The Perils of Self-Publishing

TLDR: If you are one of those early readers who got an uncorrected copy of Wills & Trust with the glitches in chapter one and near the end, you can go into your Kindle account and download the more updated file. 

Risk versus reward. They say the higher the risk, the greater the chance of reward. Publishing is no different. My first four books were traditionally published between 2006 and 2012. I used small presses, loved the relationships developed, the satisfaction of seeing my books in print, and really appreciated the editing, the covers, the marketing and the guidance given to me by both Spring Creek Book Co. and Jolly Fish Press.

But things changed after 2012. Actually they changed around 2011, with the onset of the Amazon Kindle and other e-readers, but I jumped into self-publishing using a manuscript I had the rights back to in 2013. Chocolate and Conversation became my first self-pubbed title, followed by Super Daisy!, and then various books including collaborations and anthologies with other authors.

The risk was a lot greater. I made EVERY mistake. Pretty much my program was to do every single thing wrong the first time. I have learned all about self-publishing the hard way: by botching it the first time–or first three times.

But I just keep trying to get it right.

Even now, four years into it, I still completely mess up. Like, FOR INSTANCE LAST WEEK. Instead of the finalized copy of Wills & Trust, that would go out to every single reader who pre-ordered it on Monday morning, I uploaded a copy with the first and last chapters uncorrected.

Luckily (and blessedly), a reader contacted me on Wednesday morning about this problem. In fact, with great charity she messaged me PRIOR to putting her review up on Amazon. This amazing friend (whom I had never even met before but who I’ll count as a friend always) let me know about the errors. I was horrified, and it took me about seven hours to get it corrected and the right file selling. However, every reader who bought a copy on pre-order, Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday before 4:00 p.m. ended up with some glitchy stuff.

The horrors.

That’s the type of risk I’m taking–and I have no one to blame but myself when I get it wrong.

But there is an up side: the reward. One, I meet great people like this reader who saved me from myself. Two, I get to make final decisions like the content of the file (risky!), but also the cover art, the sales blurb, the pricing, where to advertise, how I want to present myself, even the title. (Maybe readers don’t realize this, but in traditional publishing the author doesn’t always choose the title of the book. The publisher makes that final decision.) The other reward is monetary–put in the time and effort, receive the bulk of the sales. But you do earn it. You’re risking your time and your talent (and weeks like this, your sanity on some level) to make your business go.

So, yes. Risk. But reward, too. For me, the best rewards have been the people I’ve met who are generous and helpful and wise. Other authors have taught me so much and have been patient with my imperfection as I blunder through like a bull in a china shop, doing stuff wrong. I’ve also been really blessed to have generous readers who support me, give me feedback, encourage me to write more stories, even when I’m botching the publishing side of things. If it weren’t for the uplift I get from the readers, I’d move on to a different hobby like crochet or too much baking.

The good news is if you are one of those early readers who got an uncorrected copy with the glitches, you can go into your Kindle account and download the more updated file.

Can I guarantee a perfect, flawless book? Nope. But I promise to keep trying to improve my craft and write more and better stories for readers who love sweet romance.

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