Anyone willing to shell out many hundreds and perhaps thousands of dollars can find e-publishers willing to take them through the process. April tells you how to do it yourself in a series of free guides on her website at http://www.aprillhamilton.com/. I can tell you from personal experience that April is the guide who can lead you through the maze to self-publishing and hopefully sales on the internet. And to make the way forward even easier, April has put all of the ins and outs of do-it-yourself publishing into a new book, THE INDIE AUTHOR GUIDE, currently available on CreateSpace and soon to be up on Amazon.
I’ve had two nonfiction books released through major publishers, but my dream always has been to see one of my novels in print. That seemed unlikely since my agent of many years couldn’t find a traditional publisher willing to buy my novels, even though she tried hard. Finally she told me all good things must come to an end and unceremoniously dumped me. And I have been unable to find an agent to replace her.
I figured my novels would go unread except by my wife, Rae, and the few friends, all writers with books and films to their credit, who did me the favor of reading them.
Then, as birthday gift last August, my grandson, Reeves, offered to put my novel, THE DREAM DANCER, online. My first reaction was reluctance. I didn’t want to fall into the world of vanity publishing. But realizing in offering THE DREAM DANCER as a free online novel, I wasn’t paying anyone to stroke me. I wondered whether I would draw any reasders from the world-wide ocean of the web. So far I have had 64,104 hits from Aug. 19, 2007 to May 30, 2008, and have averaged the transfer of the equivalent of one and a half copies of the novel per day. I have no idea how many of those hitters were actual readers—although one sent me an e-mail saying: “I read this book in 24-48 hours. I had to know what happened. A few parts were difficult to read, especially when he (the protagonist) was in jail…I loved the book.”
Last fall, I entered my novel, THE JYNX, in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. I made it to the first round of semi-finals, but obviously I didn’t win. What the contest did for me was to draw further into e-publishing. Amazon offered the semi-finalists a chance to publish and sell their books online through CreateSpace. With the help of April Hamilton’s free guides on her website, I managed to offer THE JYNX for sale via CreateSpace, Amazon, Kindle, and Smashwords.
There are no statistics, known to me, available on average internet sales of self-published novels. My research revealed that the average sales of print-on-demand books to be 75 copies, most of them purchased by the author and his family. So with that as a measure, I will consider the sale of THE JYNX to be a success at 75 copies sold to people other than myself. If sales reach 500 I will be delighted and at 1,000, I would be ecstatic. Watch this blog for reports on whether THE JYNX attracts that many buyers.
The next novel I will review in coming days is TIMBUKTU by Paul Auster (1999).