Sep 10, 2012

Self Publish, Yes or No?

I'm thinking about trying to publish a couple eStories through Amazon, Barnes or Apple.  Before going too far down the road, I'd like to check in with readers to see if the plan makes sense.

Start small, maybe do a short 3-parter on my faith walk.  I grew up Lutheran, joined the Baptist church when married, and finally came home to the Catholic Church in the last few years.  Roughly 15 pages per story, with a photo or two mixed in.

This first go would be a learning gig, make the mistakes early on before trying to self-publish a lengthier single-dad B&P saga.  The upfront cost appears to be zero or low in most cases; the seller gets a cut of each sale.

Questions for B&P readers:

  - Would anyone be interested in purchasing my faith 'capade on Amazon, Barnes or Apple? 

  - Is $1 per story, $3 for three a fair price?  If not, play The Price is Right and tell me the correct amount.

  - Is 15 pages per story the right length?

  - Those of you that have self-published, what advice do you have?

  - If you think this is a weak idea and won't generate any sales, please tell me.

 
sheep, now
 
Thanks,
-Beard  

32 comments:

  1. Yes and charge $5 for the set.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazon stats show a buck to $5.99 is the sweet spot for sales and profit. I think people that don't know me would be willing to pay $1 for one article more than $5 for the set. I'd also set a retail price and Amazon can discount it down, I'll have to give it some more thought.

      Delete
  2. I think you should have a go at it for sure. I think there are probably many people who would find that topic very interesting. I think your price point sounds fine too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous9/10/2012

    I think it sounds like a great idea, and I agree with Karen on the price. I look forward, in particular, to reading about your faith journey. I was raised Catholic and am interested in hearing how you chose to convert to Catholicism. I love your writing style....can't wait to read your stories!

    Kelli K.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have friends that are the reverse of my story; they grew up Catholic, but ended in different churches as adults. This one will be a windy path of how I ended in Rome.

      Delete
  4. Here be dragons - get talking with somebody who has gone the route before you so you don't have to re-invent everything. I'm part of a reading group on Facebook were one guy step in most of the potholes trying to publish a book - he's now on to e-version and after a year managing to figure it out. We also have at least 2 e-publishers in the group who warn and warn and warn again about certain pitfalls. BUT, we' re in South Africa.
    Would love to read you story though and would pay you suggested price.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree, I'd like to hear from others that have fought the dragons. Send me a note if you have any advice from your reading group friend.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous9/10/2012

    Hmmm, don't know you, but like you... so I'll lay it on the line. I'm anti paying to hear someone's testimony. But then, I've paid for books about someone's tremendous faith journey and maybe yours is one. Don't mean any harm here.

    Robbie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, my story won't appeal to everyone, just as a single dad story wouldn't either. On a side note, since you mentioned testimony, I laughed when I read this on Wiki:

      The words "testimony" and "testify" both have a root in the Latin testes, which is the male testicles on which witnesses would swear in court.

      Delete
  6. personally i wouldnt pay to read stories about someone elses faith, but i grew up having someone elses religion shoved down my throat at every opportunity. as such, im on the far end of lapsed as far as faith goes. i believe in me & thats enough. id much more prefer the single dad stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Religion doesn't taste good when shoved down the throat, yuck.

      Longer-term goal it to publish my single dad story. Will get there in time, baby steps for now.

      Delete
  7. I have no experience in the writing department - lots in the Catholic bit, though- would love to read your story and send you lots of encouragement!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the encouragement!

      Delete
  8. Anonymous9/11/2012

    My first thought after reading your post was...of course there is a audience for your topic. So many people are searching just as you did, they'll want to know how you did it. Then I read the comments and am immediately struck by specifically the Catholics who would want to read it. I think it is an excellent idea and a great way to learn. I am looking forward to the B&P book! By the looks of the comments...mine included...you'll have to go somewhere else to get real publishing data. Let us know where you find that info.
    And while I am at it. I was so impressed by your trip planning skills. I did a similar thing years ago when my children were small...they are in their 20s now. Reading it brought back all the fun I had planning, as well as the memories of their fun there. Keep writing, you are good at it!
    Kathy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll start digging around for articles on how to publish. Getting the story uploaded is easy, the difficult part is getting the word out and tapping on the shoulder of potential buyers. A small story among hundreds of thousands of other stories, there's a lot of noise and clutter to compete with.

