Tuesday, July 26, 2011

GUEST BLOGGER: Self-Publishing with Debra Holland

When Marie originally invited me to blog, I picked the topic of self-publishing, thinking that by this time I’d have my fantasy romance trilogy already done (fantasy would fit the theme of her blog.) However, the covers aren’t finished yet, so those books won’t be available for a few more weeks. Therefore, I’ll have to talk about my experience in self-publishing my sweet historical Western romances, Wild Montana Sky and Starry Montana Sky.

On April 28th, I published the two books on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. By July 21st, I’d sold over 8500 books--this from two books that had been sitting on my computer for ten years. My two agents couldn’t sell them because they were sweet, not sexy, even though Wild Montana Sky was a Golden Heart winner.

I know I’m not alone in experiencing a writing journey that has times of excitement and success and other times of rejections and unfulfilled possibilities. The journey can be downright discouraging at times.

There are many stories, especially in the paranormal genre, that don’t fit the regular publishing market. However, the publishing world has changed. Many authors are experiencing renewed hope because of self-publishing. Self-publishing, instead of being looked down upon, is now considered by many to be cutting edge. Books that are good, but don’t fit into the New York model can be quite successful as ebooks, especially when they fit a niche that traditional publishing doesn’t address. I know my books are successful because they are hitting two niches--Westerns and “sweet” romances.

If you’re thinking about self-publishing, it’s important to do your research beforehand. You’ll read and hear all kinds of rumors--from all self-published books are poorly written to self-publishing is a gold mine. Actually, there is truth in both points of view. There are a lot of poorly written and badly edited books. And there are some authors making a LOT of money. There are also people making little money, and others who are able to supplement their income, or even afford to write full time.

Those of us who create stories know that sales are more than money. Don’t get me wrong. Money is GOOD! But there’s satisfaction in knowing people are reading your books. It’s wonderful to receive positive feedback. (Not so wonderful to receive negative feedback.) Almost every five star review I’ve received has brought tears to my eyes. (Same with those two star ones, but for different reasons.) I can’t express in words the overwhelming gratitude and happiness I felt when I received my first two fan emails within days of each other. Both wanted to know when my third book would be out.

Self-publishing is not for everyone: Some things to think about before you self-publish:

1.Do you have a book (or books) that has gotten good feedback from contest judges, agents, and editors (not just your mother or your best friend) but you haven’t been able to sell because it doesn’t fit the market in some way?

2.Do you have the rights to your backlist and want to make some more money on them?

3.Do you like having control over your content, covers, and blurb?

4.Can you have patience as your sales slowly build?

5.Will you enjoy receiving a monthly check (or direct deposit) from Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, and Smashwords?

6.Are you prepared to discover you have a compulsive impulse to constantly check your sales numbers and Amazon ranking?

If you answered most or all of the questions with “yes,” or maybe “Hell, yes,” then I encourage you to jump into the self-publishing pool. I think you’ll enjoy splashing around in there. I know I do!

Thanks for coming by Debra!
Want to learn more about Debra and her books?

Website: http://www.drdebraholland.com/

Wild Montana Sky http://amzn.com/B004YKZCD2

Starry Montana Sky http://amzn.com/B004YL2RNO


  1. The more encouragment I read the faster I write. This post came at just the right moment.

    Mary George.

  2. Great post!!!

    And congratulations on your sales too!!! That's awesome!!! :)

    Can't wait to see the fantasy covers...

    Lisa :)

  3. Thanks again for coming by Debra :)

  4. Thanks, Bella, Mary, and Lisa.

    And I can't wait to see my covers too. Right now we're in the going back and forth stage.

    Marie, it's been my pleasure!