OMG I just self-published a book!

clare macnaughtonOnce upon time self-publishing was the social pariah of the writing world. The world of publishing would disapprove of the mere mortals who had the audacity to think they knew better than the great God of traditional publishing. But then the evil Sith Lord Amazon with his online Global marketplace, created a worldwide shop floor for wannabe writers to punt their wares. And guess what some of these wannabe writers wrote books that millions of people wanted to read and they were able to become professional writers without even needing a publishing house. In fact, some even had publishing houses begging for their business and pleading with them to take out for the longest lunch in the world. It’s Cinderella for writers.

Here’s my self-publishing journey so if you fancy getting your magnus opus out there you know how to do it. I used Amazon’s Create Space online publishing package. I decided to publish on Tuesday and it was on sale by Friday. I did everything myself apart from the editing.

  1. Write manuscript (This took six months)
  2. Find another writer to edit it
  3. Find an editor to edit it
  4. Find a proof reader to proof it
  5. Format the manuscript into a PDF so it’s laid out like a book
  6. Design a cover and turn it into a JPG
  7. Upload the PDF onto Create Space
  8. Wait 24 hours for authorisation
  9. Go through the recommended changes
  10. Print off the book and proof read
  11. Persuade someone else to proof read it
  12. Make any necessary changes
  13. Upload new version
  14. Wait 24 hours for authorisation
  15. Publish

Bob’s your uncle and Fanny’s your aunt and your book is on sale, retire a millionaire to the Caribbean – yes? Er, no! The truth is that you earn about 35% royalties on every book you sell – which is likely to earn you around 35p to 50p per copy, depending on your book’s price.

If you do self publish, once the book is displayed amongst the hundreds and thousands of books on Amazon, somehow you have to convince people to buy it, read it and ideally review it.

Amazon doesn’t wholesale into retailers for you so you become your own self-publicist and it’s a big job because you are going to become your own book bore. Those closest to you, if you are not careful, are going to become saturated with your tireless drum banging – ‘buy my book, buy my book, buy my book.’ But if you don’t bang your own drum, then your book will sink into the sea of other books and nobody will know it’s even there.

Create Space does offer a wholesale partner and I am about to get my book into my first shop and am working out how to get it into Waterstones. Every day is a school day because now I am not just a writer, I am a publisher, I am a publicist, I am a saleswoman and I am a marketer.

And finally, buy my book….

A Modern Military Mother – Tales from the Domestic Frontline

A Modern Military Mother – Tales from the Domestic Frontline is a compilation of blog posts from the blog about the life, reflections and rants of military wife Clare Macnaughton. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad and sometimes crazy, this is a quick and easy read. A literary, light snack.

About Clare Macnaughton

Born in the motherland of Yorkshire and then migrating south to the kingdom of Wessex, Clare Macnaughton dedicated her life to hedonism, sailing, beaches and sunshine, for as long as possible. Then she did some other stuff before she ghost wrote a battlefield memoir called ‘Immediate Response’, in-conjunction with a serving Royal Marine Major, published by Penguin. In September 09, in the second week of sales it entered at number 9 in The Sunday Times hardback, non-fiction, top 10 bestseller list.

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4 Responses to OMG I just self-published a book!

  1. Emma Clark Lam 19 March 2013 at 14:00 #

    Hi Clare – great piece! Entertaining and informative.

    I too have just embarked on a self-publishing adventure. So far I have only released a Kindle version of my historical romance, A Sister for Margot, so I was interested to read about your experience with Create Space. That will be project number 2.

    As you say, staying on top of the marketing and publicity is a full-time job in itself. But everything is worth it: I do think this kind of independent publishing will be the way forward! Bring on the book revolution.

    • Clare Macnaughton 22 March 2013 at 14:11 #

      Thanks Emma – good luck with your journey. Create space do offer a publishing package to take it from Kindle to hard copy otherwise find a graphic designer.

  2. sarahhillwheeler 19 March 2013 at 19:49 #

    Hi Clare,

    Thanks for the post. It is very informative (and honest). I was wondering about Creative Space as I’ve just finished reading your book on Kindle, and enjoyed it. Your PR must work as subliminally I tuned into your book when it came up in my Kindle search (I read a bit about it that week in Wiltshire magazine and hadn’t made the connection initially).

    I agree self-publishing isn’t the “also ran” it used to be – and is now very distinct from vanity publishing. I find the whole self-publishing thing very exciting – do you think it makes your connection to your readers greater?


  3. Clare Macnaughton 22 March 2013 at 14:15 #

    Thanks Sarah and also for your fab blog post. I think this extends your readership to outside blogging. As much as there is a huge community online there are still many women who are too busy to be online, especially the older generation, who have now read the book that definitely wouldn’t have read the blog. The aim is to get it into book shops because there is a still large community of readers that are loyal to hard copy books and bookshop buying. It depends on how quickly you want to expand your reach I suppose. Create Space is amazing – it creates so much opportunity.