I’m still working on coming to terms with calling myself an author and now I have to be a publicist, run distribution and more.
Self-publishing, the less condescending name for the previously known as vanity publishing, is a brave new world for an industry that shows as much resistance to change as the music industry. But it is a new world especially for the writers themselves.
There have been some breakout superstars of self-publishing, led by Hugh Howey and his Wool series. Howey actually did so well he ended up getting a hybrid publishing deal, keeping the ePub side to himself and a big publisher doing the print versions. That kind of success is beyond rare.
80% of books published sell less than 250 copies. Most authors are happy to sell a few dozen to their family and friends, but deep down everyone who writes a book hopes for success. Hugh Howey type success would be great, but just selling enough copies to justify your efforts is a huge boost to your psyche, and to being motivated to continue one of those other dozen projects you have in your mind.
I’m a couple weeks out from releasing my first book, The South Coast. I’ve put my Author hat on the shelf, even putting my two new projects on hold. My Publisher hat is off but within reach. Now I have my Publicist hat firmly on my head, it’s a snazzy tan fedora (in my mind). I’m a Myers-Briggs introvert so this is uncharted territory.
I’m emailing newspapers and radio stations and working on a media kit to mail out. So many self-pub authors write, edit, and release to eBook then sit back and hope for sales outside their direct family. I’m hoping to go past that. I want to go past that 250 and be part of the 20%, not the 80%.
Once I hit that 251st book I’ll put on my Party Hat for a night.