Writing & Money Episode 16: How to Self-Publish

How do you turn a file saved on your computer into AN ACTUAL BOOK? How do you get that book on Amazon? Or in bookstores? What about libraries?

This episode takes you through the process of publishing your book and getting it out into the world.

You might also want to listen to the episodes Why Self-Publish? and Talking to Dana Kelly about “Your Book, Your Brand.”

Here are two more resources I mention in the podcast:

Also, when I started writing the show notes, I found out that Amazon might be phasing out CreateSpace in favor of offering a new “print-on-demand paperback” service through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. (This industry changes so quickly!) The basic information in the podcast should still apply!

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Self-Publishing Update: The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2 has been out for ONE WEEK!

Sales/Expenses Since May 13

Books sold: 68 ebooks, 29 paperbacks

Money earned: $275.67

Money spent: $293.34

Total

Books sold: 450 ebooks, 186 paperbacks

Money earned (book sales): $1,894.95

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $9,833.66


It’s been exactly one week since The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2 launched, and during that time the book has sold:

  • 58 copies on Amazon Kindle (this includes the 35 pre-orders)
  • 1 copy on Barnes & Noble’s Nook
  • 1 copy on Kobo
  • 3 copies on Apple iBooks
  • 29 paperbacks

As a point of comparison, Biographies Volume 1 sold 85 ebooks and 58 paperbacks in its first week. Volume 2 hasn’t done quite as well, but you’d expect that for the second book in a series.

However, I also expect to sell more books over the next two weeks as I embark on my READING & TEACHING TOUR! (Is that what we’re calling it?) Here’s a recap of where I’ll be when:

  • Tuesday, June 5: Teaching “The Finances of Self-Publishing” at Seattle’s Hugo House. 6-9 p.m. Sign up here.
  • Wednesday, June 6: Reading and signing at Seattle’s Phinney Books. 7-8 p.m. Facebook it here.
  • Friday, June 8: Reading and signing at Portland’s Another Read Through. 7-8 p.m. Facebook it here.
  • Sunday, June 10: Reading and signing at Juneau’s Rainy Retreat Books, with music from Marian Call and Laura Zahasky! 5-6 p.m. Facebook it here.
  • Monday, June 11: Teaching “Getting Started as a Freelancer” at Juneau’s 49 Writers. 6:30-9 p.m. Sign up here.

There will be more READING AND TEACHING in the future, but this is what I have scheduled for now!

I also wanted to let you know that I’ve already started receiving emails from readers telling me how much they enjoyed Biographies Volume 2. Those are the best kinds of emails to receive, because it means that my book is doing what I hoped it would do: connecting with readers.

Thank you, all of you, for your support as I launched this second book! I hope you all get the chance to read and enjoy it. ❤

Happy Book Birthday, The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2!

I am so excited to launch The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2: 2004–2016 into the world!

If you pre-ordered your copy, I hope it arrived successfully and safely. (Also: THANK YOU!)

If you would like to order a copy, here are all the places you can get ebooks and/or paperbacks:

If you’d like to leave a review, Amazon and Goodreads are the best places for that. (Also: THANK YOU in advance!)

I hope you enjoy the second half of The Biographies of Ordinary People. I loved writing it, and I’d like to think the love comes through in the story. Guess we’ll find out together. ❤

Seattle, Portland, Juneau — I’ll be reading and/or teaching in your cities soon!

This post was originally sent to my TinyLetter subscribers.

We are just over a week out from PUBLICATION DAY for The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2, and in addition to putting the finishing touches on the paperback (which looks beautiful, by the way) I’ve also finally put all the pieces together for the 10-day, three-city book tour I’m doing in June.

Here are the stops:

  • Tuesday, June 5: Teaching “The Finances of Self-Publishing” at Seattle’s Hugo House. 6-9 p.m. Sign up here.
  • Wednesday, June 6: Reading and signing at Seattle’s Phinney Books. 7-8 p.m. Facebook it here.
  • Friday, June 8: Reading and signing at Portland’s Another Read Through. 7-8 p.m. Facebook it here.
  • Sunday, June 10: Reading and signing at Juneau’s Rainy Retreat Books, with music from Marian Call and Laura Zahasky! 5-6 p.m. Facebook it here.
  • Monday, June 11: Teaching “Getting Started as a Freelancer” at Juneau’s 49 Writers. 6:30-9 p.m. Sign up here.

