Monday, May 28, 2018

An Author’s Struggle with Self-Publishing

     I was so thrilled when my first novel, REGAL REWARD, a Regency Romance, went under contract and was traditionally published back in 2007. Two more historical romances followed: A Kiss of Promise and   A Convenient Pretense. Both were well received. I was delighted! Then the bad news came. My publishing house was closing. Where do I go from here? It meant beginning again to find another publisher. However, too many publishing houses were closing or having financial difficulties and their authors were losing book rights and royalties. Like many authors stuck in the downturn, I decided to take the self-publishing route. I have never looked back.

     I re-published my first three books and gained excellent sales, but one important element was not doing as well. Customers weren’t leaving reviews. I was pleased the editorial reviews I received and happy with sales and hearing good things from readers,  but I realized the main benefit of traditional publishing over self-publishing is collecting reviews. Authors are often more introverted by nature and, for me, putting myself out there as a promoter of my own work was and still is scary! I hear the same from other self-published authors. Promoting is a job that most authors are not especially good at. We want to write, not spend the writing hours we can eek out from other life responsibilities to advertise and promote. Publishing houses have many more outlets to encourage reviews for their authors. 

     Authors love to hear good things about our books from readers, but when it comes to customers leaving reviews on sales sites, we hear: “I never take the time to leave reviews” or, “I don’t know how to leave one.” Many readers don’t realize how easy it is.

     A review doesn’t need to be more than a sentence or two and with most sales sites. It’s as easy as clicking a “Leave a Review” button. A comment can be simply, “Loved this book” or “Couldn’t put this book down”. If the book was only satisfactory, a review can still be helpful for both the author and the reader. “I thought I would really enjoy this book, but I couldn’t engage with the main character.” Perhaps, as a reader, you decide to give the book three stars. You may have liked it well enough to finish it, but it wasn’t memorable enough to give it four or five stars. That’s okay. Most important, whether it’s a three star review or a five star, both authors and readers look for honest reviews.

     As an historical romance and historical fiction author, I want to write the best book I can.  I love researching historical facts and hope my readers find pleasure in my books as well as learn interesting facts about the time period.  As a self-published author, I must work harder to strengthen my promotional muscle, even though I find it as difficult as sticking to a diet or going to the gym many days! What I really love to do is create characters and plots, and at this date, finish writing the third book in my Redemption Series, LOVE AT WAR. 

     To my dear readers, if you are reading or have read my books, especially my newest Women’s Historical Fiction works: Book One: OF FAITH UNDER FIRE, and Book Two: HOPE UNSHACKLED, please take a minute to leave an honest review. Thank you. I am so grateful!  I continue to work on Book Three, LOVE AT WAR, as my characters confront the beginning of the Civil War. Olivia, the main character in books one and two, takes a supporting role as her daughter, now grown, attempts to free a young woman and her child from slavery. Gearing toward a publication date in November 2018!

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