Why did you choose to self-publish, why did you select your specific publishing company, and what were your expectations?
Black Rose Writing is a small independent publisher. Truthfully, I picked up the “Writer’s Market” and by the time I had hit the “B’s,” I’d received a request for the full manuscript and shortly after an acceptance letter. That said, I do think it’s been a good place for the book in its first year or two of publication. My non-fiction animal care books are with a large, traditional publisher. With an indie publisher, for good or bad, you have almost complete control. As far as my expectations versus reality, as someone who has published (non fiction) with a large traditional publisher, I did not realize how much of the work of preparing the book, cover, and promotions I’d be doing. I also didn’t realize how much freedom I’d have and encouragement to “go for it” when it comes to ideas on the book content or marketing.
How is it going so far? Are you achieving your goals?
It has been a huge effort that has taken up much of my outside of work time. The book is widely available and has been receiving recognition from several indie book awards. It has been extensively reviewed and featured on many blogs. I think it is going well. It’s on the right path and is positioned to succeed, though of course I’d love to see the sales sky rocket.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and what have you been doing to promote it?
I’m doing a three-leg virtual book tour with Jennifer Walker for my novel Spin the Plate. To help promote the tour, I did a Goodreads giveaway of two paperback copies. Over 400 people requested the book and of those about 40 marked the book as “to read.” I offered a coupon for a free ebook off smashwords for these 40 Goodreaders and asked them to follow me on the tour. I’ve gotten extremely positive responses to the ebook giveaway, and several offers from bloggers to include their reviews of the novel on their blogs. My wackiest marketing idea was to promote the free short story version of the novel on my inexplicitly popular YouTube video which features a real-life rat who is the basis of one of the animal characters in the book. You can see “Muzzy” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
What advice would you give a person who has completed their manuscript and is considering self-publishing?
Today there is a whole continuum of publishing options – self publish, transitional publisher, and all sorts of indie publishing options in-between. And, there are a tremendous number of options for ways to self-publish. Smashwords is one example of a place to self-publish; if they like your work Smashwords will automatically distribute it for you on iTunes, kobo, Sony, B&N, Amazon, etc. You may want to provide a free Smashword version (for me, this was Spin the Plate Short Story), in addition to the full-length novel you sell. I’d recommend researching the pros and cons of differing publishing routes and asking questions on writers, forums. Email other authors for any avenues you are seriously considering. I’ve found authors to be very generous about taking the time to respond, especially once your manuscript has been accepted by their indie publisher.