Should I ePublish?
For awhile, I’d determined that the series would remain as it was—without a conclusion. After all, what publisher was going to pick up the third book in a series that hadn’t sold well? I just needed to mark the series off and move on to other publishing adventures.
But then I started getting emails. Almost every week, readers contacted me and asked when the third book in the series would be out. Then I’d break the news to them. I’m sorry. There won’t be a third book. I know it’s frustrating not knowing what happens to the main character, crime-scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire. I realize you want to know which guy she ends up with and if she ever gets her dream job. But sorry! There’s nothing I can do.
I didn’t want to leave Gabby’s story unfinished. I mean, don’t you hate it when you watch a television show and, right when you’re getting into it, the series is taken off the air? That’s how I felt about my mystery series.
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In January 2012, Organized Grime released. I learned a lot in the process of publishing the book, so I wanted to share some of those tips with you, just in case you’re considering taking that plunge. And if you are considering it, now just might be the right time to take the plunge. The eBook market is exploding right now. Ebooks are 11 percent of the total book market. Sixty-six percent of eBook buyers are women, and 58 percent of the eBooks sold are fiction. These numbers are changing daily and are probably outdated already.
Then there are the success stories I’ve heard. One woman said she made $9000 in two months after she released her eBooks. Others have sold 20,000 copies in three months and went on to get lucrative traditional publishing deals.
But is e-publishing right for you? Here are some tips to keep in mind!
Do you have the right material? Do you have a book that just hasn’t found a home? Maybe it’s finaled in contests. Maybe editors have said they love it but there’s just not a big enough market for it to offer a contract. Maybe your book has gone out of print and you want to re-release it. These could all be legitimate opportunities and reasons to release the book yourself. However—if you’ve just started writing and your skills still need some honing, you might want to hold off until you have more experience under your belt.
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Surround yourself with a village. In other words—even if you’re published—don’t write the book and release it without anyone having read it. I like having the expertise of editors behind me when I publish. Editors know what they’re talking about. But even if you don’t have an editor, find readers who can give you some feedback. We’re never objective about our own writing. We need other people to catch mistakes that we naturally will miss.
But how about formatting? There is a specific format needed for eBooks. You can hire someone to do this for you, starting at around $100 or you can do it yourself. There’s a free guide that will walk you through the process on Smashwords. If you decide to skip that route and go directly to Amazon, they also have a guide there you can follow. If I can figure out how to format an eBook, anyone can, so don’t let that hold you back.
Proofread! Okay, I admit a mistake I made here. I had editors and readers go over my manuscript. I’d read the book myself so many times that I wanted to throw it out the window. Finally, I just said, it’s done. It’s good. Let’s get it out there. A couple of months later, I sat down to read the book on my Kindle. That’s when I noticed some typos. I really should have hired a proofreader to read my book one final time before I released it. I’ve since corrected those mistakes, but I did, for awhile, want to send a note to all of my readers apologizing. They deserved better than that.
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As a final note, I found publishing Organized Grime so easy that I later decided to re-release two other out of print titles, Hazardous Duty and The Trouble with Perfect. I’ve actually been pretty pleased with the results of e-publishing. My sales for one out-of-print book have tripled now that released it and set the price point to an affordable amount.
One word of caution: in the days of old, when people actually went into bookstores to buy books, genres were clearly marked, so readers knew what they were getting. While Amazon does list genres, most people don’t take the time to figure out whether your book is Christian or not. As a result, you may have angry readers flooding you with reviews because you “deceived” them by talking about God in your book. Just a heads up!
My website is under construction now but you can find me at: www.facebook.com/christybarritt
A complete list of my books can be found on Amazon.com. Including recent releases for Love Inspired Suspense.
Thanks so much for having me here today!