      Delete
  9. Rachael9/11/2012

    Do it!! You have absolutely nothing to lose. There's a woman named Darcie Chan who self-published "Mill River Recluse" on amazon.com and made a ton of money. And far more importantly, she created a following. There's no reason NOT to do it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree, seems like a low risk opportunity, worst case is nobody buys. And that wouldn't be much different than blogging for free as I do now.

      Delete
  10. What do you want to do with this publication? Educate and inform, considering it a success if you make someone, anyone, think? Eventually influence millions from the top of the NY Bestsellers' List? Or simply share your story for personal reasons? No matter which (or something completely different), if you feel this story within you wanting to be told, I think you should tell it. I think your price point is reasonable, though I'm not someone who typically shops for such stories (I'd probably read yours though, you've piqued my interest and I enjoy your blog writing). Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My family is perplexed and maybe a little bit disgusted with how I could be fickle, porting from Luth' to Bapt' to the Catholic faith. The story will be a straightforward "this is why I changed churches", with my opinion folded in on what I liked and didn't with each. Hopefully they'll then understand.

      My goal for this first round of publishing is to learn the process and make mistakes on a smaller scale. Tightened up my skills so I'm ready to roll when it's time to publish a thicker B&P single-dad eBook.

      Delete
  11. My Dad has a lot of experience with self-publishing and e-publishing, as he is a writer who has had to face technology and changes in the magazine industry head-on. I don't know many details (could possibly put you in touch with him if you're interested), but I know he's spent many years at getting his personal short stories (as opposed to his job-related writing) published (self, e, etc.) and makes little to no money with it. You have to be writing because you wanted to write it anyway. If you're looking to make money, I think it's a long and difficult road. But, if you're writing because you love to write, there's not much to lose as you said. I wish you all the best! Oh - and I think your prices sound pretty good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've published a few articles in a running magazine, it was a small stipend for payout and months expired between when I wrote the story and when it came out in print. That's why I started the blog, I enjoy the flexibility of being able to post when I want. Same goes for self-publishing on Amazon, there's no third-party agent or publishing house to slow things down or send me rejection letters.

      If your dad has any tips for ePublishing, please see if he could send me a note: beardandpigtails@gmail.com

      Thanks!

      Delete
  12. Sarah B9/11/2012

    Sounds like a good idea to me! This reminded me of "Blue Like Jazz" can't remember who it is by but it is faith journey as well and may present some good ideas for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll check it out, looks like there's a project in the works to raise money via Kickstarter to put this on the big screen.

      Delete
  13. I'm personally not so interested in your faith journey- on the occasional blog post, yes, but to pay for, no. But I definitely like your writing style and would consider purchasing something about you and Pigtails, or you and Curls. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Faith series will be a warm-up to better things to come.

      Delete
  14. I would definitely purchase. I have been anxiously awaiting your faith journey story since you announced it. I was raised Catholic and am interested in hearing what others have to say about coming into the church. It seems like I only ever hear about people leaving the church (informally). This would be refreshing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I'll get going on this project soon.

      Delete
  15. I think it sounds like a great idea! Sarah B hit the nail on the head... it sounds like it would be along the same lines as Blue Like Jazz (a wonderful faith journey read). Very exciting step for you. You can count me in for purchasing the set!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds good, well on my way to making $4.00 with this publishing gig.

      Delete
  16. You might want to check out Pamela Fagan Hutchins' blog, "Road to Joy" -- she is a writer and has also started an independent publishing company called "SkipJack Publishing" with her husband. Here's the link to an article you may be interested in reading: http://skipjackpublishing.com/2012/09/05/ebook-sales-outlets-where-to-upload-how-and-why/

    Pamela is a great gal and I think you would enjoy her blog/books. She writes of blended families, parenting a child with ADHD, and her awesome Boston Terrier, Petey. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Beard,
    I am contemplating the same thing...to write or not to write. I have had many people approach me about writing "my side of the story", so am really taking time to pray and reflect on it. But I really believe God is calling us in this direction. Good luck to you as I think it would be interesting to read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My vote is you definitely go for it. Low risk, and I think you'd find the writing process therapeutic. Let me know how it goes.

      Delete

Thanks for the note, check back for my response!