Over the summer I decided to self publish a novel I had written several years ago as a result of my Master’s Project at NKU. I’ve posted about it a few times here and wanted to post some concluding comments:
First, I’ve had several people ask me, “how many copies did you sell?” My goal was to sell 50 copies. I felt that was a reasonable expectation and I would have been disappointed with anything less than that. I’ve now made most of my “in-person” sales and, though it would certainly be nice to sell a few more on Amazon over the next couple months, I think the bulk of those sales are about done as well. Grand total sold: about 70 copies.
The process via Amazon’s Createspace was great. I would recommend it to anyone who is at all interested in self-publishing. What lots of people don’t know is that there is no cost to self-publishing with them. None. After completing their steps for formatting and submission, you work goes live on Amazon just like any other book. You even help to set the price (though there are some constraints on that). Then, whenever someone orders your book, Amazon prints and ships it to them, setting aside the portion that is your royalty to be paid to you later (my payments came monthly). So, for example, if Amazon tells you that it will cost $12 to print and ship your book, you set the price at $15 or $18 or $20 and the difference between their cost and the list price is what you take home on every book. That’s it. They also give you a reduced cost to order your own books if you want to sell them to friends and family in your area. In my case, though their cost of printing/shipping Descending was between $13 and $14, I could purchase it for around $8 (which is why I sold it to people in my area a little cheaper than its Amazon list price).
Another note on this from a homeschooling perspective: Though Amazon sets a minimum page requirement (I think it was something like 26 pages), I don’t see any reason their service couldn’t be utilized by families or co-ops to transform student work (i.e. a portfolio of the year’s work, a collection of creative stories, all the final papers from a composition course, etc.) into a professional looking, affordable, finished product that could be purchased by the families involved (to say nothing of grandparents, etc.). Createspace could be a great environment to teach about editing, formatting, and even the economics of selling a book. If anyone has any questions on this or how the self-publishing process worked, I’d be happy to talk to them.
All said, publishing Descending has been a great experience and I’m thankful for the support I received. If you got my book and are reading it, I’d love to hear what you think!