The fifth step to ePublishing: Don’t get your hopes up.

So, you’ve completed all the steps to ePublishing. You made sure you had a story worth telling (step one: check). You proofread it and followed all the rules to formatting your document properly according to the appropriate style guide (step two: check). You got creative with your cover but not too creative so that you became obscure (step three: check). And you explored ways to market your masterpiece other than standing on a street corner with a cardboard sign (step four: check). And that means … you can just sit back and let the money roll in, right?




First, you have to complete step five.

Step Five to ePublishing:
Don’t get your hopes up.

I don’t mean to be a downer here, folks, but before you go through with publishing your book, you need to get one fact through your head. Stories like J.K. Rowling’s don’t happen every day. From what I know of the publishing world, you won’t become an overnight sensation. You’ll be lucky to sell 50 copies, and of those 50 copies, 30 of them probably will go to your family members.

My lovely little short story I’ve been shamelessly pushing on here—

Can't Take My Eyes Off You by A.C. WilliamsFor Amazon Kindle Can't Take My Eyes Off You by A.C. WilliamsFor Other eReaders

(on Smashwords)

(shamelessly pushing I say)

I haven’t even sold enough to get me a check from Amazon yet. And the only copy that has sold on Smashwords was to my Mom. Granted, that’s only been since August. And I haven’t really marketed it like I probably should have. But if I were depending on this piece to make money, I’d be screwed.

But here’s the deal, folks. And I’m going to level with you and be absolutely honest. I have reached a point in my writing life where it doesn’t matter if I become a bestseller. What I want, more than anything, is to tell a good story, the kind of story that I would like to read, and while I am honored and touched and moved and all that jazz when people buy it, I don’t need their recognition.

Before you start anything, especially a writing project, you need to define what success means to you. If my definition of success was selling $100 worth of ebooks by the end of the year, I am not just a failure but an epic failure. But my goal for this ebook was the learn about the process and sell a few, and I’ve accomplished that.

Now, I won’t complain if I can sell more than a few—

Can't Take My Eyes Off You by A.C. WilliamsFor Amazon Kindle Can't Take My Eyes Off You by A.C. WilliamsFor Other eReaders

(on Smashwords)

(shameless, shameless pushing)

But I don’t require it to consider the entire venture successful. I learned about the process; so I’m a success.

Now, my other work, my book of devotions, I had extremely low expectations for. I planned to learn about the self-publishing process and sell one or two to close friends. But I just had to order a second printing. They’re selling very well, blowing my expectations away! And there’s a good chance you local Kansas folks may be able to see them in Wichita area Christian bookstores soon. Seriously!! Out of anything I’ve ever written, this little devotional book was the last thing I ever thought I would see on a bookshelf in a for-real bookstore.

So I guess what I’m saying is that you should prepare for the best but expect the worst, to turn an old phrase on its head.

This concludes my little abbreviated series on ePublishing. I hope some of my experience has been of use!

In other news, for the first time in many many years, I’m actually writing a new novel. I’ve been working on it for a little while now, but that will probably be my focus for November. I had hoped to do NaNoWriMo this year, but life is just too crazy. So I’m just trying to finish the novel I already had started. That counts, right? =)


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