I want it to be perfectly clear to the readers of this article and previous articles I have written about self-publishing that I do not blame the publisher of my books for anything. I knew what the publishing contracts contained when I signed them and I believe the publisher did a great job of publishing my books. I offer this information about my experiences of self-publishing in order to help other first-time authors make decisions about publishing their works.
In the last article, I wrote about self-publishing two novels and the aftermath. I will now write more about the aftermath, including some of the things I have tried to do, and am doing, in order to promote my novels. The first thing I learned about promoting self-published books is that most bookstores and libraries, at least in my local area, are not at all interested in self-published books. I have sent out letters and made phone calls, but received no responses from the employees of the libraries and bookstores who review and select books. The next thing I learned was that the publisher occasionally offers to list my novels on different nationwide lists that librarians and bookstore managers frequent to order their books, but there is a substantial author’s fee required for each book and each list. The fees range from a little over a hundred dollars to several hundred dollars. The publisher also offers book reviews and listings, but again, all at substantial author's fees. In addition, they offer to show my books at book fairs nationwide, but again, substantial author’s fees are required. Another thing the publisher offered was an audio book, but for books the length of mine, the cost would be in excess of $4,000 for each title. In my case, I did not spend the money on any of the above promotional offers, because I did not believe I would ever sell enough books to regain the publishing fees, let alone any of the above-mentioned fees. I feel as if the sales prices for my books are set to high, especially the first novel, so it is very difficult to compete with all the e-book offerings in today’s market. Note: The publisher I contracted with has full control of the sales prices.
I had read several articles about promoting books through internet social media coverage, so I eventually opened a twitter account, facebook account, Google+ account, and this blog site. I have thought about writing my third novel, but to this date, I have spent many hours trying to promote my first two novels, too many hours to afford me time at writing another novel. My first novel has been on the market since October of 2009, and my second novel has been offered since October of 2011. The second novel is a sequel to the first novel, but I wrote it as a stand-alone book. At this time, my book sales are very slow. At first, I thought my novels might contain a little too much sexual content, or perhaps a little too much violence, but after I had read some other novels written by well-known authors, I decided that my novels offered less sexual and violent content than their novels offered. I feel that both my novels are written and edited well. They are romantic, adventurous, contain few swear words, but yes, they do contain sexual scenes and some violence.
I still spend several hours each day trying to promote my books through social media, and I have discovered many very nice authors who are willing to help me. I often wonder if it has all been worth my efforts, but I am not the type to give up easily. Who knows, one of these days I may begin on the third novel, but if I ever finish it, I will more than likely publish it differently than I did the first two. This will probably be the last article I post about self-publishing. The next one may be more entertaining. I might write about some of my land surveying experiences, or other life experiences. I hope that my posts about self-publishing books will help first-time authors.
By Dallas A. Dixon