Can You Judge a Book By Its Cover, Part Two, Or: Rethinking My Self-Publishing Strategy

My self-published collection of ditties, called Out Where the Buses Don’t Run: Seven Years of Rants, Raves, Dirty Jokes, and Bad Ideas From a Small But Loud Corner of the Blogosphere, has been published now for two months, and it’s been a runaway success.

Yeah, in Bizarro World.

I wasn’t deluding myself into thinking my book was going to sell like hotcakes., Frankly, it was something I came up with at the last minute, having looked through seven years of collected blogs, and come up with 32 of the ones I liked the best into one quickly-published anthology. I wanted the publishing credit, and the experience under my belt in self-publishing and marketing something I’ve done on my own. In that time, I’ve run a giveaway on Goodreads, and hosted a free giveaway on Kindle and Smashwords. Both were successful, at least for what I was expecting.

I realize there’s a limited market for a non-fiction collection of humor essays, but there’s a market nontheless. Not that I’m comparing myself to David Sedaris, but people do read funny. I’m just looking for my little space of the humor market. I’ve sold more copies of my book as an e-book than in print, and that’s fine. I want the option of both, so I will continue to offer both for readers everywhere.

So I’m re-thinking my self-publishing strategy. One of the plusses of self-publishing is that your product doesn’t have a shelf life. It’s not as if your book has a print run of one thousand copies, and there are 800 copies languishing in a warehouse in Topeka, KS., somewhere.

One thing I’m going to do is edit my book down and submit it to Kindle Singles. Authors such as Stephen King, James Walcott, Lee Child, Janet Evanovich, Jeffrey Deaver, Nelson DeMille, and many more, have submitted shorter works (short stories, essays, reporting, and narratives) to Kindle Singles, and I’d like to do the same. I want to take the funnier essays, the ones with a more unifying narrative, and condense the book into a newer format that can be marketed as a Kindle Single. Something in the 50-60 page format. There are a few humor essays being sold right now, and I think my book, in an edited edition, would make for a great addition to their bookshelves.

I’m going to make a major effort in marketing my book some more as well. I’ve reached out to several indie book sites about book reviews and other websites and make a push to promote my book outside of my site.

But the biggest change that’s going to take place is that the cover to my book has been redesigned. I designed the cover, and honestly, it has a My First Book Cover by Fisher-Price look to it that’s nagging the ever-living shit out of me. And I know it’s costing me some sales. So I reached out to a few writer friends and asked them who did their book covers. I admire their book covers. Imagine the feeling I got when they told me the same thing: “I did the cover myself.”

Seriously, I am that BAD at cover design. Fortunately, one of my closest writer friends pointed me to one of his friends, who’s a book cover designer. Introductions were made, some ideas were bandied about, and in less than a week, a new cover design for both the print and ebook version was approved!

I’ll reveal the new cover in an upcoming post, once it’s gone through the upload process via CreateSpace, and it’s ready for purchase/download through Amazon.

I’m excited about these changes. Really.


9 thoughts on “Can You Judge a Book By Its Cover, Part Two, Or: Rethinking My Self-Publishing Strategy

    • I was floored by how quickly the cover designer and I were able to get a new cover put together in such a short time. He really had some good ideas, and was very receptive to my suggestions. I think there were about 3-4 revisions, max, and we settled on the cover Monday night. Amazing.

  1. One of the biggest issues is being found by readers. Marketing is a never-ending process. Cover, editing, and writing a good book is the beginning. Let me know if you’d like to showcase your cover when you do a reveal. Good luck with Kindle Singles, too.

  2. Pingback: One Year Ago Today | Out Where the Buses Don't Run

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