Posted by: Katie B | March 15, 2013

Deciding if / when to ePublish? Debut author Christine Duval shares the how and why.

Freshman Forty

One of my writing partners, Christine Duval, published her first eBook through Kindle Publishing this past month.  Right now, ePublishing is an interesting option open to all authors, but deciding if / when it’s right for you can be daunting.  I interviewed Christine on her ePublishing experience, and whether or not she feels it’s a success.

 Me:  Christine, congratulations on the publication of your first eBook on Kindle, Freshman Forty.  It must be really exciting!

 Christine: Thanks! I am thrilled. It’s a dream come true.

 Me:  I know you originally pursued publication of your book with a traditional, brick & mortar publisher.  What made you change your mind and try the electronic venue?

 Christine:  It was a number of factors but mainly it came down to two things: timing and the confidence that the book was done and ready to be put out there. I had been reading so much about this “new” genre called New Adult fiction, which is geared to readers aged 18-25. My book is about a pregnant college freshman. I was sending it out to traditional publishers and actually getting the good kind of no’s. They were reading it; they were considering it carefully for their lists; they were sending me long letters with the reasons why they opted to pass on the manuscript. No one ever said anything to imply they didn’t think it was well-written or unpolished; really it came down to it not being right for the list they were putting together. So I thought, do I keep doing this and wait possibly years to get this published, or do I jump on the ebook bandwagon now with all these wonderful New Adult authors who are self-publishing and finding huge success? I decided to go for it.

 Me:  What steps did you have to go through to get your book ready for Kindle publishing?  For those of us who haven’t done it yet, it seems a little overwhelming.

 Christine:  It is a process but it’s not too painful. Although I could have done this entirely for free, on my own, I opted to invest a little money (not much, though) into creating something that could compete with the ebooks that were being put out there by major publishing houses. I paid for a royalty-free, model-released stock image from Getty Images and had a friend who knew what he was doing design the cover for me. I sent the manuscript through two copy edits with a professional copyeditor who was very affordable and very thorough. Then, I paid to have it professionally formatted by a company in the UK who did such a wonderful job to make sure it could be navigated by chapter and by section on
all Kindle devices and that all the margins lined up. They converted it to .Mobi for me, which is the format required for Amazon and then I uploaded it.  It took twelve hours to go “live” after that. When I got word it had been published, I had to pinch myself!

 Me:  Now here’s the heavy question:  how are sales?  One concern I have is over how you make your book stand out against all the other millions of eBooks out there.  Have you found a market for your book?

 Christine:  Slow and steady. So far I’ve made everything back that I put into it and then some in terms of royalties. In 2 ½ weeks on the market, I’ve had 555 downloads and 8 people have “borrowed” it. I put it into a Kindle Select Promotion that allows certain Kindle owners to borrow it in the Kindle library.  It seemed like another good marketing opportunity. I set up a Goodreads Author page and solicited several book bloggers to review it for free. There are many out there that do this in exchange for a free copy. It’s generated some nice reviews and so far 76 people who I don’t know have added it to their “to be read” list. I also was added to the recommended reading list on New Adult Alley after I emailed them. They run a popular blog for readers of New Adult fiction.  Lastly, today, Lifestyle Expert and TV Host Megan Meany made it one of her Must Haves on her website, which I’m hoping will generate even more buzz about it. I read that fifteen minutes a day of arm-chair marketing is all that is needed to get your ebook noticed, as long as it is done strategically. I think you need to be willing to participate in promotions and utilize social media to spread the word. The occasional plug by a family member doesn’t hurt either. My son’s third grade teacher emailed me the other day that she had downloaded it and read it over the weekend after my son told her about it. Now she’s told a bunch of teachers who are emailing me that they’re reading it now. Hey, whatever works! I’ll take it!

 Me:  Thanks for taking time to share your experiences with us!  Freshman Forty is available on Amazon, where it has been getting great reviews.  I recommend everyone to check it out!

 Christine:  Thanks so much for the opportunity! I appreciate it!!

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