So I’ve decided to self-publish my sequel. It’s not a decision I made overnight, this is something I’ve been thinking about for years, investigating, even whilst being with a publisher. You can read about my decision here.
Now I’m on this path – as in, I have an email in my inbox cancelling the contract – I’m on my own. This means I once again own the rights of both my books, so before I can publish the sequel, LUMINOUS, (which isn’t quite ready) I needed to re-publish my first book, LUCID.
My lovely publisher assured me they’d be available to help with the transition, and I have a friend who’s done this before, which meant we had a good excuse to go out for coffee. The web is full of information on how to self-publish, and I have a husband who’s great with tech, so I don’t feel like I’m on my own, but…
Traditional = a team behind you and your book, taking the load, wearing some of the risk.
Self-Published = I’m it; the load and risk is on me.
I’m in a great position though. LUCID has already come out. It’s already been well received. I’m just veering off the path on my own now.
The first thing I needed to do was get my eBook back up online. I had the formatted pages from my publisher and from there had to work out how to turn it from a word document into a readable kindle eBook. Easy right? This was my first real appreciation of what this whole self-publishing thing meant.
Traditional = write the book, give to publisher, eBook available online.
Self-published = write the book, do everything else because YOU are the publisher.
This meant the first thing I needed to do was become a publisher. I had to invent a publishing name and design a logo – to create the illusion that I haven’t published these books on my own, even though my writing and telling everybody about it here completely ruins that illusion, ha. But without a logo my paperback will look a bit empty, and not having a publisher listed can sometimes turn away potential readers. But also, any small business has a name they trade as, and I am now my own small business.
I’ve had to buy a pack of ISBNs – the 13 digits that can be turned into a barcode that will make my book searchable around the world. This has been my first cost as a self-publisher, the biggest difference of all with this route.
Traditional = zero cost.
Self-Published = money flying everywhere.
I needed new ISBNs because the ones I had were attached to the old publisher and now I’m with a ‘new’ publisher (wink, wink) I’ll need some fresh ones. One each for the paperbacks, one each for the e-books. I bought these from Thorpe-Bowker who pretty much have an international monopoly on ISBNs.
Before I could upload LUCID, I needed to write a new copyright page, and given the opportunity, I decided to add a few extra sneak peek pages of LUMINOUS, the sequel.
Now the book was all set to go.
Except this part wasn’t as simple as I thought. It wasn’t hard, but there were a lot of steps to do.
I created an account with KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing. Who I am, my bank details, etc, etc, you know, all that proper account type stuff.
Before I could upload my book, I needed to enter a gazillion details about the book, decide on keywords, categories, and price. Which country I wanted to set the price at, eg, I chose Australia and $4.99, then every other country is simply converted into their dollars. This is why you’ll sometimes see odd dollar and cent amounts for books on Amazon. At the end of this process, my cover and book were finally uploaded onto the world wide web.
I also needed to create an account with Amazon Author Central, this one is all about me, the author, and my books. It’s connected to KDP, but it’s the author central I’ll use to communicate with Amazon, see where my book is sitting compared to over a million other books on Amazon, you know, nothing intimidating or anything.
My biggest fear in this whole transition was that my book would lose the reviews it already had. I contacted Amazon and asked for the new Ebook to be attached to the old paperback which is still online until sold out. This way, my ebook also has the reviews. Phew.
When setting up the categories, Amazon chooses the best ones based on the select couple of options I originally chose. But I wanted more specific ones, and more than the three they gave me – my book is allowed ten. I’ve contacted Amazon with details of what I want, because I am a boss and they do as I say, ha. But look how lovely they were, that’s because I asked nicely.
I have learnt an incredible amount in the last two weeks. I’ve seen first hand some of the things my publisher did silently behind the scenes to make my book available to readers. I’ve loved getting in and learning this side of publishing a novel, and I can’t wait to do it all again for the paperback and twice over again when the sequel is ready to go.
But for now, the LUCID eBook is all set up, under all the correct categories, with all the reviews, and with a shiny new blurb as well. It sits patiently on the shelf, with over a million other books, hoping someone will see it and decide they’d like to pick it up and dive into a new story.
If that’s you, but you can’t find it under all those other heavy books,
here it is.