This is the seventh entry in a series in which I detail the experience of self-publishing my book. The goal is to offer tips and strategies so you can learn from my successes and mistakes. This week: how unforeseen success can change your plans!
Sometimes, the best laid plans don’t account for even better successes. I’m pleased to announce that, thanks to the Complete Self-Publishing Package from BookBaby and the marketing guidance from their partners at Smith Publicity, I landed an audiobook deal with Audible — even before my book came out!
My original plan had been to publish The Dragon Squisher by the 2019 holidays, but a fantastic opportunity came my way, so I put my original plan on hold for a bit.
About 18 months ago, I did what many authors do after finishing a novel: I began to query agents and publishers. Having gone through this process before, my heart wasn’t really into it (I loathe the querying process), so I limited my efforts to a few agents who I thought would be interested. (They weren’t.)
I also approached my editor at Audible. I’ve published two humorous history books for Audible (Rivals! and Rivals 2!) with a new one (Pirates!) on the way. My editor politely declined. I thanked her and decided that I really wanted to self-publish this book.
When I contacted BookBaby, I not only wanted the Complete Self-Publishing Package, I also wanted to include the various marketing packages provided by BookBaby’s partner, Smith Publicity. (I detail all of this in “Book Marketing and Social Media Promotion,” part 2 of this series.) One of the marketing calls I had with Smith was about social media marketing, and one piece of advice I received was to create quote graphics and post them on Instagram. I did that. Here it is. It was my second post on Instagram.
The next day, my editor at Audible emailed me, having seen my post. She wanted to take another look at The Dragon Squisher. I sent it to her and she made me an offer. I recently signed the contract and the audiobook is going into production. Release date is tentatively this June.
I am still moving forward with my plans for self-publishing the paperback and eBook versions of The Dragon Squisher. The only thing that has changed is I sold the audiobook rights. Audible has done wonderful things with my scripts in the past, so this will truly be the best of both worlds!
As this series of blog posts is focused on offering tips and strategies, I thought I’d offer up some advice and thoughts from my experience.
- Don’t give up on your book. Querying can be a demoralizing process. It takes a lot of work to find agents who you think will be right for your book and then follow all of their instructions for submission. If they pass on your book after all that, it can feel like a blow. But remember, that “no” is just what that one person said on that one day. It has nothing to do with how good or bad your book is. And who knows? They might change their mind later on.
- Self-publishing can lead to great opportunities! I know not every independent author has a contact at Audible or any other publisher out there, but had I not pursued self-publishing, The Dragon Squisher would have just sat there on my computer, gathering digital dust.
- It’s never too early to start promoting your book. I started in July, months before my original release date of October. I don’t know if this opportunity would have come around had I begun marketing my book right before publishing.
- Be flexible! Like I said at the beginning of this article, I had planned on releasing my book in October to take advantage of the holiday buying season. It was a game plan I had spent several months mapping out. But, hey: a great deal is a great deal. And so I was happy to put my initial plans on hold so I could have a fantastic audiobook and all the exposure that comes with working with a big company like Audible.
Stay tuned for more adventures in self publishing. Still to come: printing, print on demand, and more. Comment below if you have any questions about any part of the publishing process, audiobooks, or if you feel like I left something out. And keep an eye out for my humorous YA fantasy novel, The Dragon Squisher, coming this Fall.
Read the rest of the series:
My Self-Publishing Experience. Part 1: Placing An Order
Book Marketing and Social Media Promotion: My Self-Publishing Experience, Part 2
Book Editing: Part 3 Of My Self-Publishing Experience
Amazon Optimization: My Self-publishing Experience, Part 4
Metadata Optimization For Your Book: My Self-Publishing Experience, Part 5
How To Get Cover Design And Formatting That Fits Your Story: My Self-Publishing Experience Part 6
(Follow me on Instagram at authorscottmccormick!)
Creating An Audiobook As A Self-Published Author
Why You Should Put Your Books On Subscription Services
15 Book Discovery Sites That Can Help You Find More Readers
Why Audiobooks Are A Bad Investment For Most Independent Authors
Your Book Needs A Pre-Sale Period To Be Successful