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You will find that the answers vary from not published to lots of books published. Some are traditional. Others are self-published. Of course, the genre makes a difference, if you're hoping to do some kind of comparison.

 

But it will be interesting to see what responses you receive.

 

I'm in the not. Well, not quite. I've had three short stories published in magazines and one in an anthology.

Edited by carolinamtne
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I have had a poem in the local paper and 2 contests based on the Scrabble game published in Games Magazine and Games World of Puzzles.  But I would like to publish a Novella ( maybe 2 ) .

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I am self published through Draft2Digital. They do take a percentage, but they give you a wide range of places to offer your books for sale, and the product they create is excellent. Definitely check them out if you are considering self-publishing.

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I've been a part of several anthologies. The first book (others not finished) that was to be published, the company went under and the book sat on the shelf until I took it apart for blogposts. o_O

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OK own up time.

 

I have had a couple of short stories/poem published years ago in student mags but not recently.

 

Self-published a novel in 2008 YA crossover.

 

Two christian meditations about the Holy Land in an 2016 anthology.

 

That's it.

 

I started writing properly again last March which resulted in a novel. It was mean to be a one off but then the guy who critiqued for me asked about a minor character's future and that set me off on the next novel which in turn (thanks to members of this site inquiring about another character) lead to my current WIP. So I have a trilogy on my hands now.

 

At some point I will get round to sending the 1st one out and think about publishing.

 

 

Edited by Shamrock
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I have self published four books.

 

Self publishing is a doubled edged sword as you have all the control but don't have a big company backing you. From what I've heard, even if you have a big company publish your first work, you still have to do most of the marketing.  That is why I chose self-publishing.

 

When I was a professor i could require my students to buy and read my books. Now I am retired and no longer have that avenue. I soon will publish the last book in my Hating God Trilogy and I will have to become a full-time marketer.

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20 hours ago, keith1969 said:

I am new.to this group and I was curious if anyone has been published ?  How many copies did you sell ?

I self-published my first novel in October last year and my second in February this year. I've sold 608 copies, both titles combined. I'm also part of a multi-author short story anthology that's coming out next month. I'm interested in seeing how that anthology does, since it will have the combined marketing power of all the authors involved.

 

Although I'm not burning up the charts, I'm very grateful to God for my progress so far, especially since there is a lot more that I could be doing to market. I'm still learning the ropes and have just a tiny catalogue.

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I self-published my main book (a memoir) through Christian Faith Publishing, and have sold 400-500 copies. I did a little supplement to that book through KDP, and I'm not sure how many I really sold - I did a free promotion of it recently and got about 1500 downloads. And in August I'll be self-publishing my next book (a collection of testimonies) through Ingram Spark. 

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I have self-published five books and one novelette. I may have sold a hundred copies between all of them, and given away even more.

 

I also write computer software, and get paid a lot to do it. Maybe my novels  would sell better if I translated them into C# or JavaScript?

 

Paul

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Posted (edited)

So many talented and successful authors. I wrote poems through high school and I was part of a group that helped with the Christmas Production at church. I was lucky enough to write a majority of a scene once and I incorporated that in my story.  I know I can't afford a real publisher but how much $$ do you need to self publish ?  I would love some input on it.  I look forward to maybe working with 1 or 2 of you.  

Thank you.

Edited by keith1969
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1 hour ago, keith1969 said:

I know I can't afford a real publisher

I am unpublished but seeking agent representation to enter the world of traditional publishing. What I am about to tell you is very important. No legitimate agent or traditional publisher will ask a dime of you. If they ask for money, run away fast. So, you should very much be able to afford traditional publishing, if that is the way you want to go. 

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3 hours ago, Zee said:

Crazy! You're both burning up the charts, in my opinion. How are you selling so many books? Tell me your secrets...

One word: Hustle.

 

Let me be clear though, I have not broken even financially because a lot of the things I have done to sell books have cost as much as I made on them. I have sold roughly equal numbers online (or through bookstores) and direct in-person. Online it's mostly a matter of social media presence and all that, and I've definitely paid for some online advertising (most of which, again, cost as much as I made). 

 

In another thread I detailed my painfully time-consuming process for getting into local bookstores, which got me into a couple dozen stores around the country. A couple of those have sold double-digits for me, others haven't sold a single one. That is mostly about the store owner bring interesting in my book and actively pushing it (a little store in Kansas sold 6 the first day they had it because she was super excited about it and told everyone). 

