Step 1: I thought of a story and wrote a first draft. N.B. a ‘short story’ can be anything up to about 40k words; novels tend to range between 50k and 80k words (The Great Gatsby is 50k words); and epics, i.e. The Lord of the Rings, will be upwards of 100k words.
Step 2: I had my first draft professionally critiqued. I paid about NZ$500 for a manuscript assessment of SAM.
Step 3: I wrote a second draft, incorporating the recommended changes. I then paid for another manuscript assessment.
Step 4: When I finished my final draft (FYI, it was my fourth draft), I paid to have it professionally copy-edited. This is the stage when inconsistencies are picked up (e.g. character names changing halfway through the book or seasons changing from one page to the next). I paid about NZ$800 for my 65k-word book to be copy-edited.
Step 5: I read the book again with a fine-tooth comb, from cover to cover.
Step 6: I engaged a professional cover designer and typesetter. The saying “Never judge a book by its cover” may be true, but it’s also a crock of sh*t. You may have written the best work of fiction ever, but if the cover is crappy or looks amateur, nobody will buy it. I paid about NZ$1,600 for print and eBook cover design and typesetting.
Step 7: I ordered my ISBNs. In New Zealand, these can be obtained free of charge through the National Library. Separate ISBNs are required for each version of a book, i.e. one for print and another for eBook. Once the book is published, 2 copies must be sent to the National Library for archiving.
Step 8: I created an account on CreateSpace and uploaded the finished print version. I approved the proof online and my novel appeared straightaway in the CreateSpace e-store and then, the following day, on Amazon.com. In a few days’ time, I will be repeating Step 9 for the eBook version. I will use Amazon’s eBook arm, KDP.
Step 9: Publicise the book. I have created a fan page for SAM on Facebook and I am running a series of ads to promote the novel. I also have this website, lukefharris.com, on which to post updates.
Step 10: Watch the royalties drip in. So far I have made about NZ$10!
Click here to buy my novel!
3 thoughts on “How I self-published my novel, SAM, in 10 “easy” steps…”
Scrolling through Twitter last week one of the @eBookBump tweets for SAM caught my eye, and I decided to check it out. It was ultimately this post, however, that convinced me to buy it. I really loved the novel (I read it in two sittings), and could go on and on about how profoundly I connected with it, but thats a topic for another comment. Instead I want to tell you how your experience as an independent author has inspired me.
For the past nine months I’ve been tirelessly querying and submitting my own novel to agents and small publishing houses. I had a really promising lead in the fall that eventually came to nothing. I was disappointed, but got right back up and sent more query letters. Its been exhausting—all the waiting—and I’ve been considering self publishing for a while.
The problem is I think there’s a lot of (generally unfounded) stigma around self publishing. I was really worried that if I went down that road, I’d end up putting out an inferior book that would haunt me forever.
Then last week a couple things happened. First my husband got on the self publication train and started trying to convince me its worth a shot. Secondly, I found SAM—
Thank you! Your novel has demonstrated to me just how professional and polished a self-published book can look and read. My doubts are gone, and I’ve decided to put my own work through almost the same process you used for SAM. Its going to be expensive, and I’d ask you if it was worth it, but I’m sure I already know the answer.
Thanks again, and best of luck with ‘1968.’
Thank you so much for your message. It has made my week! I’m really pleased you enjoyed SAM. It means a lot to me that somebody I have never met would invest their time and money in reading my book. I really appreciate it 🙂 It’s great news that you’ve decided to go down the self-publishing route too. If you ever need any questions answered (no guarantees I’ll have the answers, though :)) then feel free to drop me a line. I’ll email you my personal email address now. And let me know when the book is ready to purchase, as I’d love to read it.
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