|Today I'd like to welcome Drako to my blog as part of the Blogger Book Fair. Don't forget to visit his website and check out his books once you've read his post.|
Self-Publishing and Promotion
So, I made my way into the self-publishing world in January of 2012. I came into this with no experience whatsoever. I had been publishing my work online on a site called Writer’s Café. The work was free but I was able to get people to review it. It was a great source. But I wanted to actually be published. One day an ad for BookBaby came up and I elected to try it. I published my first book, the Lost Dragon, through them. However, this was a paid service to distribute the books while not doing the promotion for me. When I discovered KDP and Pub It, I elected to use them instead. They were free to use, and Pub It has come a long way.
At first, I was unsure of how to get my books out there. People I knew from Writer’s Café bought it as well as family and friends. But I needed to get it out to more people. That’s when I came across Goodreads and most importantly, a group called paranormal lovers. They were the first place I found that hosted a Read to Review program, and they have been a huge help. They got me my first reviews and several fans.
Of course, I also made a website and a fan page on twitter and Facebook. I changed website providers a few times but the domain name has been basically the same. It helps loads. But the next help was to help out other authors. By agreeing to promote each other and reviewing each other’s works, we got our names out a bit more.
Writing the Books
So, some authors are really meticulous with plotting out a book. I’m not. I form a general idea and shape the personality of the character, but then I just sit and start writing. I love to listen to music while I write. It helps me keep on task. Sometimes it sets the mood for a scene, but mostly it’s there to keep my mind clear. Once the book is done, normally handwritten, I type it up and go through to make any last minute changes. And finally, it’s off to the betas to dissect while I sit and fret like most authors do while questioning my ability and hoping they don’t tell me it sucks. Been pretty good so far.
Here’s something some authors do and some authors choose not to do. Personally, I have to ask why make fan pages if you’ll never interact with fans. I love the interaction. I do giveaways and have discussions with fans. I ask their opinion when I’m stuck on something. And I have general discussions just to engage.
As a reader, I love that my favorite author, Anne Rice, constantly checks her reviews and shares them, and on her page she always interacts with us fans. She loves deep discussions about real issues. She’s an avid supporter of women’s rights, LGBT rights, and human rights in general. She always checks her page. When I saw this, I thought that this is the type of author I want to be. I want to really engage with fans.
So, on my fan pages I do a little of the same. I share any review I get, just to let the readers know I pay attention to the reviews and I’m thankful for them. I share milestones like my birthday. I hosted a release party for one book. I even took fan questions for some of my character interviews and anyone is free to ask me a question on my wall or in the page inbox. I enjoy questions. I like getting to know my favorite authors, and I like letting the fans see a bit into my mind.
An idea hit me for an interesting way to interact with fans. I did a podcast the other night with some of my role playing friends. This seemed like an excellent way for some authors and bloggers to get together and do something interesting. I’m going to run with this idea to give fans a new way to get to know me and some of the other authors I’m friendly with that would like to join in. I can even see us taking some calls from fans, to run it like a regular radio show. I’ll be ironing out the details on that for the next couple of weeks to gather some authors and bloggers together, and working out what we’ll talk about for each show. But I think this will be a great way to interact with fans and get them involved.
Advice to other writers
I'm often asked what advice I’d give to fellow authors trying to get published. I have several things to say on the matter.
- Understand that this is going to be like another job-it’s fun to do the writing and to finally see your ideas in print. But if you want to get yourself out there you’ll have to work for it.
- Do not assume self editing is enough-you will always miss something. It is a great idea to have at least one other person edit your work, to catch those annoying typos your eyes skip over.
- Don’t be overly sensitive-there will always be someone that doesn’t like your work. There’s no author ever in existence that is liked by every reader in the world. You will get a bad review or two….or several. Don’t let it get you down.
- Decide on the method that works best for you to publish your work-self publishing isn’t for everyone. Neither is mainstream publishing. Both require work, but they’re different kinds of work. Do your research before you settle.
- Don’t assume that you’ll get rich quick-this is a common misconception about authors. We’re not really rolling in the dough. Sure, you do make money off this. But if you’re expecting to become a millionaire, I’d rethink your career choice.
- Never, ever, EVER, try to interact with a negative reviewer. It will not make you look good. If you get a negative review, take what you can from it and move on. Do not respond back.
- Smashwords is the most annoying self-publishing site ever to format for. I’m not kidding. The longer your novel, the more of a pain it becomes. But it’s worth it. They can distribute your book everywhere for you.
- Pub It is mildly retarded. It doesn’t always recognize the number of chapters in a word document. There are free conversion tools on the internet. Convert your file to an epub and send it. Trust me, it’s less of a headache.
- I don’t like the KDP Select program. I allowed my first two books to be in it once. I wouldn't use it more than the one ninety day period.
- If you start a blog and it gets popular, you will be burdened with spam. The delete button is your friend.
- Have a sense of humor. Authors like to joke with each other. Don’t recommend being too sensitive.
- Carry notebooks and pens. Seriously, keep them in your purse, your car, your book bag, whatever. Inspiration hits really randomly. Be ready for it.
- Remember to enjoy your writing. Don’t get stressed by the amount of promotion you have to do. In the end, your writing will sell itself. Your promotion is just a boost.
Drako was born in 1987 in St. Louis, Missouri. He is mainly a fantasy writer, though he also writes some poetry and general fiction. He is very active on both twitter and facebook and has his own website at www.drakosden.net which is frequently updated with news on his books and fun extras. When he’s not writing, he’s playing videogames, hanging with friends, and taking care of his godnieces.