Adventures in Self-Publishing

A little over a year ago I self-published a short story, SYSLOG I, to the Amazon Kindle Store.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the entire publishing industry is going through a major transformation right now, with digital books disrupting the traditional print business models.

I had longed to be an author ever since I watched my grandfather pound out his first book, Ship Benjamin Sewell, on his Underwood SX-100, (which I still have and is a lovely machine,) yet the hurdle always seemed so very high. He had self-published his book, and easily spent $10,000 or more 1983 dollars on research and printing.

Flash forward to late 2010, and self-publishing costs are $0.00 or close to zero if you go all-electronic and do your own formatting, like I did. In fact, the barriers are now so low to self-publishing electronically, I think you’d have to be nuts not to do it in addition to pursuing the traditional print path, if that’s your goal too.


You’ll actually make more money for less effort.

For transparency’s sake, here are my sales to date of SYSLOG I:

SYSLOG I sales in the Amazon Kindle Store since publication, December 2010.

While I’m not exactly burning up the charts here or earning that much, (OK, I’m hardly earning anything,) do keep in mind that I am earning and will continue to earn some money on each sale until I pull the title down or Amazon goes out of business.

Compare that to writing something on spec and then spending the time to shop it around for weeks, months, years maybe, before ever selling it, and then having to negotiate rights, earn-outs, and copyright. Ugh – no thank you!

In fact, I’ve found electronic self-publishing so friction-free, that I’ve been able to put up four other titles under pseudonyms without much trouble. One them is doing pretty OK, as far as I’m concerned. I’m currently writing for beer money and to learn the publishing platforms, so I’m already ahead anyway.

Here’s what’s happening with that one:

Not Bad for Hardly Trying

You’ll notice that sales have trended downward int he past couple of months. That’s because I changed the sale price from $0.99 to $2.99 in order to increase my royalty rate from 35% to 70%. After an initial test, I did the same thing to the other titles because while my total sales numbers are down, my payout almost doubled.

My total royalties will be over $100 for the month of December 2011 – the first time I’ve cracked that threshold. With Amazon’s release of the Kindle Fire, strong sales momentum of other Kindle models, and a two-day free promotion to get a couple of my titles in a few top 100 sales lists right before Christmas, I had strong sales momentum for the last week of the month and I’ve only seen 10-20% slowdown post holiday.

My only marketing to date has been Twitter, my blog, and spamming my colleagues at work. 🙂

So if you’re currently sitting on a title or two that you’re not earning on, what are you waiting for?

4 responses to “Adventures in Self-Publishing

  1. Pingback: Further Adventures in Self-Publishing | Kilbo - Chris Kilbourn

  2. I gave!

  3. Right on Kilbo! Glad I could contribute .33 cents to your fortunes!

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