Welcome to another Friday at the 7 Scribes. Casey here. Today, Frankie Roberston is my returning as my guest and she’s sharing her self-publication journey with her latest book BLAZING A TRAIL.
Take it away, Frankie!
Thanks for inviting me to guest post, Casey!
When I started thinking about self-publishing way back in 2010, I had a lot of questions.
Should I find an all-in-one author service, or hire separate vendors?
How much would all this cost?
Could I really make any money at this?
Would self-publishing destroy any hope of respect for my writing?
I didn’t know anything about it, but I knew a few people who were convinced that the long predicted transformation from paper to digital books was finally about to become a popular reality, so I started learning. The more I learned, the more I realized I didn’t know, but I finally reached a point where I had to leap in and start swimming. Within a year of publishing a novel with a small press, I had also self-published three novels and a novelette. It was exhilarating, but I was still learning and muddling through as best I could.
I didn’t intend to set myself up as some kind of expert when I began blogging about my self-publishing journey. I was just sharing my experience, and my experience was that I was finding several college courses’ worth of information out on the web, posted by people who had already blazed a trail before me. People who often didn’t agree with each other about the best way to deliver stories to the readers.
I figured there were probably some other people as overwhelmed as I was, so I began posting about how I made my choices between divergent paths. At the urging of various readers, those posts (much revised) became BLAZING A TRAIL: Your Self Publishing Journey. I also included a bunch of interviews with other Indie authors, because I love reading about how other Indies are getting the job done. My way is far from being the only way, and I wanted readers to know that, too.
One thing many of the authors I interviewed agreed on is that one of the primary pleasures of self-publishing is the greater control we have over our careers. We decide about our covers, our editing, our release dates, and our promotions. Self-publishing is a lot of work, and it’s not for everyone, but as several authors said, being an Indie author is a lot of fun, too.
Now that I’ve learned a lot about self-publishing, I’m struck by a powerful truth: there is still so much more to learn. I’ll never feel like I “know it all.” Even the people I’ve learned from have changed their minds about various aspects of the industry as the publishing environment has changed. None of us can afford to stop learning, because the possibilities and opportunities keep changing. New data is coming to light every week. That avalanche of conflicting information can be overwhelming to the beginner. What I tried to do with BLAZING A TRAIL is to offer my experience as a guide for making decisions about the self-publishing process, to draw a rough map and point readers toward the best practices today.
Thanks for letting me share this part of my journey with you! I hope you’ll join me over on FrankieRobertson.com, where I’ll keep writing about what I learn on my self-publishing journey.
For anyone interested in a copy of BLAZING A TRAIL – http://www.amazon.com/BLAZING-TRAIL-Publishing-Journey-ebook/dp/B00BVUWONO
Scribesters, if you have questions for Frankie, ask away. Don’t be shy!
14 thoughts on “Blazing a Trail by Frankie Roberston”
Welcome, Frankie. My story is much like yours. It’s been two years of constant learning and growing as a self-published author. While publishing four books in my first year was incredibly daunting, it has also been extremely rewarding. Building a readership, seeing my books in print, and having so many readers enjoy my stories is worth all of the hard work, despite the shifts in the industry that are making selling the books so challenging lately. With the glut of product available these days, it’s making it much more difficult to be visible and find readers. Are you having that same experience? Have you found any new tricks for breaking through that wall? Besides releasing the next book, which I am diligently working on for June:-)
Thanks for being with us today and best of luck in your non-fiction career move…very smart. I’m thinking the same thing myself. How does “Simple Stretches for Writers, Couch Potatoes, and Desk Jockeys” sound?
Thanks for commenting, PJ! Yes, I’m with you–getting the word out to readers that my books exist is my biggest challenge. There’s so much “noise” we have to get past. In my first year, I’ve taken a low key approach to marketing. Mostly I focused on getting out the next book, but I also used Kindle Select to good effect. Now that I have a modest body of work, I think it may be worth my time and money to try selective advertising. Elle Lothlorien, who made it to Amazon’s top 100 with THE FROG PRINCE has used Book Bub, for instance.
I like your book title! Goodness knows, we writers need to stand up and do something besides click keys now and then!
Thanks Frankie. I have respect for all indie authors. Paula shares her information often, and now you. I think the task is daunting. You have to do all the marketing on your own. I am still writing, and thinking about the future. Which way, pitch or print?
I hope what I have to say here and in BLAZING A TRAIL is helpful to your decision making process. You are quite correct, self-publishing isn’t for the faint of heart, but then, neither is pitching and submitting to agents and editors. Whichever way you go, or even if you decide to do both, have fun with it! Life is short.
Thanks, Frankie. Good luck with your career.
Paula is a gem. She shared so much with which made it possible to publish my indie story.
Thank you, and congratulations on publishing your story! I can’t wait to rummage through your blog’s archives to read what Paula has shared. I’m sure I’ll learn something. That’s one of the few absolute truths of self-publishing: no one knows it all, and we’re all constantly learning (or should be).
Frankie, I tried responding once, but had to go reset my password. We’ll see if I can post now. Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned through making the trek in the world of self publishing yourself. The book will be helpful to a lot of people starting the same journey. roz
Thanks, Roz! I’m glad you kept trying until you got through. 🙂 I hope BLAZING A TRAIL does help. I remember when I started I wasn’t sure where to start.
Hi Frankie! Thanks for being our guest today. What I really liked about your book (besides all the good advice and awesome interviews with other authors) was that you addressed the whole emotional aspect to indie pubbing. I’m finding that even if you go with a smaller digital press, that you are still considered, by some, to be unpublished. I won’t deny that the old attittude (that you’re only a real author if you’re traditionally published) kind of drives me crazy!
“the old attittude (that you’re only a real author if you’re traditionally published) kind of drives me crazy!”
Don’t get me started! We just can’t listen to those people. First, they don’t know what they’re talking about. (Unfortunately, they don’t know how ignorant they are.) Second, we define ourselves. It’s hard sometimes, to not listen to the naysayers because they shout so loud, but we can’t let them determine our value.
Casey, thank you again for inviting me to guest blog and share some of my own secrets. It’s been a pleasure!
Welcome, Frankie! Glad to have you here at the Scribes. I, too am working on the next couple books before I market like crazy, but I’m working my way up to getting excited about it. Not quite there yet. 🙂
Thanks! It’s been fun guesting here. Yep, it’s kinda hard to get excited about marketing. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for techniques that actually work. I want to do as little marketing as possible, so it had better be effective!