Sep 14, 2011

Adventures in Self Publishing

My Adventures In Self Publishing by Libby Heily

Writing is a game of inches.  It's a celebration of small victories and a constant struggle against setbacks.  I've always found writing to be challenging.  Stories do not spring forth from my pen.  I grind them out over time with sweat, tears and fear.  When I think I'm done, I submit them to friends and fellow writers who tell me I can do better.  I then go back and do better.

Maybe it's because writing has always been difficult for me that I thought publishing would be easy, or at least easier.  I was wrong.  It happens often.  The actual formatting and uploading of the novel isn't too difficult.  That's all following rules and experiencing a predictable outcome.  The rest of publishing is completely different.  You know what I'm referring to, the marketing part of it.

I started building my platform at the end of February 2011.  I started a blog, started tweeting and joined a few forums.  I tried to differentiate my blog by releasing original flash fiction every Friday.  I figured readers would want to see what type of stuff I write.  I got a few new readers that way, which was wonderful, but I wasn't hitting a broader audience.

That's when I decided to steal borrow an idea from M. Pax.  I published a collection of flash fiction on Smashwords and offered it to readers for free.  I was pretty happy with the immediate result, over eighty downloads in two weeks.  I figured that was eighty people who would have never known I existed otherwise.  I listed the book on several websites that featured free books and saw my downloads jump to over one thousand.  Hey, not bad. 

The next step in building an audience was to put together a collection of short stories and release it on Amazon and other outlets.  I priced the ebook at 99 cents.  I posted on the blog, my facebook, and I tweeted about it.  Other bloggers were kind enough to mention it.  I had a few sales right off the bat but things slowed down pretty quickly.

The game plan now?  I want to reach new readers.  I want to grow my audience.  At this stage in my career, I want to be read.  In order to do that, I'm approaching book bloggers for reviews.  I've approached thirty book bloggers via email and will approach more every week for months to come.   I have six reviews scheduled and one interview.  Will this ultimately help me be successful?  I can't say for sure, but I'm pretty positive it won't hurt.  Right now it's about exposure, not sales.  Sales will come over time after people know who I am and what I write.

I wish I could tell you I have all the answers.  I wish I could say I'm successful like John Locke and Amanda Hocking.  What I am is a writer with stories to yell and the determination to be heard. 

What is your strategy for getting your stories in the hands of readers? 

Thanks to the talented Libby Heily for penning this post for us. She has two ebooks out.

Twist, Turn and Burn. A collection of twelve flash fiction pieces. The stories range from character studies to exploding bodies to tree eating humans to a day in the life of a piece of gum. Twist Turn and Burn is a quick read that allows you to explore different genres in only minutes. Available from SMASHWORDS.

Fourth Degree Freedom. Explores the best of humanity and the worst. The stories range from hopeful realism to the dystopian side of speculative fiction. Each story twists and turns through darkness and light, settling somewhere in the shadowy area of day to day life. Available from AMAZON.

Libby blogs at Libby Heily

I've enjoyed both of Libby's ebooks. Her writing is fresh, original and exciting. It makes me think, which is something I gravitate toward in literature. I look forward to her future books.
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