How Self-Publishing Re-Ignited my Passion

That’s correct, folks! I’m talking about my passion for writing.

It’s like this. Last spring, I was not a happy camper. My first book, The Jaguar Legacy, was languishing with a small publishing house. It was earning next to nothing in the way of royalties, and the rights were due to revert to me in the fall. My next book, Fur Ball Fever, was going nowhere too, but for a different reason. Try as I might, I couldn’t sell it (more about that later).

I grew morose. I grew grumpy. My smile became a twisted snarl, more like a rictus than a grin. Puppies, old ladies, and small children fled from me in terror. So did my husband.

One sunny day in April, two romance writer friends noticed my misery. Over lunch, they used every argument known to man and beast alike trying to win me over to the dark side–the world of self-publishing.

Give me a break! Were they nuts, or what? Abandon my goal of being on the NYT Bestseller List? Give up the dream of juggling the multitudes of publishing houses who were courting me? Forego the hope of receiving a six-figure advance?

I fought their suggestion harder than a caged wolverine.

My intrepid friends blocked my escape by pinning me into the booth. Using a headlock to stop me from wriggling away under the table, they pointed out that several writers we knew had already jumped onto the self-publishing bandwagon and were reaping the benefits.

By then, my face was mashed onto grubby upholstery.  “What benefits,” I mumbled in a muffled voice.

“Taking control of their careers and books in order to earn more money,” they replied in unison.

The ‘C’ and ‘M’ words snagged my attention. That would be ‘Control’ and ‘Money’. I stopped flailing and started to listen. By self-publishing, I could control the content and the pricing. I could tweak. I could adjust. I could even earn 70% royalties. How cool was that? Being a quick study, I became a convert and celebrated with an order of fries. And gravy.

On arriving home, I announced my decision to self-publish. The shadows that had been hovering over our house fled. My husband was so relieved, he almost refrained from rubbing my nose in the fact that he’d been giving me the same advice for the last two years. In a supreme act of heroism, he volunteered to act as my technical support.

We were on our way, this time in a different sort of partnership. So while he did mysterious things in his man-cave, things like building me a new website, executing file conversions for Kindle and Smashwords, and deciphering the U.S. tax ramifications, all accompanied by much cursing, I was free to do the fun stuff.

First and foremost, I wasn’t about to humiliate myself by releasing a lousy book on the unsuspecting public, so I hired Nina Davis to conduct a professional edit of Fur Ball Fever. This was one of the best investments I ever made. Nina put her finger on what I believe were the main reasons for the multitude of rejections. Based on her comments, I sat down and re-wrote Fur Ball Fever (yet again). The changes were relatively easy, and I do believe the end result is a stronger, more compelling read. I also re-wrote The Jaguar Legacy, nipping, tucking, and streamlining until I succeeded in reducing the word count by over 7,500 words.

While my husband slaved over his computer, red-eyed and haggard, barely surfacing for meals,  I researched, networked, joined Chat Loops, hired a professional cover designer, contacted promotional sites, prepared submissions, and blogged. On 5 September 2011, we uploaded one book to Amazon Kindle. Four days later, the second one joined it.

I’m told this self-publishing thing isn’t a sprint, but rather, a marathon.  So far, sales have been slow but steady, increasing weekly. At the end of a mere 21 days, I’ve managed to sell enough books to hit the magic figure at which Amazon Kindle will cut me a quarterly royalty check.

Since the best way to earn more money is to get another book out there, I’m highly motivated to write, write, write. In a nutshell, that’s how self-publishing has re-ignited my passion for writing. As a little extra bonus, I have total control of the content, promotion, and pricing of my books. Best of all, I’m having more fun professionally than I have in several years.

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5 Responses to How Self-Publishing Re-Ignited my Passion

  1. K Morgan says:

    Inspiring. Good to learn about the steps. I’m going to join you in the water.

  2. Maureen Fisher says:

    It’s lots of work (and I don’t even do the technical stuff), but I find I am more motivated than I ever was before.

  3. I too have jumped into the SP pond and so far the water is lovely. I’m still a tiny little guppy paddling in the shallows, but I’m hoping to eventually grow into a mighty whale. 🙂 I enjoyed the story of your journey. Thanks for sharing.

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