Now on sale…
My weekend was exciting, there’s no way of pretending otherwise. I finally got my novel online, self-published to Amazon as an e-book on the Kindle store. It concludes ten months of work; spent writing, reading, re-reading, muttering about mistakes, re-writing, re-re-reading, and generally having a darn fine time.
The end result is a 79,000 word novel (a fraction longer than the first — and shortest — Harry Potter) that I am comfortable enough to sell guilt-free at £2.29. That is the lowest amount I could sell it on Amazon for and get 70% royalties, as any lower and I’d have had to accept 30%. Even at £2.29 I’ve gone lower than is ‘conventional’ (fiction novels are usually at least £3.00, from what I’ve gathered online) in recognition of what is potentially the biggest weakness that the novel currently has; the lack of a professional editor.
I can understand that self publishing is a tricky business, one in which it is vital to build a groundswell of grass-roots readers,. It is one in which even a strong novel could easily fail, as there is no professional marketing campaign to help push it. Add the lack of editorial review and there is also the risk that the novel may not be strong in the first place. As a would-be buyer there is no good way, at first, to tell whether the product is actually worth your money.
Which is why I’ve gone cheap. I want it to be easy to justify the small outlay to take a risk on something unknown.
Of course, I don’t think it’s a weak novel. The initial draft was completed in six weeks, and the rest of the ten months has been spent on the editing, cleaning and polishing. Although I do not have a higher level English qualification, my day job is in the insurance sector in London, where I regularly write reports and other documentation for a wide corporate audience. My career depends on being able to present a clear and well worded message to senior figures within the organisation. I don’t know how well my writing compares to the professional story tellers yet, and dare say that my novel probably has flaws. However, I’m confident that I’m not a weak writer, and that it will take someone who knows what to look for to spot the problems.
And then there are the test readers, who themselves have not been unskilled. Among them there have been three professional lawyers, a qualified screen writer, and a published author, all of whom have given constructive, positive feedback, for which I am very grateful.
So in defence of my decision to self publish: it’s a cheap novel, I’m confident in my own abilities, and I’ve remained aware of my weaknesses, trying to ensure that the novel has not been written in a vacuum. Over time, and should the feedback justify it, I may move the price up. But right now feedback is far more important to me than revenue, and I think £2.29 is fair given the product uncertainty. The revenue may go towards looking at a round of professional editing, but I will take the steer from my feedback. The first review on Amazon was 4 stars, so that’s a good start…
Should you take the plunge, I would very much appreciate your feedback. If you do like the novel, please do add a review on Amazon, even just a star rating, as that will help encourage future readers to also brave the unknown.