On the plus side ... the new accessibility of self-publishing has given writers everywhere an opportunity, at a time when so many doors have been slammed in our faces. As you will know, there are many ways of self-publishing - both for ebooks and print books - but my own experience has been limited to the Amazon route because, like it or loathe it, I believe Amazon gives the best chance of sales. Others might disagree.
I started with Kindle, and my first experiment was to publish my own backlist - those of my published books where the rights have reverted to me from my publisher. None of them had been published as ebooks, so it was exciting to be able to reach out to new readers, the growing number who were buying Kindles. I have to admit, I set out with the idea of looking to see how it was done, and then probably retreating and handing the job over to someone more technologically savvy! But honestly, Amazon makes it quite easy; as long as you take your time and can follow instructions, there's no reason why you can't do it yourself. Once I'd got the hang of it with the first book, I continued with publishing all my backlist for Kindle, and then went on to publish two brand new books - Sophie Being Single and Debra Being Divorced - both under my real name, Sheila Norton.
Here's my page on the Amazon Kindle store website - as you'll see, Amazon has collected all my titles together, even my Olivia Ryan titles, as I've published them as 'Sheila Norton writing as Olivia Ryan'.
Interested in having a go? In the next part, I'll tell you how I got on with the Kindling process!