I’d love to see you at any/all of these events, though I wouldn’t recommend all of them because that’d probably cost you around $2,000! (Yes, I’m still tracking all of my earnings/expenses on my blog.)

If you’re in the Iowa area, I’ll be leading a discussion of The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 1 at Next Page Books in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, May 15. Discussion starts at 7, and I’ve heard there will be wine. I’m also planning some more local (to me) readings and classes for this summer, and the next time I’m on the East Coast I’ll see if I can set up an event or two.

Also, The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 1 was selected as an IndieReader Best Reviewed Book of April, and Kirkus selected The Biographies of Ordinary People as one of the 35 indie reviews to be featured in its May 15th issue!

I am so excited to get to share Volume 2 with you, and to see some of y’all on tour, VERY VERY SOON. ❤

Photo credit: James Wang, CC BY 2.0.

Self-Publishing Update: Well, I’ve Finally Spent More Than I’ve Earned

Sales/Expenses Since April 22

Books sold: 5 ebooks (Amazon), 10 paperbacks

Money earned: $213.60

Money spent: $1,978.42

Total

Books sold: 382 ebooks, 157 paperbacks

Volume 2 pre-orders: 35

Money earned (book sales): $1,619.28

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $9,540.32


We’re now at the point where I’ve spent more money on The Biographies of Ordinary People than I’ve earned from it — which should mean that it’s time to stop spending, but it takes a little bit of money to get a book published (I still need to order two cases of books from IngramSpark, for example, to give to bookstores that sell via consignment), plus the expenses of going on tour.

It should also be pretty obvious that the Patreon money was the big reason why I turned any profit on Volume 1; if I hadn’t had the support of a group of readers, I’d be way way way way into the red by now.

I do anticipate earning money on both Volume 2 book sales and the courses I’m teaching while I’m on book tour, but I don’t anticipate earning more than it’ll cost to go on the 10-day tour — and yes, I could have chopped those 10 days down to 7 if I’d been more willing to trust that all the planes would get me to all the places on time, but flying out of Cedar Rapids often means delays, and flying in and out of Juneau can mean additional delays, so I built in a few buffer days.

On the plus side, those buffer days will enable me to keep up my full-time freelance workload while traveling, so I won’t lose any money that way. Plus, the whole thing will be a tax deduction — and, more importantly, it’ll be an opportunity to meet readers, teach students, see friends, and build connections with bookstores and writing centers.


So where will I be, on this ten-day tour?

  • Tuesday, June 5: Teaching “The Finances of Self-Publishing” at Seattle’s Hugo House. 6-9 p.m. Sign up here.
  • Wednesday, June 6: Reading and signing at Seattle’s Phinney Books. 7-8 p.m. Facebook it here.
  • Friday, June 8: Reading and signing at Portland’s Another Read Through. 7-8 p.m. Facebook it here.
  • Sunday, June 10: Reading and signing at Juneau’s Rainy Retreat Books, with music from Marian Call and Laura Zahasky! 5-6 p.m. Facebook it here.
  • Monday, June 11: Teaching “Getting Started as a Freelancer” at Juneau’s 49 Writers. 6:30-9 p.m. Sign up here.

There’ll be a few more local events to announce this summer, starting with the Next Page Books book club in Cedar Rapids! If you’re available on Tuesday, May 15 at 7 p.m., we’ll be discussing The Biographies of Ordinary People, Volume 1.

Am I planning any readings on the East Coast? Well… the next time I’m on that side of the country, I’ll definitely look for an interested bookstore! But I’m not currently planning a multi-day tour. (See “gotta make sure I don’t go too far into the red,” above.)


I also wanted to share a couple of recent accolades:

  • The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 1 was an IndieReader Best Reviewed Book of April!
  • Kirkus selected The Biographies of Ordinary People as one of the 35 indie reviews to be featured in its May 15th issue!

Plus, I got to hold, review, and sign off on the print proof, which means you will be able to start ordering paperback copies soon. ❤

Photo credit: Abby Lanes, CC BY 2.0.