Self Publishing Notebook

Adventures in self publishing.

click to enlarge Like Gutenberg, without the weird clothes. - Wikipedia
Like Gutenberg, without the weird clothes.

“Self Publishing.” Say it out loud. “Self Publishing.” How did you say it? Did it drip from your lips like other vile phrases? “German cockroach.” “Humidity.” “Donald Trump.” “Hemorrhoids.” Well, my fine readers and writers, those days are over. Let’s scrap the “self publishing” vanity press-laden moniker, hipster this thing up, and call it Indie Publishing like it’s something that happens in the desert every summer with Russell Brand in attendance. Why? Because Indie Publishing is cool. Like winning awards cool. Like Matt Damon in Andy Weir’s (indie published) The Martian cool. Like 50 Shades of – no I didn’t read it (self published), but E.L. James is rich from writing, and I’m guessing you’re not. Yet.

Gone are the days of writing a novel and spending five years honing your query letter-writing skills trying to find an agent or publisher. Thank god we don’t need to rely on some whiny English major with his own collection of rejected novels to decide if we’re worthy of a reader’s attention. In fact, publishing houses are in such bad shape they are looking for indie writers who already have an audience — who already have some good work they can rely on. On average, Indie Publishers are writing more books and making more money than their traditionally published counterparts. Don’t take my word for it: See another wildly successful indie writer Hugh Howey’s exhaustive look at publishing earning data. Then come back and kick-start your writing career, because the only roadblocks are the ones you put up. Indie Publishers are winning.

How do I know? I’ve been writing something all my life, but really only writing (and finishing) novels for three to four years. I have an adventure thriller novel on Amazon called The Grandfather Clock (check it out, cheapskates, it’s 99 cents.) It came out in November 2014. A friend helped me with a promotional campaign and suddenly, my damned book was on the Kindle Best Sellers lists… before slipping back into total obscurity. In spite of spending a day in the top 20 next to The Great Gatsby, in no way was my book even a modest success. The most my earnings have bought me is beer and coffee — and an occasional egg sandwich. My wife frequently asks things like, “Why did we just get $17.31 cents from Amazon?” Remember dear, I wrote a book? Rule #1 of Indie Publishing — write more than one book. Series sell. A living is not made on one title — unless it’s got a guy named Grey and lots of heavy petting.

So what do I know? I’ve spent the last few years devouring the wisdom of writers like Sean Platt (Write, Publish, Repeat) and David Gaughran (Let’s Get Digital), and listening to hours, nay days, of podcasts. I’ve got a Ph.D. worth of brain-hours in this, but classwork is classwork. It’s not real. Two weeks ago I finished the first draft of the critical second book in my series (entitled The Napoleon Bloom). For the next few months I’ll be editing, having beta readers give feedback, paying a content editor, editing more, paying a copy editor, getting a professional cover, and laying out and publishing my book in print and eBook. It might be Indie, but it can’t look Indie. And you get to watch the entire sausage-making process here on this page.

Put down that book about writing the perfect novel. You don’t need to take another class. Get writing. Finish the damned thing. And publish it. Watch me do it. Watch me make mistakes. I’m a writer with an ego to stroke and then destroy, so send your love and your hate to [email protected]). But you’re not allowed to complain to me unless you have a few thousand words of prose of poetry of your own in the game. Stop reading this and write — because if you’re a writer worth a damn, you’re going to publish it this year.

click to enlarge By day, I sell oil. Don't judge me. At night, I write. - Jonathan Kile
Jonathan Kile
By day, I sell oil. Don't judge me. At night, I write.
By day Jonathan Kile is a peddler of petroleum products, navigating a Glengarry Glen Ross landscape of cutthroat sales. By night he assumes the identity of novelist and child-wrangler. Jonathan’s first published novel The Grandfather Clock (available on Amazon.) He is writing his second and third novels, blogging at Well Oiled Writer and cursing his editor. You can email him here

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