I’ve been lucky to catch a few beautiful ones lately. And to manage a few short walks upon the sand. I’m back to my usual routine of first thing in the morning writing sessions. It’s good. The writing gets the best of my brain then, I think.
I’ve been doing lots of that. Between the beach sunrises.
I’ve been very happy being published by a traditional small press. But this next book I’m working on is a bit strange. And short. It does not conform. And I don’t want to change it to make it do so. I like it the way it is. It’s how the story needs to be. So I’m wondering about self publishing.
I need the process to be as stress-free as possible. My health issues are exacerbated by stress. So, I’m thinking just to Kindle first. For ease. And learning.
Feel free to share your advice and insights!
Though really, before any of that, I need to focus on the writing and the refining and the rewriting and the relationships in the story and trying not to write run on sentences… and just tap tap tap away at that keyboard.
Update: I published it in both paperback and kindle
Set in 1st century Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD includes the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes. The book features a neurodivergent main character and some rather complicated romance.
“Ethereal and spellbinding….” Historical Novel Society
See the press release here
Review from Terry Tyler: “It’s a fabulous story, a real page-turner and so well written. It made me think about the passage and circle of time, of the constancy of the land on which we live and the transient nature of human life. Loved it.“
Read the article Roman Aberdeenshire features in author’s new book from Grampian Online.
The traditionally published books:
FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 18th century kidnapped children of Aberdeen.
Set in an Aberdeenshire castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR features the Scottish witchcraft accusations and a love story.
Paperbacks and kindle: Amazon UK or Amazon Worldwide
“Ailish Sinclair spins this Scottish tale filled with excitement and suspense…” Historical Novel Society
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67 Replies to “Thoughts on Publishing and Beach Sunrises”
We self-published our collection “The Red Man and Others” on Kindle, first as an ebook, and then in an expanded paperback edition about 18 months later. My partner did all the heavy lifting with Kindle Create, so I can’t speak directly to that, but I do know our book wouldn’t exist if not for a lot of help from a friend who’d published seven of his the same way, so understood the system. There may have been hair-tearing involved anyway, which I say not to put you off (I know some people take to Kindle Create like ducks to water), but because if you do have someone in your life who’s used it before, having them walk you through it will likely be very helpful.
If Kindle Create turns out to be more trouble for you than it’s worth, I would also consider paying someone – particularly when chronic illness/fatigue is involved. I have Crohn’s, amongst other things, and my partner has severe migraines, and we’ve found there’s jobs where it makes sense to do it yourself (his background as an artist meant he could do our covers, internal illustrations and book trailer) or trade favours with friends (we do so with editing), and jobs where the energy/stress/time cost is too high. Which jobs are which is different for everyone!
I would consider, too, whether you need to be able to sell it outside Amazon, e.g. if you’re normally very reliant on the support of bricks-and-mortar bookshops. We found that we couldn’t get more than a few token copies of our paperback into local bookshops (we know some very kind proprietors!) because the book wasn’t with Gardners, the wholesaler.
Our bookseller friends explained that bookshops rely on the smooth, automated stock control processes that come with wholesaler databases. Whereas to sell a bunch of different books distributed directly by authors, shops would have to put a lot of staff hours into putting those into the system by hand, which isn’t practical.
Also, if you want to be able to sell outside Amazon, you’ll need an ISBN – we got ours from the Independent Publishing Network. The only thing about that was that there was some niggle about whether we had to list them as the publisher on Amazon – I’m not sure how we eventually got around that (we list our imprint, Turnip Lanterns) but it’s worth reading their T&Cs carefully. We then used ipubnet to get our book’s details onto the Nielsen Book Database, and we also submitted a copy to the British Library.
PR-wise, I believe we got postcards with the cover on at a very reasonable price from Vista Print. I’ve heard good things about BookSiren and Book Funnel in terms of getting ARCs to readers (and apparently Book Funnel also do audio book editions), but haven’t used them myself.
IngramSpark seems to be well regarded. They provide end-to-end services from creating the physical books to distribution to sales reporting, so it could be an alternative to Amazon, particularly since apparently they can get your book into libraries and chain bookshops. I’ve also heard good things about Gumroad, another publishing platform, from a couple of friends, but again it’s not one I have personal experience of.
For more general info, the Alliance of Independent Authors is also a good org to look up, and there’s a group on Facebook called Self-Publishing and Book Marketing with a lot of knowledgable people in it who are eager to help with queries.
Anyway, hope some of this is helpful!
Thank you so much for this wealth of information! I will come back and refer to it again.
There is a big learning curve to self-publishing, but being in control of the process (and your own work) is a great advantage.
That does appeal. At least to have a try and see how it is.
It’s definitely worth checking out.
Beautiful photos! I’ve self-published two of my books using Kindle (actually, it was back in the day when that was called CreateSpace). There was a learning curve, but another author who had also used it guided me through. It allows you (within their guidelines) to “do it your way,” but then the marketing is all up to you. My two books were actually intended for a limited, family-only distribution. My other three books (soon to be four) were published traditionally. Both ways have pros and cons. Weigh them carefully. Whatever you decide, I wish you well!
