I realized this morning that it’s been roughly a year since Robert Swartwood talked me into self-publishing some of my works (and thus, the teacher became the student). I thought that maybe I’d share my thoughts, one year in. What follows are some rough observations, typed out before my five-year old wakes up and we start the day.
So far, I’ve self-published three novellas (ALONE, SCRATCH, and THE GIRL ON THE GLIDER) and one full-length short story collection (BLOOD ON THE PAGE: THE COMPLETE SHORT FICTION OF BRIAN KEENE, VOLUME 1). They’ve been made available on the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo platforms. I haven’t yet experimented with self-publishing paperbacks, but will next month with a paperback edition of BLOOD ON THE PAGE.
My up-front costs for each book (design, cover art, etc.) have been about $400. In each case, I recouped that within the first month of sales. While I won’t get into exact dollar amounts, I will say that the vast majority of my sales have come from Kindle, making up fully 85% of my monthly royalties (with Nook and Kobo sales providing the rest). I’ve noticed the same thing with my monthly royalties for the Deadite Press Kindle and Nook editions of my work. Clearly, Kindle is the dominant device.
Kindle is also the easiest to work with on the production side of things. Upload the file, enter the info, and usually within a few hours, the book is on sale. Kobo is also very easy to use. Uploading to Nook, however, can be a maddening and teeth-clenchingly frustrating experience. Error messages, time-outs, files not uploading, delays of up to five days for the book to go on sale — a complete cluster fuck.
But, overall, I’ve been very happy with the experience. Between the monthly royalties I make from self-publishing and the monthly royalties I make from Deadite Press, and the mutual respect I’m shown from Deadite, and the ease of self-publishing, I doubt there’s any way I would ever go back to the Big Five mass market publishers. Oh, they want me to. They keep asking me to. But as it stands, they can’t offer me a better deal than what I can offer myself. And after 15 years in this business, I’m very much enjoying that right now. I like where I am — doing a mix of indie press and self pubbing. For me, it’s perfect. Your mileage may vary.