Monday, October 3, 2016

Self Publishing: an Update

Debate over what the “correct” price should be for eBooks is ongoing. Unless you have an established reader base, anything over $5 will stall eBook sales. Some argue that $3 is top tier for indie publishers.

I am not in a rush to publish this time around. The first time I had self imposed a dateline to discipline myself to achieve my goals. The process was manic and desperate toward the dateline. I was jumping over so many hoops to launch my website believing it was the way to market eBooks -- bypassing Amazon, and remaining free to do what I wanted.

Before the launch, there was an average of 600 visitors a month to my ‘Work In Progress’ web page and I thought they must be waiting for the book(s) to be released. Why else would they have visited the page only to see an announcement that the books would be available on the site when it was ready? As it turned out, they were curious to see how I would market my books with the new model. I was the only one rushing. Now I am taking my time. Writers are the only ones in a hurry to publish. No one is in a hurry to read our books.

I learned that the public won’t use their charge cards on a site that is not well known and trusted; even if the payment goes through PayPal. People don’t want strangers knowing the details of their charge cards BUT they don't mind Amazon and other huge internet companies having them. The debate over what the “correct” price should be for eBooks is ongoing. Unless you have an established reader base, anything over USD 5 will stall eBook sales. Some argue that USD 3 is top tier for indie publishers. I was offering my books for USD 5. Enough said.

There was no compatible editor in sight so while I waited for one to show up, I kept self-editing my books over and over about a dozen times -- word by word, line by line. So much so I finally understood why some books still have errors in them even after a professional edit. I realized the fewer errors there are in the manuscript when it is submitted for pro edit, the more likely the finished product would be error free. Editors are human beings. They read through the manuscript once and they correct what jumps out at them as errors. If they were to read the manuscript a second or third time, they will still be able to catch errors that were missed at the first run through.

Even after publishing, I will continue to edit as I see fit because, like me, my books are never going to be the finished product. When I grow and learn new things, my books will grow with me. I will keep on updating to make it current and relevant to the times. So eBooks will work better for this.

Re social media pages. Before I created my own, I would think nothing of dropping dissenting comments on other people’s pages. I honestly thought I was adding quality to the pages by offering a different point of view. Why not share another side of the issue, right? When I was ignored by page owners and regulars, I used to think that it was wrong for people to behave so clannishly. Now that I have my own pages to maintain, I see that owners of pages have no time to engage with dissenters or people who may just like to argue for argument sake or to get attention. Owners of pages have to focus what spare time and energy they have on their work and “their people;” people who buy what they are selling. I quickly understood that on social media, we take what we can use and just move on. We don’t hang around and risk being called a troll. What’s a troll? 

According to Wikipedia: “In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.”

Imagine when we post something and ten or more people show up with dissenting comments. As page owners, we are pushing our own messages and agenda. We are representing our own ideas and philosophy. So if others don’t agree with us, they should just move on and find a page that they can feel at home on. Or perhaps start their own pages. Energy is finite. We have to conserve our energy for the battles that make or break us.