Jul 052013

No, I never give up, so I’ve compiled another collection of my newspaper columns called “A Piece of Her Mind.”  And there will be another one following it — probably next spring — called “A Piece of Her Heart.”

Since most of you are writing books, I thought I would talk about what I’ve learned in my two experiences with indie publishing, hoping that my foibles and mistakes can help you in your journey.

And if you decide to buy my book, thank you.  I know it isn’t possible to buy all the books we want (though I sure try, as the grumbles come in when the Herminator sees the monthly credit card statement….)  For the record, my definition of RICH involves unlimited supply of books!!!!

Click here if you want to link to the Amazon book store.

Okay, here’s what I’ve learned:

When I self-published my first book in 2011, I was in a hurry.  I wanted to get a physical book out to let my mother see, feel, and hear it read.  That was very important.  I didn’t bother finding an agent or a traditional publisher (not that I could have) but I moved forward with a POD printer.  They charged me a lot.  The quality of the printing was very good and I was pleased with that, but it seemed like a lot of money for what I could do myself.

I am well aware that I am not Joan Didion or JK Rowling, and I just want to cover my costs.

This time I chose Create Space and Kindle.  The cost to publish was the cost of a paper proof at less than three dollars.  And you don’t have to get that if you don’t need it.

The quality of the printing appears to be the same.  Good bleeds, good binding, no weird little foreign characters appearing anywhere.

With more control, the cost is less, and I will make more than I did on the last book.  Those POD people have you by the short hairs.  I would not do that again when you can go directly through Amazon.

Now this means I won’t be reading my own book on my Nook (which is my tablet of choice) but more people have Kindles anyway.

I spent money on a professional cover, done by Diana Ani Stokely who has developed covers for many OS writers and does a wonderful job.  She also manages my web site at www.amyabbottwrites.com.

I also used a professional editor who has edited several OS books upon my referral.

It is important to me that my book have chapters starting on the right hand side, margins and gutters that work, no hash marks where smart quotes are needed, and generally appear to be professionally printed.

The hardest part of writing an indie book isn’t the writing, it is the marketing.  I have a plan and I’m implementing it now.  I hope to improve upon what I did with the first book.  (And I’m also a Cubs fan.  A little gallows humor there.)

My thoughts on selling your book is that it begins at home.  My major emphasis for sales is within the communities where my newspaper column runs — there are ten of them and there are people who have been exposed to my writing every other week for four years.  What I found at book signings and readings the last time was that if people had read my stuff, I didn’t have to SELL the book.

So it seems that the secret is getting your self and your book in front of those who already have an AFFINITY for you.  It is the same principle as credit card companies wanting to get you to use a card with your alma mater’s name on it.

I’ve kept every fan letter from my column I’ve ever received — they are in a file and all of them will get an email from me about the new book.

The New Yorker isn’t calling, so I’ll stick with my peeps, stressed out women over fifty who accidentally throw an entire lemon in their garbage disposal and deal with the holy havoc I’ve created.

Wait: you are reading THIS.  You like Bernadine!  Could it be that you are one of my readers?  Ask yourself, do I want this book?

Carry on and buy books.  Support independent writers.

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