The Day After Publishing

As you’ll remember in our last exciting episode of The Rogue Scholar, I pushed the Publish button on Article 9, my first proper SciFi novel.

Since then, I’ve pushed the button on the Print-On-Demand version of the book as well, so if you shun electronics in favor of printed copy, you now have an option.

As you can imagine, the last few days have been most instructive.What have I learned so far from my experiment in self-publishing? Let’s make a list:

1. You do not know who your readers are. I have a reader in France, another in Canada, and two more in Denmark. The rest are from the US. I know who a few of them are  because they basically told me, “Dude, I bought your book.” I can make an educated guess about a few more. Who are the rest? No idea. But I hope they enjoy the book.

2. Your followers are not your readers. Between all my social media accounts and my blog I have around 700 followers. I do not have 700 readers. Ironically, I have many more tools available to figure out who my followers are. This is a problem from a sales point of view.

3. Amazon reports sales numbers in real time. This is incredibly useful, but I can see how this can become an addiction, as one hits all the rounds of social media and then comes back to the reports portion of the Kindle Direct Publishing site. Each sale gets instantly translated to a new value, so it’s no hard thing to keep hitting that report button: how many have I sold now? How about now? How about now?

4. As vendors go, can be a royal pain. As publishers go, they can be a nightmare to deal with. Amazon is indeed a one-stop shopping site for self-publishers. But they don’t make it easy. The Kindle Direct Publishing account and CreateSpace accounts are different animals. They are not connected to one’s Author Central account unless you go through the process of making them that way. The good news is that there are plenty of resources available to walk you through the steps needed. But don’t think it’s just matter of hitting that publishing button and watching the machine roll on. You need to be a hands-on manager.

5. Amazon sets prices. The POD is sizable–about 500 pages worth of sizable–and while I wanted to set the price around $10 Amazon flat-out refused to do that. The price tag for the print book is a hefty $17.99, above the minimum but way more than I’d like. The truth is that I don’t foresee selling more than a handful of these items, but I thought the option should exist for folks who just don’t want an electronic version.

Those are the immediate lessons. There will be more. Stay tuned . . .

Next hurdle: review copies!

Get Article 9!

About Jon Frater

A gaming industry stalwart dating back to the 1980s, Jonathan Frater is the co-author of roleplaying game books Robotech: Return of the Masters, and Robotech Adventures: Lancer’s Rockers, both for Palladium Books. Jonathan also wrote a column on writing and game design called The Tome in Gateways magazine. He’s currently a librarian at Metropolitan College of New York. Article 9, the first in his ambitious Blockade Trilogy, is Jonathan’s first full-length novel.

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