Friday, August 31, 2012

The Other Benefits of Independent Publishing (Beyond Becoming a Millionaire)

The summer is over and I’m looking back on my self publishing experiment. Three months and seven stories later, I have come to three conclusions:
1.       I started this process with the intent of becoming a writer. I now know that I am not a writer. I am actually a publisher because I have to take care of web design, cover design, marketing, sales, formatting, advertising AND writing.
2.       Although neither the process nor the product have been perfect, I am very proud of what I’ve put out there and I’m excited to write and release more work.
3.       Writing the stories is easy. Getting people to notice them is hard. Getting people to actually read them is almost impossible so far. That means achieving the same sales as Harry Potter, 50 Shades of Gray or the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is still a distant dream.
Does that mean the stories suck and I’m a horrible writer? Maybe. Does that mean my marketing sucks and I’m a horrible advertiser?  Probably. Does that mean I haven’t been lucky enough to reach the right audience yet? Definitely.
A writer for the Huffington Post named Scott Steinberg recently wrote about the benefits of self publishing that go beyond sales numbers. According to him, sales are still important but releasing your own book gives you are chance to:
1.       Increase engagement with your audience
2.       Demonstrate your talents
3.       Provide a low-risk way to test potential markets
4.       Create a unique promotional tool
5.       Promote critical fan feedback
6.       Offer an immediate way to set you apart whether you are an individual, brand or company
I haven’t found a pot of gold after writing for 90 days. I have done everything else on this list and I’m proud of that. The Great Expectations that I wrote about before haven’t changed. If anything, I see my writing taking me to places I could never reach sitting at home and watching TV. Is all this pontification just a rationalization of a failed business venture? It could be. But I would rather find some benefit in the things I enjoy doing instead of giving up because I haven’t made as much money as EL James.
Have fun.

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