OK, The Promise of Paradise has been indie published (that's the new term for "self-publishing," since self-pubbing was getting a negative rap) for all of a week now, and I've discovered a couple of things:
~I'm very glad I had experience with the whole publishing process, through a couple different publishers, before I did it on my own. I know people who go straight to indie publishing, for a variety of reasons, but I think the learning curve must be so huge, everything from editing to designing a cover, to marketing, that I'm glad I saw the process happen through publishers and editors before I tackled it myself.
~Going along with the first observation, if you choose the route of indie publishing, make sure you do your research and know how to produce a good product. I've seen way too many covers that look unprofessional, as well as typographical errors from authors who edited their own work (tip: you'll never catch all your own mistakes), to know that the smallest error can make your book stand out as NOT something consumers will choose to buy.
~AND on that same topic, make sure you have a great cover. Really. They make such a difference when people are shopping. I love, love, love mine, but it was done by a professional cover artist who's familiar not only with the romance genre and e-publishing, but also with my own writing, since she had designed my cover for Beacon of Love. So we were a good match.
~It's really, really nice to be able to track my sales (through Amazon, anyway) and connect them to my marketing efforts. When you have a book out through a traditional publisher, you don't see your sales numbers until months after sales occur, so it's hard to know what advertising or promo really works. Over the last week, I've watched my sales bump after certain things I've done (sending out my newsletter, posting an announcement on The Romance Studio, [a website well known and frequented by romance readers] and participating in an online release party), so I have an idea about what to spend time on and what to avoid in the future. Very, very helpful!
~It can be a lot of work - but then again, so is all writing and publishing. Still, it can become very easy to be consumed with what marketing to do next, checking those sales numbers every hour, and getting off track from writing in general.
Will I do it again? Maybe. In the meantime, if you'd like to read my posts from yesterday's release party, click here, and then look for my name on the left sidebar. Click my name, and it will take you straight to my posts. Also, here's a great mini-course on the pros and cons of indie publishing, if you'd like to read more from an author who's done it multiple times.