First, a blog announcement: this is blog post number 100. I’d say “HOORAY! LET’S PARTY!” but, whatever. There are bloggers that post 100 blogs a day, so reaching my 100th blog post isn’t that big a deal of a milestone. I mean, it is, considering I blog, what, maybe twice a week. Okay, I’m downplaying this somewhat. Okay, I’m downplaying this a lot. 100 means something.
Second, no word yet from Amazon on when Out Where the Buses Don’t Run goes officially onsale at both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (and European distribution), but I’m hoping to get an answer sometime before the week is through. Kindle Direct Publishing is still formatting and proofing the book for Kindle distribution, and that too should be done by week’s end…I hope. In the meantime, I’m hosting a giveaway of the book on Goodreads. Yes, I’m giving away five copies of the book, and if you’re on Goodreads, browse on over right now and enter to win a copy! You never know, you just might win a copy with a signed note from me. Come on, you know you want to. And while you’re there, go ahead and send me a friend request. I’m always hanging around Goodreads, and I’d love to have you there as a friend as well.
Now, onto the book itself.
I got ten copies delivered last night. CreateSpace lets me order as many copies as I want, at a wholesale price. The UPS guy came to my driveway as I was installing some outdoor lights and watering the lawn. As soon as I saw the box, I knew my books had arrived. When I saw the box was addressed from Goodreads, my hunch was confirmed. I turned cartwheels on the lawn and whooped and hollered.
Actually, I’m lying. I thanked the UPS guy and left the box in front of the door, and continued with what I was doing. I brought the box into the house a few minutes later.
I realized later last night that I hadn’t opened the box yet to inspect the goods. I cut open the box. My wife was next to me, wondering what was in the box. When she saw what came out of the box, she couldn’t contain her excitement. I took the first copy, and inscribed it for her. Part of me was excited. Part of me was all like, “Oh, okay then.”
I was a bit disappointed with the quality of the cover. It looks like a cover designed by someone who’s never designed a cover in their life, and the image quality isn’t as sharp as I’d hoped. But then I realized, for an entire project that cost virtually nothing to produce, I can’t really complain about the quality. I liken this to all those bands that DIY’d their album distribution back in the day, going as far as hand-drawing the covers on the cassette box or CD sleeve. Sort of.
I was very pleased, however, with the quality of the print work. It looked exactly as I’d wanted it to look, and with good reason. I spent more than a month pouring over not just every word, but the formatting of the pages as well. There wasn’t a paragraph that looked out of place, or some sentences incorrectly indented. Just perfect. I couldn’t have been more pleased.
I remind myself that I’ve set some modest expectations with this book. Primarily, I wanted to see for myself if I could fathom the process of creating an entire book from scratch, from editing to formatting to cover design to imprint. It’s time-consuming, sure, but I found the process less painful than I’d first thought. It also helped getting first-hand experiences from other writers who’d done the self-publishing route themselves. All told me they also found the process not as painful, and they’d do it again.
Will this book sell a lot of copies? I don’t know. I’ve got a giveaway to run, and I’ve gotten about 100 entries so far. More than 40 people have added the book to their “To-Read” list on Goodreads. It’s a nice start. But here in the coming weeks, I’m going to start perhaps the hardest part, and that’s the marketing process. I can’t just throw it up there, and wait for the checks to come in. I’ll use this blog and my Goodreads page and Linkedin to publicize this book some more (I don’t do Facebook anymore, but I will likely use other people’s help in publicizing the book via FB to share friends). I’m thinking shooting a video in which I read from one of the stories in the book. I may even begin to use the Twitter thingy.
Oh, I also forgot, I’m also going to use Smashwords to publish and distribute the book. A lot of people I know have expressed an interest in reading the book via Nook or iBooks or other non-Kindle formats. Why not make use of Smashwords, they’ve suggested. And why not, I say.
One thing’s for sure, if I do self-publish again, I’ll spring for a professionally-done cover design. A good one can be had for less than $500, and I’m good for the cash.