Today I asked Mark Knight to visit and write about his experiences publishing so far. He’s another Lindsay Buroker protege. Take it away Mark…
What is it like for a writer, after twenty years of rapping at the doors of mainstream publishers, to realize that it is now all up to him? This is the world of e-publishing. The do-it-yourself world of uploading, formatting, tweaking, and endless promoting. It is kind of like moving to a house and having to cut your own grass and wash your own windows after years of living in an apartment when it was all done for you (for a price). A little fish in a big pond; that is what I am now. No, not a pond, a great big ocean. How does an author stand out when the Gulf Stream is just too powerful to swim against?
I am not here to write about the big solutions to it all, because I am still discovering them. And so, to other e-newbies out there, I hope that my words will encourage you to stick with it and make your dreams happen. As successful e-book writer, Lindsay Buroker, has said ‘you’re in this for the long haul’. And the long haul could very well be tantamount to a round-the-world trip. Walking.
Let me begin by stressing the importance of finding others who have been successful – like Lindsay Buroker, and Mary Pax. There are plenty of authors out there who are more than happy to tell you how they found success, and what pitfalls to avoid. Find a blog where you can take their advice, go to the links they post, and take part in their forums. Eager rookies like you will be congregating there, like wide-eyed cubs observing everything mother does. And take notes. Lots of notes. I subscribed to Lindsay’s podcast, Savvy Self Publishing, and jotted down every idea, website, and link that she mentioned. And then I followed them up. Next thing I knew, I had a blog site.
Ok, so you’re up and running. What now? You have a book – perhaps several – that you have sweated over and (hooray!) completed. You believe it is worth pushing out of the nest. Well, make sure it is good. Find an editor. Have them give your tome a good sweep for errors, inconsistencies, and just plain nonsense. So where on earth do you find an editor? A heck of lot of them hang out on Google. It is as simple as that. I found one that was recommended by a successful e-author. Recommendations – always good. And have a great cover. People do judge a book by its cover. I often do. And that goes for other things, too. How many CDs did you purchase simply because the cover was cool? Anyway, find an artist and work with them. An e-book artist. They know just what dimensions the cover art should be, and where the title and your name should go. You can go cheap, or you can pay through the nose. It is up to you. But yes, a good cover is important. It may be the first thing a potential reader discovers about your book.
Now, as to promotion, I have discovered one amazing thing. And that is that there is no hard and fast rule about this. I have spoken to self-published authors who do nothing but blog, Tweet, and post to Facebook in the name of their novel. For some it has produced a torrent of sales. For others – nada. Then there have been those authors who just stuck their book on Amazon with no promotion whatsoever and viola … gold coins raining down from heaven. Go figure. Like I say, no hard and fast rules. (However, when I pressed that particular author about her seemingly miraculous success, she did confess that she spent the first month of her book’s release giving away free copies).
What can I say to the author who is thinking about e-publishing or who has only just started researching it and is not sure if it’s worth it? First of all, let me assure you that I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know where to start. But I found good gurus, and followed their advice. I have been at this for only a few months, and already I have this guest blog on Mary’s site, and another scheduled for a different author’s site. I will be interviewed on the entertainment podcast, Villainland, in February. And my upcoming novel will be featured as book of the month on the Ultimate YA website in April. If I were just starting out and reading this, it would be very daunting. I might doubt myself and want to give up. But all I did was to take one step at a time, follow links, and network. But don’t be pushy. Don’t plug your book at every turn. Be yourself, and things will happen. The interview, for instance, happened in the most amazing way; I wasn’t even looking for it. A connection I had made on Twitter noticed that the main character of my vampire novel had an almost identical name to a vampire character of a webcomic that she was a fan of. I had never heard of the webcomic, but contacted the artist. I assured him that the name similarities were a coincidence and that I was prepared to alter the name of my own vampire character out of good will. To my surprise and delight, the artist said he had no problem with the similar names and said he wanted to promote my book on his site and interview me on his podcast! Flabbergasted, I was (as Yoda might say). Of course, I returned the favour and now promote his wonderful webcomic on my own blog site. Some things just happen organically.
Well, I hope that I have injected some hope into any would-be authors who want to brave the sometimes choppy waters of self-publication. I stuck my toe in the water, and even though it initially felt a little cold, I waded right in. So far, it feels good.
From Elsewhere ~ Six Tales of Unearthly Visitors available now at Amazon and Amazon UK. Also at Smashwords, Goodreads, & Kobo, where you can try a short story from this collection for free!
A vampire father, an imprisoned mother, and one perilous journey…
The new YA vampire adventure novel by Mark Knight, coming soon.
And congrats to Tyrean Martinson and her first release: Champion in the Darkness
Clara is younger than most trainees, but she is ready to hold a Sword Master’s blade. While visions and ancient prophecies stand in her way, they also offer a destiny unlike any other. Clara is aided by a haunted mentor, Stelia, whose knowledge of their enemy Kalidess is both a bane and a blessing. As evil threatens their land, Clara and Stelia must find the strength to overcome the darkness.
Champion in the Darkness is YA Christian Fantasy, and is the first book in the Champion Trilogy.
Tyrean Martinson lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest, encouraged by her multi-talented husband and daughters. She likes to write, read, teach, ski, bicycle, walk, and sometimes she likes to sing and dance in the rain.
You’ll notice I’ve updated the website again. :) There’s now a news tab for the latest on my books. And there’s a Boomtown Craze Launch Party tab. Click to sign up to help get word out about my newest book and to see more details. Official release is March 4th, which I realize is short notice, so posts and notices about the new book can be sent out any time between March 4 – March 22.
Any questions for Mark?