Thank you 🙂
Marketing is the problem with self publishing. I would stick with traditional publishers.
I do have some marketing experience. Busy studying advertising algorithms just now, so we’ll see how it goes!
The sky has really been putting on a great show of late 🙂
Beach walks are so lovely and relaxing. I hope you figure out what to do publishing wise for your next book without too much stress.
Thank you Charlotte 🙂
Glad you are feeling better and I envy you your beach walks.
They are short and sweet just now 🙂
The sunrises are gorgeous! Hopefully, you’ll get good advice on your publishing thoughts-mine is do what feels right for you! I do love the fingerless gloves; I have two sets and use them all the time when writing reviews. Stay warm !
Thank you Dorothy. The gloves are invaluable in winter!
Good luck with your new book and thanks for the lovely beach photos. I have self-published all three of my books. My second one, “Emily’s Ride to Courage”, I published through Kindle. I won’t use them again, because they will nickle and dime you to a fare thee well, though other people have been pleased with their results. I do have my other two books, “Terror’s Identity” and “Earthquakes” for sale as ebooks through Kindle as well. The formatting and quality of “Emily’s Ride to Courage” were well done by Kindle. My first book was, “Terror’s Identity”, was published by Sable Books, which is based in Greensboro, NC. They did an excellent job, but can be a bit slow.
And my recent book, “Earthquakes”, was published by Jera Publishing, which has an in with IngramSparks and LightningSource. IngramSparks will add you to their catalog which makes it more likely to be seen by Kirkus Review, if I remember correctly. You can see my books at my website: https://sarahmauryswanlovesbooks.com Hope this helps.
Thank you for all this information. Much appreciated!
I’ve used Draft2Digital for four books to date. Very easy and stress-free. They can get your ebook out anywhere, including the Kindle store.
Interesting. Thank you!
Publishing on Amazon in both the ebook and printed form is relatively easy and although you don’t have to be enamored with their business practices their KDP platform is brilliant for those who cannot get published by a traditional method.
I’ve self-published two books via Amazon. I found the interface fairly intuitive (admittedly, I wasn’t trying anything complicated) and the sales system takes care of itself. It’s nice having total control of the process.
On the other hand, total control of the process brings its own challenges. Designing my own cover, for example, wasn’t much fun. Not having an editor on hand to go over my text brought its own self-evident problems (we tend to read what we think we wrote, rather than what’s actually on the page). And then you tend to have to do your own promotion. That might be easier for you, since you have a blog and a group of followers who will take an interest in what you’re doing; I didn’t really have any of that beyond friends and family, and the sales reflected that. Oddly, my second book got much more media coverage but sold less well. My first book drew heavily on the community where I live and struck a very small chord with the region, whereas the second was based on my travels and, although timely, didn’t immediately resonate with the readership from my first book or my blog.
Would I do it again? Don’t know. Financially, it only works if I accept that it’s a hobby that might raise a few pennies. There is some satisfaction in putting my work out there, but with two books already published, you might not place the same importance on that. That said, I enjoyed putting the books together and publishing something that I felt was worthwhile, even if it was too ‘niche’ to get a ‘proper’ publisher. Volume three can wait until I retire!
Thank you Andy. These insights into your experiences is very useful.
If you have any skill online, the Amazon self-publishing is pretty straightforward – especially for Kindle. Self-publishing is less stressful than working with a company since you can do everything at your own pace. Toughest part is marketing on your own, but you’ve already got a good following and platform in place, so I’d recommend giving it a try.
I’m so happy you’ve been out walking on the sand and enjoying the sunrises. Thanks for sharing with us!
Thank you Sheri 🙂
Excellent pics, Ailish! Treated like an adventure, self-publishing can be fun and rewarding. Like mentioned above, Draft2Digital can lower the stress while you maintain creative control.
Thank you Grant!
It’s been a while since I had to format a ms for Kindle. I was lucky enough to have a writing partner who could do it for me. I suspect the process has been simlified since then so I say go for it.
Hi Ailish I don’t comment here often but regarding your publishing, always follow your gut, you know what is right. Take away everything else and if your life depended on it which way would you go? That’s the right way
Thank you 🙂
If you want to dive a little into self publishing to weigh more considerations, take a look at Hinterlands Press at https://hinterlandspress.com There is a nice section on self publishing, ISBN numbers, and other things I would never think of. They’ll also do some design for you. That aside, I love your photos and wish you luck.
Thank you 🙂
Beautifully tranquil sunset pics. Thanks for opening this conversation about self-publishing. I’ve found the comments useful. Self-publication is something I need to consider but how to go about the publicising end of it makes me nervous
The marketing is the part I’m more confident in, having done lots for the existing books. Though writing my own blurb and press release feels a bit daunting. Tricky to big oneself up like that.
