My Self-Publishing Journey – Lesson #3: Research, Research, Research

Welcome to post three of my five-post series! Last week I talked about the second thing I learned on my journey to publishing my novel – build an audience before you launch. You can read the previous posts in the series here.

You might’ve noticed there are a few publishing rookie errors in these posts. In truth, I wanted to get it done because, “is your book published yet?” was becoming a very frequent, very annoying  question, and I was bored of giving the same answer. (Maybe “don’t tell anyone you’re writing a book” could be another lesson?!) So I hurried through when I should’ve taken my time.

Know Your Tools

This can be applied to any number of things, but specifically I’m talking about Amazon when it comes to selling your book. I made the decision to publish the eBook through KDP, because it was free and simple to use.

The paperbacks were something else.

I definitely wanted them (to be able to physically hold a book I’d written?! Yes please!), and I’d discounted print on demand (POD) (I’ll get back to this), so I needed to look at some other way to create, sell, and distribute the paperbacks.

Method To My Madness

Distributing was simple – I’d use Royal Mail. If I had my own stock, I could sign copies for those who wanted one, and I could include “book swag” like concept art and maps.

Creating was also simple. I vetted various a load of printers based in the UK, mostly those who specialised in helping indie authors. After receiving a fab sample, I settled on Clays. They were able to provide the paper, size, and detail I wanted – including super awesome little touches like embossing.

They provided easy to follow guides to format the pages (I admit, the graphic designer at my work gave me a hand), but otherwise I did everything myself. My book cover designer (Book Beaver) also edited the cover to their specifications, so with only a couple of little hiccups, my order was accepted. 

All Hail Amazon?

Selling your book. This was the hard part, and certainly where research (or lack of) came into play.

I assumed I’d sell my paperbacks through Amazon, too. Mostly so if someone clicks on the link, they have eBook and paperback there. Plus, Amazon reviews are all in the same place, and I’m linked as the Author to both formats.

Seems great. But it wasn’t that simple.

I purchased a batch of 10 ISBNs from Nielsen, and used their Title Editor to update the book info. Online retailers like Waterstones pulled this data from Nielsen so the paperback appeared on their website (still can’t believe it’s on their website!!)

Not so with Amazon. You have to create an Amazon Advantage account to link yourself as a vendor for the book. You add in the price and availability information to your product once accepted, and you’d think that’d be it!

Of course selling your book is not that simple.

Amazon takes a whopping 60% of all sales through the programme (compared to the 70% royalties I earn for each eBook sold). When you factor in the print prices, it meant I’d earn a net of 56p per paperback sold through Amazon.

Oh, and I have to ship it to their warehouse, too. Which I have to pay for. So I’d make a loss.

Selling your book through Amazon? Not so great.

Lesson: Do your research so you don’t end up wasting money.

Read the other lessons here: one, twofourfive.

P.S. I hope you enjoyed this blog post (and are enjoying the series)! If you have any comments or questions, feel free to get in touch below, or through Garage Fiction’s social media. You can also email me direct! lauren@llmcneil.com.

P. P. S. If you’re interested in grabbing yourself a copy of my novel (adventure fantasy!) then you’re in luck!

You can buy Moroda in paperback directly through my website.

You can buy Moroda as an eBook through Amazon.

Read the book? Please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads!