I’m not proud. It’s been sixteen months since I made the decision to go into independent book publishing after three decades of traditional publishing. I have already gone into the reasons why I did so, and I still think it was the right decision. And I knew from the very beginning that I was going to learn as I went on a trial and error level. As I say in my writing classes, “The day you stop being a student is the day you stop growing as a writer.”
So to recount what I did: last year I launched four books under a new publishing name that my son and I made up: Prevail Publications. Two were under a penname: Jackson Paul. The other two were under my real name; one was a collection of short stories that I gave away on Smashwords to help build my name, the other was a book that had been traditionally published but had gone out of print. I hit Twitter pretty hard, rising from less than 2,000 followers to more than 13K as we speak. I sought out reviewers and tried to promote myself and my books on Facebook to the risk of alienating my friends and family.
At this juncture, I am doing pretty good monetarily. In fact, I am making more money indie publishing than I ever did with traditional publishing. But I also noticed a truism that I heard from another blog on writing that was very, very true: 90 percent of sales come from Amazon, and about 95% of sales are e-books.
That prompted me to try a different approach when I launched Infinity’s Reach earlier this month. I went with the KDP plan on Amazon, hoping that making the e-book free the first weekend would help me make a bigger splash. The jury’s still out with that one. The other thing I’m trying is to get more visibility on Goodreads, where I am giving away 10 paperback copies of Infinity’s Reach in the next month. Finally I decided to try Facebook advertising. So far, that’s had mixed results. Of course, I will share everything here–eventually.
But the BIGGEST MISTAKE I ever made was deciding to launch two books under a penname: Jackson Paul. My original logic was that since I had a history as a Christian suspense author, I didn’t want readers confused by The Kiss of Night, which is a sci-fi book, or Tom Horn, which is a western steampunk book. What I didn’t stop to consider was what that would do to the copyright information. I couldn’t make the copyright out to Jackson Paul, who didn’t exist. And if I made it out to Glendal P. Robinson (my legal name), well, that would just be a problem. So I created Prevail Publications and made it read: Copyright 2012 Prevail Publications.
The second thing that didn’t occur to me would be problems I would have on both Smashwords and on Amazon with listing these two books as my books. The two companies aren’t really friendly toward writers with pennames. Further, there were problems setting it up for payment. Even now I am trying to iron out issues with Smashwords, who are putting my books on hold for distribution to Kobo, Barnes and Noble and other distributors.
So sometime soon, I plan to put out new editions of these two books. And the covers will probably read: Glen Robinson, writing as Jackson Paul. I’m still not sure what to do about the copyright; I am not sure I can change it. It hasn’t been officially filed with the Library of Congress yet, but I do need to figure it out.
All in all, of all the blunder I have made since 2012 started, this is the one I would go back and correct if I could.
3 thoughts on “The Biggest Mistake I’ve Made (so far) In Indie Book Publishing”
That was helpful. Thanks. I’ve been debating using a pen name for my next book and am now more sure this is not a good idea. Appreciate it.
I believe that pen names are no important anymore.
With 300 million readers going through the countless books on countless lists, pages, and topics, it is important to get one name out there-yours! It doesn’t matter if you chance genres, write erotic fiction or sci-fi, if a reader likes your writing they will look for more of your work. They won’t find it if you “hide” it. They might even purchase a genre they don’t read because you wrote it.
I promote other authors, I have a group of other authors that promote each other. A pen name, or secondary names won’t work. And KDP isn’t important, read Russell Blake’ s blog to understand the systems of Amazon.
(For this extremely important byte of information (RUSSELLBLAKE.com) a little free publicity on my free novel AMERICA ONE would be always gladly appreciated through Twitter Facebook etc.
I would be happy to to you the same favor. Best of Luck
T I WADE
Sorry, in the above post, I meant to state KDP Select, where Amazon has you exclusively. It doesn’t make any difference in Amazon’s eyes whether you are in their “Select” program or not.
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