I am thrilled today to have pioneer for self-publishing in the romance world–Courtney Milan.
- What was the deciding factor in self-publishing your book(s)? Did you decide on ebook or print only or both?
The royalty rate. It’s hard to argue with 70%. My first self-published work was a novella, and so I only did an e-book, but I’ve started doing print for my full-length works, and I’m going back and doing the novellas in print, too!
- What went into the process? Writing, editing, cover design, formatting, etc… Share your ups and downs and how you went about it. If you used a service from a someone, could you share who?
Writing is much the same as before. For editing, I need someone who will tell me what isn’t feeling “right” yet—once I know what’s wrong, I can fix it on my own. Believe it or not, it may be harder to find an editor for authors who need someone to push them to the next level than for someone who just wants an editor to improve basic craft. Most of my time is spent on writing and editing, with the second-most time spent on cover design.
I do my own covers mostly because I would drive anyone who did covers for me up the wall with repeated requests to change things and then change them back. I wouldn’t work with me as an author unless I paid myself several thousand dollars—I’m that much of a pain.
Formatting is easy.
Ultimately, there really is no such thing as a down in self-publishing—if something doesn’t work, do it again.
- What did you do to promote your work?
Sent out a bunch of review copies and told people about it on Facebook, Twitter, and through my newsletter. I don’t spend as much time promoting as doing other things.
- What was the hardest thing you’ve found in the process of self-publishing? What was the easiest part of self-publishing?
Getting the book out of my hands. I have a really hard time letting go as it is. In traditional publishing, my editor would pretty much pry the book out of my hands and hit me over the head to make me let it go. (I’m kidding, somewhat.) Now nobody can do that to me, and so I fuss and fuss and fuss…
- Can you list some Pros/Cons of self-publishing?
Pros: I have more control, and so I get less stressed out. I make more money.
Cons: I have to do more work. Luckily, none of that work involves making phone calls, so it’s all good.
That pretty much covers it!
- How long have your book(s) been out? How long between books if you have multiple sales—and if you have multiples did you see a bump in sales with subsequent publication?
My first self-published work came out at the end of May of 2011, so I’m just breaking the one year mark. I had a traditionally published book come out in October, and then another full-length self-published title in December. I just put up a novella in April of 2012, and another short story in an anthology in May. I’ve definitely seen a bump in sales for the prior book with every publication!
Not really—not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t have that fine-grained a record at this point for all my titles. I could figure it out, but I’d have to open a bunch of files and add stuff, and that would take me forever. J
I’ve made about $47,000 on my first self-published novella, Unlocked; about $40,000 on my first full-length title, and about $10,000 on my second novella (which has been up for a little bit more than a month at this point).
- What advice can you offer to anyone deciding to self-publish?
Do it right. If you give your readers a high-quality book, they’ll repay you a thousand fold.
- What genre(s) do you write in? How many books do you have out? Titles?
I write historical romance set in the Victorian era. I have five full-length titles out, and four novellas. They are:
The Brothers Sinister Series
The Governess Affair*
The Turner Series
The Carhart Series
This Wicked Gift*, in The Heart of Christmas
Proof by Seduction
Trial by Desire
Not in any series
The Lady Always Wins*, in Three Weddings and a Murder
- What do you love about the genre(s)?
I love being transported to another time, and yet finding familiar human emotions in that period.
- Where can readers find you?
- Where can readers find your books? Print/Ebook?
You can get my books everywhere, in print and in digital. Many of my print books were produced by my traditional publisher; the ones that weren’t, you can usually order through a bookstore or through Amazon or Barnesandnoble.com. My books are available in ebook almost everywhere that ebooks are sold: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Sony, Diesel, Waterstones, Smashwords… Anywhere I can conceivably get my books, I will.
- What works do you have coming out in the future?
I’m working on a series called The Brothers Sinister, and so I have a handful of full-length titles coming out:
The Duchess War (late summer 2012)
The Heiress Effect (late 2012)
The Countess Conspiracy (early 2013)
There are also a handful of other projects I have in the works, but it’s too early to say anything about them at the moment.
- Are you participating in any reader contests?
No, honestly. I end up forgetting about them, and I finally decided it was a better use of my time to write books then to hold contests.
- There is a rumor going around that all self-pubbed books are shoddily created.
What do you say to that?
Nobody has ever said that, sorry. Many self-published books are shoddily created. Many are not. I’ve never met anyone who has said they all are.
- What advice can you offer readers of self-pubbed books in making a decision on what to read?
Read mine. 😉