Confessions of an E-publishing Rookie

- by Darlene Gardner

I spent a good chunk of the summer rewriting three single-title romantic comedies from my backlist for e-publishing.

Follow the rules and it’s easy, right? Wrong.

The rules seem simple:

✔ Make sure the writing is smooth and the books are free of typos and misspellings. Check. My husband is a professional copy editor.

✔ Come up with eye-catching covers that show up well at thumbnail size. Check. My husband again with an assist from my daughter. They both have Photoshop skills and an excellent grasp of how to convey a sense of fun.

✔ Above all, provide a good product. I like to think I’ve got that one covered, too. My books have catchy titles – The Misconception, Bait & Switch, Snoops in the City – and are light, easy reads that can still make me laugh.

This e-publishing thing is a snap, I thought after my daughter formatted my books and made them available for Kindle, Nook and other e-readers. Hah! The hard part was/is yet to come. Because it doesn’t matter if you have a good product if no one knows about it.

I’m an established author with more than thirty books in print. Unfortunately I’ve never been good at marketing, although I did know enough to update my website with links to where you can buy the books. Because I feared they’d be time sucks that took me away from my writing, I resisted joining Facebook and Twitter until recently. And now there’s a bunch of other social networking sites to join, including the Kindle Boards where authors can get exposure as long as they’re careful not to toot their own horns too loudly or too often.

My head is spinning from all the new information. Should I join one of the author groups that are banding together to promote their backlists? Advertise with a banner ad on the Kindle Boards or another site? If so, which site? Solicit new reviews for my books? Start my own blog or at least blog more often?

I’ve learned a lot. For example, somehow your Kindle books move up in Amazon search engines when you amass likes and readers agree with your tags. But there is so much more I don’t know.

I set the initial price of my three books at $2.99 but plan to drop the price of Bait & Switch to $.99 soon. According to some, that price point entices readers to buy. But when’s the best time to drop the price? My books are up on Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Smashwords but have yet to be distributed to the Smashwords affiliates.

Another thing I’m struggling with is how to find the time and energy to write new material when e-publishing takes up so much brain power. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of e-publishing eventually. I’m already realizing I need to limit my marketing time. In the meantime, if anyone wants to share that single best marketing tip, I’m sure we’d all love to hear it.

One comments

  1. Hi Darlene —

    Congrats on your epublishing success! Now that you have the process down, perhaps the next round won’t take quite so long.

    The pricing system we use at ePublishing Works! starts with a low price that’s raised over time. Tends to encourage buyers to buy-it-now, because the alternative is to pay more. Taking the price the other way can frustrate. It’s no fun to buy a book for $2.99 only to find it for $.99 a few days later. Keep in mind that buyers can return ebooks as quickly as purchase them.

    All the Best,
    Nina