Tips for Self-Publishing

Posted by on Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 in Self-Publishing

I loved the original title of my blog … Books, Marketing & Self-Promotion (which was moved to this location in Nov. 2011). I wanted to continue to use it here but it was simply too long. So, henceforth, this will be know as “Tips for Self-Publishing.” I’ve moved many of my original blog pages here as the content remains virtually the same in the book publishing industry, however, I have updated them where necessary. There will be more to come and I will try to keep my posts short, but hey, I’m a fiction writer and detail is my specialty that’s why my husband and I work so well together!!

If you’ve arrived here and this is the first page you have read … this website is a series of blogs by moi, author, Joyce Sandilands, a Canadian-born author from the lovely Pacific Northwest and Victoria, British Columbia. This website/blog is all about my own SELF-PUBLISHING experience with my husband, Robert (Bob) Whittle.

Robert (he will be 80 in 2013) and I began our book writing journey in Aug. 1998 when I decided I simply had to publish the 3rd novel he had written during a 3 1/2 year health crisis. The book was titled, Lizzie : Lethal Innocence. Suddenly thrust into the unknown world of (self) publishing, I grasped all the experience I could muster from a collection of  jobs over the years and, life experience of my past 50+ years, then set out to introduce what I thought was an amazing work of literature to a local audience. With me editing, as well as organizing the publishing and marketing of  Lizzie on a shoestring, I set Robert loose on his early morning Timmy’s coffee mates armed with a supply of our newly published book and eagerly waited to see what would happen. We also got accepted into local bookstores, something many self-published authors soon found difficult to achieve.

Incidentally, writer Robert was now known as author* J. Robert Whittle  (J stands for John).

Within 2 weeks, with the help of the books he had sold and comments from our first readers, he gained a lot more confidence in his new talent and began to talk to anyone he came near. It did not take long for word to spread. I should point out that ‘confidence’ had been Robert’s middle name since a youngster but writing had never been in his vocabulary prior to this! Four weeks later at Christmas, we were pretty sure we had a winner (whatever that meant) and by March, having sold 500 copies, we printed another 2000 copies. That summer we began selling this book from our market table at James Bay Farmer’s Market, never having heard of any writer/author of a novel having done this anywhere before and many international visitors told us so!

*  we were aware of the controversy that self-published authors were not ‘real’ authors in the eyes of ‘professional’ publishers and discerning readers, so at first we never referred to Robert as an author even though his name was on the cover. Today that situation re using the term ‘author’ has changed, even though the controversy is still present in some circles.

Surprisingly, sales continued miraculously and slowly, one customer at a time … in person! Once we realized how much readers love to meet authors (and especially my husband, judging by the women purchasing his book), we simply gave them what they wanted! He had quickly become a new author  and was soon known by readers in many corners of the world thanks to our city’s tourist appeal! Within two years, we had begun selling at other craft venues as well and Lizzie was Robert’s first of 3 Canadian Bestsellers. I should add that his name became larger on the book cover when it was reprinted!

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So, this blog is firstly about me and how I persuaded my husband to write a book, and how my husband, even while fighting for his life, began this new hobby of writing.  And how we turned our labour of love for Lizzie into a successful mini-publishing business over 13 years (so far). We now have 12 novels, 3 bestsellers, 2 IPPY Gold winners, and several self-narrated audio products. We began as raw amateurs with no knowledge, but lots of enthusiasm … and we believed in that little book (at least I did)!

I hope, through this blog, to be able to make your journey of manoeuvering through the complicated world of self-publishing or indie-publishing, as it is now trying to be called (in an effort to give it some class!), a bit easier for YOU.  If I can do this with my limited experience, lack of confidence and advancing age, you can too!!