Sunday, February 10, 2013
Over the past two weeks I have on separate occasions held my breath and plunged into the deep end of the ocean that is self-publishing. Having learned a long time ago that there is fierce competition for recognition in the world of book publishing, I feel even more overwhelmed now that we have millions of self-published books in cyberspace. How does one achieve visibility for his books in such an over-saturated environment? Like any amateur, I've decided that I will achieve success in the world of ebook publishing by experimenting, making mistakes and good luck. On the 28th of January, last month, I published The Congressman at Smashwords. For a week after that, nothing happened. No downloads. Nothing. I had taken wise people's advice and priced my book at the "base" price of $0. 99 but no one wanted to take a peek at the book. Five days later I published my second book at Smashwords, Dust In The Wind, a book I consider to be one of my best works of fiction. No one touched it. I was beginning to dispair that my dreams of being a published author were fruitless. To me, it's pointless to write a great story and upload it onto a large database of books only for it to rot there and not be read by anyone. I have to admit that I have approached this ebook publishing business with a fair level of pragmatism: very few people are willing to spend their hard-earned money on an untried and untested author. It was this sort of level-headedness that made me decide to publish my third book at Smashwords, Mind Blizzards, on the 8th of this month (February) and set the price at $0.00. Imagine my surprise when hours later I discovered that 10 copies of that book had been downloaded. An hour later the number had risen to 16, and by the following day Mind Blizzards had been downloaded 25 times! No financial gain for me, but a great investment in my future work because 25 people have read my book. If each one of those people tells 10 other people that they read a story by M.N Providence and those people get interested, it means I have 250 potential readers in my pocket, and slowly but surely my readership builds! Having said that, I cannot understand why people took a keen interest on Mind Blizzards, while neglecting the other two novels I had published earlier, and which, incidentally, I have since re-set as free ebooks. I do strongly suspect that the title of the book had something to do with it, because on the weekend that I published the book, the northeastern parts of the US were battered by a blizzard! I guess being successful in e-book publishing in this digital age depends very much on good story-telling, ingenuity, as well as that very rare cosmic commodity: good luck.