Today on Lost to Books, Scott Bartlett has kindly written a guest post about his experiences in self-publishing! His book Royal Flush is out now on Amazon and details about it can be found in the post.
So everyone please give a warm welcome to Scott
and then go check out his book!
Hello, Lost to Books readers! I’m Scott Bartlett, an indie author from Newfoundland, Canada.
In this post I’ll discuss my experiences writing and self-publishing my humour novel, Royal Flush. Hopefully this information will be valuable to anyone considering indie authordom.
I wrote the first draft in the 18 days leading up to a competition deadline. It didn’t win— probably because it was a first draft. But I rewrote and revised several times, eventually submitting it to the Atlantic Writing Competition. It received the H. R. (Bill) Percy Prize, which is something I make sure to mention now in promotional material, as well as on the back of the book.
I submitted it to several publishers, and got a couple nibbles (read: full manuscript requests), but no bites. My decision to self-publish meant I was responsible for virtually everything except the actual printing—including writing, editing, cover art, formatting the book, turning it into a PDF, and promoting it.
To be taken seriously, it’s crucial that a self-published book be professionally produced. And that means thorough editing. I was lucky enough that many people took an interest in reading Royal Flush before it was published—I would estimate that over 100 people read it during its various stages of pre-publication. This includes friends, family, coworkers, and users of Authonomy.com, all who provided valuable feedback. You might say I crowdsourced a significant amount of the editing.
I also went through 10 drafts myself. I didn’t catch all the mistakes—I know of at least one that irks me to no end. But I am proud that distracting grammatical and spelling mistakes have been kept to a minimum.
I approached a local artist I went to high school with, Susan Jarvis, with a concept for the book cover, and she made me something very close to what you see today. I was immediately very happy with the cover, and I requested only minor changes.
Formatting the book was a trial. I spent hours researching how to do it. Hyphenation was especially troublesome. I’m glad I invested the time, though, because I think the finished print book looks very professional. (Formatting for eReaders, of course, wasn’t as big a deal, since it looks different on every device anyway.)
To promote the novel, I’ve turned to Twitter, Facebook, my blog, and local venues such as bookstores, science fiction conventions, festivals, my local farmers’ market. I’ve been interviewed in local newspapers and on the radio. I conducted a blog tour, too, in August. I also I plan to record the first part of my book as an audiobook, and give that away for free, to try and pique interest in the rest of it.
I have an 8-page marketing plan, which never seems to shrink no matter how many to-do items I delete from it. This is because I’m constantly adding new things—both new ideas and things I’ve realized I need to do. If you’re like me, you’ll underestimate just how much work self-publishing is before you go into it. A lot of it is unglamorous logistics. But based on my personal experience, I consider it well worth it.
One advantage associated with being self-published (and with being published electronically) is that your book is always ‘in print’. There doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge push immediately after the book is released, and then little to no activity afterward. Since my book is available for as long as Lightning Source, the ebook sellers, and I are all solvent, I can promote at my leisure.
Mind you, I don’t feel very leisurely. I am having lots of fun, though, and I consider that extremely important!
Scott Bartlett has been writing fiction since he was fifteen. Since then, he's written three novels and several short stories. His second novel, Royal Flush, won the H. R (Bill) Percy Prize, and his third novel, Taking Stock, received the Lawrence Jackson Writers' Award and the Percy Janes First Novel Award.
Royal Flush is a novel that asks the question: can a man who throws his dates in a dungeon succeed romantically? The main character is known only as the King, and as his Kingdom careens toward catastrophe, he cruises seedy taverns looking for likely maidens.
His incompetence and his weakness for beautiful women drag him deeper and deeper into trouble. He is portrayed as a cross dresser by the Kingdom Crier (the Kingdom’s most popular tabloid). Shortly after, he must defend his castle against a siege with only his royal fiddler–while attempting to steal his royal fiddler’s girlfriend.
Click here to purchase the ebook ($2.99) or to order the print book ($12.99).
Thanks Scott and Goodluck with your book!