The agony and ecstasy of self-publishing a book!

Let’s discuss the ecstasy first. You publish a book. Yay! Family and friends read it right away. Then a few acquaintances read it. Finally, a few friends of friends or acquaintances of acquaintances discover it. You receive glowing reviews. People tell you they love the book. Your writing is a success!

Thank God for those early readers, but family, friends, and acquaintances are a limited number. For many of us, that’s a very small number. Naturally, we want more readers. And more. And more. Think potato chips … or Junior Mints.

I confess my impatience. I want everyone to read The Brevity of Roses now … today … right this minute! Of course, that’s not going to happen. I don’t remember any of the self-publishing advice naming Patience as a required virtue. If it was mentioned, I must have glossed over it in my … um … impatience.

Now, we’ve reached the agony. You have a book you love and want to share, but have to wait for readers to find it. In my ignorance, I imagined that word of mouth would spark a firestorm of readers burning through the pages—and I imagined that chain-reaction would start immediately. Didn’t happen that way. Still, there’s hope because I know that people intend to read it. How do I know this?

A few people have directly told me they intend to read my book. I believe they will. Last month I gave away a copy of Brevity on Goodreads. Hundreds of people entered the giveaway, but I would be naïve to think all those people actually intended to read the novel. However, over eighty of those people also added Brevity to their To-Read lists on Goodreads. Will they all read it? I doubt it, though a percentage of them probably will.

Then I got a boost from Women on the Verge. Each month they select members’ books to highlight on their front page, and currently The Brevity of Roses is one of those. Every day since WOTV highlighted it, more Goodreads members have added it to their lists. Some of them will surely read it.

There’s no way to know how many people might have added my novel to their “want lists” at Amazon or any other online bookstore,  or even jotted it down on a to-read list at home, but I’m sure some have. On a good day, I imagine hundreds have done so … and untold thousands may do so from future promotional efforts.

These people are my eventual readers. These people keep my hopes up. These people—potential bearers of ecstasy—make the agony of having a published book easier to bear.

Patience.

A story! A story? A tale of fear!

All my sources tell me that, as a new indie author, I need to publish more work soon. Writing a novel is not quick work for me. I have a story that might run novella length—might. I haven’t written it yet, of course. Another option is a short story collection.

Until the last couple of years, I’ve never been a big short story reader. I’ve written some, but they were for my own eyes. But, in the last year, I’ve greatly increased the number of short stories I read. I also read articles on how to write short fiction. I’m still not sure I get it.

I’m also not sure why I don’t get it. It’s almost as though I have a mental block. I think I write a beginning, middle, and end, but it doesn’t seem like a story to me. Is it a vignette? Is that a story?

Does a story require a moral? A lesson? A reason to exist? Am I over-thinking this? Probably. I fear I can’t write short stories. Then again, I fear I can’t write anything. FEAR.

I’d like to say I bravely take up my pen keyboard and wield it like a sword, but that would be a lie. The truth is I sit here quivering. I sit here wishing, hoping, praying that the words I’m typing make sense … have a purpose … tell a story.

That’s what I’m busy with nowadays. And I thank Christ Craig for her recent post reminding me that I have to face that fear or I’ll never know if I’ve written a story at all.

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I know you are, but what am I?

My friend Kayla Olson brought something to my attention this morning. She pointed me to a rant, posted anonymously by someone at a book review site, screaming at DIY authors like me using the term “Indie,” as in Indie author or Indie publisher. Their contention was that Indie was a term coined by vanity presses to scam would-be clients into believing they were legitimate independent presses.

So, what’s the definition of independent press? Traditionally, it applied to a small trade press. Now, that definition has been muddied because vanity publishers have adopted the use of the term and self-published authors refer to themselves as “Indie published.”  Am I self-published, then? Well … not if the definition of self-published means you only sell your books directly, which is how some define the term.

I don’t want to insult anyone by usurping a term I’m not entitled to use. I also don’t want to slap an unwarranted negative label on my work. I am the author, publisher, book designer, and cover artist for The Brevity of Roses. It’s a first-class job on all levels. Label it how you will. I don’t think readers care. So, for clarification—I’m an AUTHOR.

Update:  You’ll notice in my sidebar over there —> that my book is now available in digital formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. The print version will be available at Amazon within a week, I hope.

Support your local indie, self-published, DIY author!


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Publishing progress and other comedies

Today, I have an update on the progress toward publishing my novel The Brevity of Roses. I certainly can’t say the process was painless, but I’ve finished formatting the print and Kindle versions. Next up is the version for Nook. I hope I’ve learned enough from the mistakes I made working on the first e-version that I’ll be able to breeze through the next, but I’m not holding my breath.

I’ll share my hilarious adventures in a future post or page. Oh yes, I laughed—hysterically, but still. I love the layout of my print version, but e-reader formatting leaves a lot to be desired. It’s just not very pretty. The least they could do is let you select your own title and chapter heading fonts. Oh well.

Barring a total mental breakdown from formatting for Nook, I’ll soon order a proof copy of the print version. If that looks good, things will move quickly after that. Brevity will definitely be available sometime in April.

It’s also time to get into promotion mode—past time, probably. A few friends have signed up to help promote my book on their blogs with an interview or guest post and a book giveaway. I’ll also host a giveaway on Goodreads. And I’ll have a special contest here on my blog. I hope to announce more as the big day grows closer. So stay tuned!

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The Brevity of Roses

Jalal Vaziri has looks, money, women—and a habit of running from reality. When he abandons New York and reinvents himself as a poet in a California beach house, he thinks he’s running from a father who hates him, a career mistake, and endless partying. A fresh start is what he needs. And after an intriguing woman enters his life, he believes all his dreams are coming true. But that dream dissolves into nightmare, and Jalal flees again. Only this time, his retreat is blocked by a woman who challenges him to face that it’s himself he’s trying to outrun.

I previewed the cover of my novel The Brevity of Roses on my Facebook page Monday evening. Now I’m sharing it with the rest of the world … or the vast portion of it that reads my blog, at least. [ahem] I don’t have a firm publication date yet, but if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, or sign up for my newsletter, you’ll be the first on your block to know when you can rush to buy a copy.

Update: You can now read a sample chapter here.

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