Adventures in publishing

Today marks the first month of my self-publishing adventure. As most people say, its a fast moving, fast-learning experience.
My novel Lions of the Grail has been available for the kindle at Amazon since mid-June, on Smashwords for 5 days, as well as in printed form from lulu
So hows it going?
Well I'm not a millionaire yet :-) , however I'm pleasantly surprised to report that I've sold 32 copies, which isn't bad I suppose for starters. Also things seem to be settling down to a steady one or two copies a day. Hopefully this will start to multiply as folk read and recommend it.
Things I've learned so far:

  • Time spent proof reading before ordering any printed copies is time VERY well spent. I've gone through 4 versions of the book and wasted money on mistakes on the cover, unintentional blank pages etc.

  • "Standard Manuscript Format" is NOT print format. I submitted my manuscript as I would to a publisher or agent: 12 point font, A4, double spaced. A printer kindly pointed out that printed novels dont look like that. Removing the double spacing and setting the page size to A5 knocked 40% off the price of printing the book.

  • The profit margin on kindle way outstrips printed books.

  • Its very hard to make any profit selling hard copies: High street book chains like Waterstones won't order books from independants and you have to have an account with a book distributer like Gardeners or Bertrams that they will order through. That means you must have an ISBN (which costs money). Distributors also expect a 60% discount. The average price for a paperback fiction book is £8.99. If you sell the book to Gardeners at a their expected discount rate that mean syou have to find a way of printing the book at £3.50 before you can break even (don't forget postage etc!)

  • An agent just told me that if I've published on kindle no publisher will now touch my book. Oops. One thing I should mention is that before heading down the self publishing route, make sure you've exhausted the "traditional route".
Tomorrow I've an advert on all day, so it will be very interesting to report how that goes.


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