An occasional and mostly self-serving record of self-publishing my debut novel, A Hole in the Ground, with possible tips (or warnings) for others thinking of doing the same.
Three hundred books takes up a lot more space than you’d think.
That was my first reaction when the 12 boxes finally arrived at my workplace yesterday. I didn’t squeal in delight at the long-awaited arrival of these books. But then I’m not much of a squeal-in-delight person. More of a holy-shit-where-am-I-going-to-store-all-these-books person.
And as soon as they arrive, the goal now is to get rid of them.
Here’s the story so far:
- I wrote this comic novel between 2013 and 2014 and have been trying to get it published since. With no publisher willing to take it on, and limited prospects for an unknown Canadian author, I decided to do it myself. Through Blurb and using my experience in layout, I designed and readied my novel for printing.
- But I have no money. I launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the printing funds. The incentive for backers was an autographed copy of the book. Basically a pre-sale.
- The campaign was successful, and I gave Blurb the green light. Somehow, though, my first shipment got lost en route. So plans to get this in the hands of early readers for the summer went awry. I sense I should get used to such awry-ness.
- Finally, they’ve arrived. And now the hard part begins.
Even though the Kickstarter money definitely helped, most of that has gone into the printing and shipping. There is still the mailing to my backers to take care of, which is money I have to spend, money I don’t really have anymore. But a commitment is a commitment, and the sooner I get readers reading the better. This should all balance out once the new sales begin. I’ve started a simple Excel account to track revenue and income. Excel has templates to help idiots like me figure this out. Use them.
Besides mailing copies, I have to get the books into area book stores and other retail outlets. Where I live, there are essentially two English book stores. That means I have to approach grocery stores and museum gift shops. There will be a lot of legwork and paperwork involved. For an artist type, this is the least fun of all. But it has to be done. Remember those boxes in the spare room? They can’t stay there!
Same too for promotion. This is easier because most writers are used to it: Facebook, blogging, Twitter, Instagram. We’re not bad at promoting ourselves and our projects in this passive sit-at-my-desk kind of way. But, still, I’m just one tiny voice on social media and this is one tiny book. Did I mention “unknown Canadian author”?
This brings me to public appearances. My official launch is at Townshippers’ Day, an annual gathering of (mostly) English Quebecers here in the Eastern Townships. This is my audience. These are my people. Townshippers’ Association has agreed to organize the launch for me, which is amazingly supportive.
In fact, so many people have been supportive and keen to organize readings and promote the book, without having read a single word of it! That’s gratifying and quite the boost. I hope they’re not disappointed.
So readings are being lined up, book stores to be contacted, festivals to attend, writing contests to enter, fake reviews to write, videos to make, Goodreads pages to set up, readings to select and books to sell, sell, sell!
Want one? You can order a copy now through the Blurb website.
Let’s see how this goes…