Monday, September 10, 2012

What's it like publishing a book?

Please allow me to talk a little about The Influence, a work that was recently my debut published novel. 

I first wrote The Influence about eight years ago. Over the years, it has gone through numerous revisions and edits. After it came in as a finalist in two different writing contests, and after a big publisher held it for two years for consideration, I thought it was finally time to put this work out there.

My Experience with KDP Select

I put it first on Amazon's Kindle Select (KDP Select). All in all, there have been almost a thousand Kindle downloads, most of them having taken place during my first free promotion. I guess for the most part, I just wanted to try the Select program to see what it was like. I can honestly say that I wasn't that impressed. The biggest issue was that there were some number problems after my term ended. My sales report was still showing free promo copies being given away when it wasn't on promotion. 

Sure, I got a good number of downloads and even broke the top 30 in the Science Fiction category but it didn't do much more than that. I don't know that I'll ever go that route again. Not sure I see the point if not for just a little more exposure.

The Major Catastrophe

And, since this was my first published novel-length book, by definition there should've been a major disaster with it, and boy, was there ever! I discovered after that first promotion, when I read a particularly disturbing report that I had some big grammatical errors in my book, that it was the wrong file that had been uploaded to KDP. When my last editor sent it back to me, I didn't notice that she'd changed the file name. I immediately uploaded the correct version and hoped that the backlash wouldn't be too bad. It is horrifying to think that I let that one slip by but I've learned my lesson and can guarantee that it won't happen again.

General Feedback

But overall, despite my faux pas, I've gotten some good feedback. Not great, but good. Most of the feedback indicated that the book was slow to start but once they got to Part II (The Pedeck Murders) or when they got to the scene where Bella Mae was beaten by the Sunday school teacher, they said then is where it really picked up and they had a hard time putting it down after that. So I'm pretty much pleased with that.

So what was it like?

The excitement I'd imagined of getting that proof in the mail and finally seeing my hard work in print was actually a bit of an anticlimax. I don't mean to sound ungrateful. I really don't. But I'd built up the experience in my mind so much that when it got here, it was like I'd already lived it. I was thrilled, yes, and pleased with my work, but it wasn't "that moment" that clarified the world for me. I think that maybe published writers may understand where I'm coming from on that. But it makes things a little easier now. One you pass that threshold, the race is over and you can take your time and really work on the rest; you can make sure that the subsequent books just keep getting better and better without that feeling of doom upon your chest.

For the most part, I'm pleased with how this debut went. What's even better is that I'm not stopping there. My Barrier short fiction series is picking up a little with the announcement that Book 2, The Purpose of Pain, will be out toward the end of this year. And two and a half years after I first began penning the fantasy, Future Past, I'm still working on rewrites. I'm undecided whether I want to resubmit to a previously interested publisher in November or if I'm going to continue on the independent route. I'm leaning more toward resubmitting, despite the cut in pay. I think it could be an education for me, if I've managed to get this rewrite right. Possibilities are out there for the grabbing.

In the meantime, if you're interested in The Influence, click here to see where you can purchase it. You can also read some excerpts while you're making up your mind.

Peace, love, and keep writing,



  1. I'm trying KDP Select myself for a couple of pieces (No spam here. I promise). Either my books suck pre-emptively or I'm just not being seen. I contacted their help desk with a question once and was told to contact the help desk for that specific type of question.


    1. Yikes. I've had a problem with support, too. When I brought it to their attention that my titles were showing downloaded without having any sales or royalties, I never got any answers as to why.