I had a chance to catch up with another Vancouverite lately – Sonya Solomonovich, who’s just released her latest book called Dryad, a time-travelling eco-thriller with some fantasy thrown in for good measure. I asked her a few questions on her experience of the technical side of self-publishing.
Which services do you publish on, and how easy or difficult do you find the process?
I publish on Smashwords, Amazon’s Kindle store, and Createspace. This is my second book, so I find it much easier now that I’m familiar with the process.
Overall, I’d say it’s pretty easy, and I’m not the most technology-savvy person. In order have your book made into an ebook on Smashwords and Amazon, you need to change the formatting of your Word file, and the free Smashwords formatting guide has all the information you need. Anyone who is reasonably familiar with Microsoft Word can do it.
Also, one thing I wanted to mention is that you don’t need to convert the document into an ebook yourself. This seems to be a misconception that a lot of indie writers have. I kept hearing about people using Calibris or some such thing, but it’s really not necessary. I simply uploaded my formatted Word document onto Smashwords and KDP, and they converted it into ebooks.
Do you do your own formatting and cover design?
I do my own formatting, but I’m not much of a visual artist, so I hired an artist to create an original cover. It was expensive, but I like the idea that it’s created specifically for my novel and not just a bunch of images cut and pasted from random places and put together in a haphazard way as many indie book covers seem to be.
What would you say is the biggest technical challenge that you’ve faced so far?
Getting the right information on how to format and upload the ebook content. I came across a lot of misleading information about it on the internet, and as a result I wasted some time trying to create an ebook when I didn’t even need to do that.
There’s lots of options out there for online marketing for self-published authors. What have you found that works well for Dryad so far, and what else would you like to try?
I’ve done an interview and am in the process of doing a giveaway on Goodreads. I think the interview helped sell a number of copies, and the giveaway will be more beneficial in the long run because not many people purchased it but lots of people have added the book to their “want-to-read” shelf on Goodreads. I’m also planning a virtual tour in November with Sage’s blog tours.
My personal favorite promotional technique is giveaways. People can’t say no to something that’s free, and hopefully they’ll enjoy the book enough to write a review! But all in all, I don’t know if it makes much of a difference what type of promotion you do as long as you are doing something, whether it’s reviews, guest posts, interviews, or giveaways. The important thing is to try to reach as many people as possible by promoting your book on various blogs and websites (ie. not just your own blog), so just doing some kind of promotion every week should help keep sales up.
Lastly, tell us a little about your next project, or your future plans.
I would like to keep writing novels of course, but I don’t have an idea for a new one yet. I’ve left the ending to Dryad quite open, so maybe a sequel will be forthcoming.