Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Madness of Self-Publishing by Jannine Gallant

It's done - my first indie book, We'll Never Tell, is alive and well and newly available on Amazon. A touch of March Madness - or am I just crazy? Who knew how much was involved in this endeavor? Certainly not me when I oh so cavalierly decided to self publish a series of three novellas. So, for those of you contemplating this journey, here's my step by step guide from start to completion.

1)  A little research into current trends. No, I don't mean I suddenly turned to vampires and werewolves (not that there's anything wrong with that!) I spent some time checking out what successful indie authors were writing. My conclusion - they write series. I think a big reason this works, especially with Amazon's KDP Select program, is the judicious use of free days. You get 5 free days per quarter. But, you don't want to just give away your book; you want people to actually buy something. If you give away Book #1 in your series for 2 or 3 days at the same time Book #2 is released, people who download and read the free book may be inspired to see what comes next in the series. Voila, a sale is made, and the Secrets of Ravenswood was born!

2) Keeping it consistent. After I decided to write a series, I didn't rush into finishing and publishing Book #1. Nope, I wrote all three. Do you know how hard it is to keep all those little details straight? Something I thought would work for a secondary character in Book #1 (who became the heroine of Book #3) didn't work at all when I dug into her story. So, I had to go back and fix the inconsistencies with this character in the first book. You don't want to lock yourself into a story line that can't be changed by publishing before you've thought the whole series through.

3) Edit, edit, edit. If you don't have a critique partner with strong editing skills, I suggest you find one. The other alternative is paying for editing. You may think your baby is near perfect, but trust me, it isn't. I write clean. For my books more traditionally published, I've never had a lot of edits requested. But there is always something! If you don't have someone edit your book, you'll live to regret it. Some reader is going to see those mistakes you made and point them out in a bad review. Not something you want. So, since I have little money to pay for my publishing adventure, but I do have decent editing skills, I made a swap. My CP edits for me. I edit for her. But don't stop there. Once you've made those changes, have someone Beta read your book. Yep, they're going to catch a few more errors this time through, as well.

4) An attention grabbing cover. Again, I faced the issue of money. Covers can be expensive. After practicing with a free program, I realized anything I made myself was going to look like crap! So, I turned to an author friend who wanted to start her own cover design and editing business. What better place to practice than on me! Alison did a beautiful job. And the best part - we worked together, exchanging ideas, and getting the covers to look the way we both wanted them to through trial and error. Again, I used barter instead of hard, cold cash. Alison is working on an indie release, and when it's ready, I'll sharpen up my editing pencil and get to work!

5) Formatting is a PITA! Here we go with more whining about lack of funds. Plenty of folks out there will format your book for publication. But, I'm not completely without brainpower, and this is something I was determined to conquer. I downloaded the guides. I followed the steps. I had one problem after the other. I asked for advice from those who'd gone before me through the formatting frontier. In the end, I kept working at it until I got it right. Book #1 is formatted, complete with a functioning table of contents and front matter that appears professional to my critical eye. How long did this take me, you ask? About 3 days, but I'm technically challenged. I hope Book#2 and Book #3 will go a little smoother. LOL

6) Promo time! So, my little indie baby is out on the market. Check it out. Tell me what you think. I'd love some reviews. I don't expect big numbers out of the gate, but I'm hoping when I release Book #2 on April 1st and start my judicious use of free days (refer to item #1 LOL) I'll see a positive trend in sales. If you decide to take the plunge into indie publishing, I hope my journey will be a helpful inspiration.

And now, a little about my book.

Secrets of Ravenswood

For three lifelong friends, will past tragedies haunt their futures—or open the door to love…

We’ll Never Tell

Three young girls witness a murder—and make a pact never to tell what they saw. But when the woman’s body is uncovered seventeen years later, the killer’s faith in their promise is shaken. A few deadly reminders may be in order…

Samantha Beaumont knows it’s time to reveal the truth about what happened in the woods all those years ago—until the accidents begin. Fear that the killer will shut them up permanently leads Sam on a quest to protect her friends and expose the murderer’s identity. No one, certainly not the man she spent one memorable night with, will stop her.

Ethan Thorne has no reason to believe Sam is any more interested in a commitment now than when she ran from him five years before. Still, he can’t resist giving her one more chance… When he realizes her life is in danger, he’ll risk everything for a chance at love.

Buy We'll Never Tell at Amazon.

Special thanks to my critique partner, Margo Hoornstra, who did an awesome job editing my books for this series. And kudos to Alison Henderson, who designed the covers. Thank you for all your help!

For more about my other books, please visit my website.


JenaGalifany said...

Jannine, thank you so much for posting your journey. I've wanted to give this a try and began the process back in June last year. One of my publishers found out and talked me out of it. I'd still like to do it at least once, though. Now I know who can answer questions when I get there.

Best of luck with your series.

Jessica Ferguson said...

Thanks for the info! I 'm out if town but just emailed the link to myself. Valuable info. And your book sounds great. I'll check it out.

Colleen Connally said...

Best of luck! I know you will be successful!

Karyn Good said...

I'm always interested in hearing other authors discuss their indie experience. I don't know if it's for me but I'm not ruling it out. Good luck, Jannine. Sounds like a great series!

Jannine Gallant said...

Jena - there's lots to do, but I know you'd have fun with it!

Jannine Gallant said...

Jess & Jerri,

Thanks for the good wishes!

Jannine Gallant said...


I think it's a process worth trying. You learn a lot about yourself and your writing this way.

Alison Henderson said...

Jannine, I never get tired of seeing this cover! LOL I had so much fun working on it with you. I'm home from my father's funeral now and have about 10 days before I leave for Carmel, so I hope to read this inaugural story and get a review posted. I know it will be great!

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks so much, Alison. I had a lot of fun writing the whole series.

Margo Hoornstra said...


Here to comment after being on the road - and internetless - all day yesterday. Like Alison with the cover, I had a ball finding all of those mistakes of yours. Heh-heh. Not to mention enjoying getting to know your characters and enjoying their stories.

Very best of luck to you!

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks Margo, hoping this series finds a spot in the market!