 

The real hustling, and I think the real path to success even for big-time authors, is direct appearances. I've gone to book festivals, done signings at local bookstores, gotten a booth at conferences, spoken at churches/Christian schools/Teen Challenge/Celebrate Recovery, done events at the local library, been on a local radio show, and so on. Most of that came through networking and developing connections, and some like the book festivals you just sign up and go. Search out the festivals, plug into your local library system, work with ministries you connect with... Don't be pushy but work whatever connections you can find. If there is an independent Christian bookstore near you they'll probably go along with a signing (after the pandemic anyway) because it doesn't cost them anything and you might bring new people to the store. Now, the trouble is that if you're doing it totally above board you'll need business licenses and have to do sales tax filings, which obviously cost money and time. (If you only do bookstore events sales will go through the store so you won't need all that). The festivals can be expensive, and possibly require yet another business license- I didn't break even on my state book festival. I have also done conferences and events where I knew there was no way I'd cover the cost of the trip, but I chose to do it anyway for various reasons (as I've said elsewhere I treat this as a ministry so making money is not my top priority). The little local events, your library, your church, local ministries you're connected with, the local independent bookstore - those are the things with little or no cost where you can sell some books. For me, if I get to do a speaking engagement, that's where I sell the most. Some events will be great and you'll sell 20 or 30 books, and some will be a bust. Bottom line is you have to get out there and try and start seeing what is working for you and what isn't worth repeating. 

 

Even a lot of the major authors you know start out this way. Dave Ramsay sold books out of the trunk of his car. Sr. Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking), who I've met, rode up and down the west coast in my friend Bill Pelke's van selling books and going to bookstores. I don't expect I'll ever be a big name like that, but pounding the pavement and hustling is the most likely way to get there.

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1 hour ago, keith1969 said:

That is good to know. Wil be looking for more help as I pursue this dream further. Thank you all. 

Know the difference between traditional publishers, legitimate self-publishing methods, and scams. Any traditional publisher you've heard of will require you to have an agent, and good ones are hard to come by (and will have a lot of expectations for you). There are very small traditional-style publishers out there that might take you as you are, but my opinion is those are not really any better than self-publishing. Self-publishing, even the so-called vanity publishers, are not the stigma they were 15-20 years ago. Just beware of scammers and those charging exorbitant prices. There are plenty of places you can pay as a one-stop shop that will do everything for you (Westbow and CFP for example), and there is nothing wrong with that as long as you know what you're paying for. Then there are the real DIY-type self-publishing options like Ingram Spark or KDP, where you pay a very low basic fee but you are really doing everything yourself. I paid for CFP the first time, did my little supplemental book through KDP, and will be publishing my new book this summer through Ingram Spark. Just do your research, understand what you're paying for if you pay, and pick the one that's right for you. 

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10 hours ago, Zee said:

Tell me your secrets...

As a fiction author, I do all my selling online. I've used some paid promotion and I've also collaborated with other authors through services like Bookfunnel and StoryOrigin. These services allow you to put together a nice promo page with everyone's books, which you then share on all your platforms. If you cross-promote with other authors, you need to be very picky. Only work with those who have books similar to yours and whose readers are likely to enjoy what you have to offer.

 

When you're selling online your packaging is crucial, because you only have a fraction of a second to capture a reader's attention. Your covers need to be professional-looking and on-point for the genre. Your blurb must hook the reader and pique their curiosity.

 

There are a lot of things I haven't yet put in place with my platform. I don't have a newsletter yet, so that hampers my ability to cross-promote with other authors and let my existing readers know when the next book is coming. I'm also not using my website as much as I could. Most importantly, my catalogue is still small. The more books you have, the easier it is to sell, and the more cost-effective all your marketing efforts becomes. I'm working steadily towards remedying all this, but progress is slow.

 

9 hours ago, keith1969 said:

I know I can't afford a real publisher but how much $$ do you need to self publish ?  I would love some input on it.

Others have already addressed the potential dangers of vanity publishers.

 

In theory, you can self-publish for zero dollars. However if your intention is to sell books, you'll probably need to invest something in getting good covers, editing and formatting. How much it will cost you depends on many things. With some genres, you can get a great ebook cover for under $40. Others (like fantasy and sci fi) need more expensive artwork. With editing, the amount you'll pay varies greatly. I pay my editor $7 per 1,000 words for a content, line, and copy edit. Others pay a lot more than that. I don't want to be coy at numbers but, honestly, it's a huge topic with many variables and it's hard to give a generic answer.

 

This is a great resource to look at as you consider publishing options. But before you even think about self-publishing, or publishing of any sort, you must be sure that you have the ability to write something that people will want to read. Focus on your craft and on completing projects. Get feedback on your work and keep on learning.

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