Beautiful photos! I miss the NE coast so much.
I did the self-publishing route a while back, before there were so many Kindle ‘guru’s’ with courses, and it was relatively painless.
There are guides in KDP to help you get your book formatted in Word–even easier if you use Scrivener–and on uploaded into the stores. The backend, the author’s area, is simple to use and understand.
Thank you Susan 🙂
Beautiful photography, Ailish. My suggestion would be to at least let your current publisher see your current work before making a decision.
Thank you, though I would feel cheeky, and a bit stressed, submitting something that does not meet their guidelines.
Sorry if I’m just out of the loop, but what’s the new book about?
It’s about two chosen sisters, and their relationships, as their Iron Age community marches to war 🙂
Sounds exciting! I’m intrigued, it’ll be fascinating to glimpse a professional author’s imagining of Iron Age Scotland. Can you reveal how the sisters are chosen?
They choose each other when very young in very bad circumstances. They are not biologically related.
I self-publish with the POD publisher lulu.com – an alternative to Amazon if you’re looking for one. I don’t find it particularly difficult. Would recommend buying your own ISBNs if you go down that line though (you can buy them in batches of 10 so not too bad). I tend to do paperback publishing as that’s personally what I read – I do not do e books at all – but you can publish digitally through lulu as well.
Lulu sounds really interesting, thanks. Will have to read further in it.
yes I use lulu as well now for my 3rd book and so far seems ok though a few funny print blobs on some pages. All commissioning for paid help done through Reedsy.com which seemed to manage process well – so did this for editing (assessment and copy), proofreading and cover for my 1st book, which was complex non-fiction, but only cover for my 2nd and 3rd fiction books. Never keen on exclusive contract of Kindle so used Kobo.com for e-books and then POD printing of batches plus a shop tool on the website about my first book (buildingpassions.co.uk). I don’t market a lot as it’s become a hobby really. Also helped by a local writers group including a member who did layout for me on latest book ‘As Life Dictates’ now on lulu.com (funnily its explicit content as I used a swear word in it once I think, so you have to search for Nick von Behr as the author!). If you want to make money then that’s a whole different issue …
Beautiful photos! And do what you feel is right.
Thank you 🙂
I am sorry your health issues have recurred, but glad you’re feeling better enough for walks. Thank you for sharing the beauty of those sunrises — and all your lovely photos, really.
I have no personal experience, but I’ve heard successful authors recommend hybrid publishing — some books traditionally, some self-published. Which rather sounds like what you’re considering.
Take good care.
Thank you Gemma. Yes, it’s not about choosing one path to stick to forever, just what’s right in this moment with this book.
Photos are glorious!
Re the publishing thing, it all depends how far you want to go with it. It can be very simple, which obviously is what you would want right now. I would advise publishing exclusively with Amazon KDP, because then you can take advantage of Kindle Unlimited (the lending service). More of my royalties come from that than actual sales. Also, you can do free and Kindle Countdown (discounted) promotions.
If you start off with just the ebook, you can always just hire a copy editor (my sister @ProofreadJulia or @AlisonW_Editor), and then pay someone else to format it for Kindle – I can suggest someone for that, too. Then all you need is a cover artist, and you’re good to go!
Most self pub authors I know tell me that paperbacks are not a money spinner, they’re just nice to have. You need to be able to do literary festivals, etc, to sell them. I’ve only got one in paperback so far. Gemma Lawrence (@TudorTweep) has only a few of hers in paperback and relies solely on Amazon KDP ebooks, and sells more than most people I know (ie, enough to live on!!!).
Thank you so much for this Terry. I think this is the route I will most likely take. How wonderful that Gemma is doing so well!
I don’t really have much to add to the self-publishing discussion. I’ve published four novels through Kindle Direct Publishing. The first one was an exercise in extreme frustration. But once I got it all figured out, the next three went smoothly.
I will say this, if it is your intent to earn any kind of real money from your books, KDP is perhaps not the way to go with them. Since that was never really my intent (we writers write because we have no choice but to write 🙂 ), it hasn’t been a problem. It’s the marketing where I fail. I suspect that is the case for a lot of self-published authors.
Thanks so much for reading my blog and for following me. I truly appreciate the support.
Thank you Dianne. Yes, marketing is key when it comes to earnings. I have a daily and monthly schedule in place already and know I can expand it in some areas if I self pub. It’s going to be interesting!
Your photos are amazing!
I wish you success with your new book, in which ever form it may appear!
Thank you so much 🙂
Oh, lovely Ailish. And I hope for your sake your traditional press will take it on board. There are lots of books that show what else a book can be.
East coast sunsets, especially last December, after a year tough for everyone. Miss the east of Scotland, and so glad a close friend loved The Mermaid and the Bear – I’m maybe too wary about giving books as presents. Short books ? exactly what libraries are promoting, surely ?
I’m glad your friend liked the book 🙂
I recommend you to try the self-publishing. Independence is the best. Good luck!
I am forging ahead in that direction 🙂