One week ago, I pressed ‘publish’ on my Smashwords control panel and I took a step from being a prospective author to being a published one. Not a lot perhaps by some author’s perspectives, but quite a leap for others. I’ve lost count of the number of people I have met who have said they’d like to self publish but the number who have done so is much, much smaller. Even so, within this short space of time I’ve learnt several valuable lessons from the experience.
1) Thumbnails really kill covers
I felt that I’d come up with a strong image for my first cover. It was simple and straighforward and not out of line with what I had seen from other authors of the same genre. Then I saw it compressed down to a thumbnail and shuddered. What had been a decent enough cover became a random green blob that said nothing about my book. Changing it to something else is one of the first things on my to do list, right after finishing my next story.
2) Amazon really does dominate the marketplace
This is really no surprise but I was still amazed to see by how much. In only one week, every sale I have achieved has come through Amazon. Although I cut my teeth on Smashwords and I truly appreciate the amount of information they provide, I have not sold one copy through them. I may have my reservations about Amazon but I can’t deny that I’ve sold through them more successfully than anywhere else.
3) International Tax is far less interesting than it sounds
Believe me, it wasn’t that interesting to begin with either. For those who don’t know, I’m British and with that comes a whole song and dance with the IRS I never anticipated when I decided to go ahead with this self publishing adventure. Both Amazon and Smashwords are US based companies and so to be able to pay tax in my own country rather than in the US, takes a surprising amount of jiggery pokery to get over the IRS’ hurdles. I’m still not out of the woods even as I write this.
4) The Erotica writing community is varied, active and wonderfully bizarre
My story about how and why I chose to write this type of fiction is something I will tackle at another time but I knew that it was somewhat of a burgeoning genre with lots of first time authors breaking into it. I had already read a number of blogs and articles about it but the many and varied personalities writing for this genre is somewhat overwhelming. Although my Twitter account has only been open for a few weeks, I’ve already encountered some lovely people who are only too willing to pass their experiences on. I recommend any new author get on Twitter and start following people who write in the same genre, it really is an educational experience.
5) Self Publishing is a bug and I’ve definitely got it
I never intended this to be a one shot deal but I never really planned out how far I wanted to go with it either. When I started writing my first story, I had about three ideas for other books floating around my head. Now I have about twenty. Sci-fi and fantasy erotica is such a broad genre where almost anything goes so it’s almost impossible not to be inspired when you seen what subjects other writers have covered. I certainly intend to keep on writing and publishing so as long as there are people who want to read it, I have no plans to stop!