Faerie Blood, Publishing

Experiences with self-pub so far

So now that I’ve put Faerie Blood out on three different self-publishing platforms, I thought I’d take a moment to do a summary post of my experiences with those platforms so far. Granted, this is only across a week or so, but it’s at least enough to give me an initial impression. And I figured it’d be nice to share that with y’all so you can get an idea of what self-pubbing is like.

I’ve put the book out on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Apple iTunes store so far. Here are my thoughts on each in a few different areas:

Speed of book deployment: Amazon wins here, with their promise of roughly a 12-hour window between when you deploy your book and when it shows up on the site. This is not entirely accurate; while my book did start showing up on Amazon sites around the end of that twelve hours, it started showing up on the sites in the Eurozone first (i.e., DE, ES, FR, and IT). It took until the next day before the book had fully deployed to the US and UK stores, and the next day before that before pricing information was available in Canada.

That said? Actually going through Amazon’s process of book deployment was still fastest. Barnes and Noble took a few days before they even approved my account for posting content. Apple took nearly a week for similar approval. Once I was actually cleared to post content to B&N, that did take only about a 24-hour turnaround time, but there was that buffer of approval time first. Ditto for Apple; once I was cleared with them, I had to go through another day or so before my book cleared “quality assurance” and went live on the four iBooks sites I deployed it to.

Ease of book deployment: Amazon and B&N are tied here. I’d already generated MOBI and EPUB files for my Kickstarter backers, so it was pretty much just a question of uploading each to the respective platforms. Amazon gets points for providing a Kindle simulator to let you sanity check how your book will look on different devices–that’s super-helpful. But both Amazon and B&N basically let me upload to them with only minimal conversion.

Apple by comparison was more difficult. For one thing, there’s an added layer of complexity with how you’re required to download a whole extra app in order to prepare your book for deployment to the iTunes store; Amazon and B&N have UI to do that right on their sites. For another, once I actually pulled down the app, it wouldn’t take the EPUB I’d already prepared and threw me several mysterious error messages. I had to Google to figure out why it was complaining, and eventually discovered that Calibre treated my blockquotes on the very first page of the book in a non-standard way. B&N didn’t care about this, but Apple did. Fixing the problem was easy–but finding the solution took some work. It didn’t help that the error messages were entirely non-intuitive, and that I had to spend some time debugging the EPUB file in a third program, the EPUB editor Sigil.

Ease of use of self-pub login: Amazon and B&N are tied for me here too. Both have very clean, very straightforward sites for self-pub authors to log into, and it’s very easy to find the data Most Relevant to Your Interests, i.e., how many books have you sold and how much money are you due? Apple’s site strikes me as cluttered and overly complex in comparison, to levels I historically have seen only out of Microsoft.

Actual sales: And now for that data that is, indeed, Most Relevant to My Interests. Amazon, with ten sales for me on the US site and one on the ES, is the clear winner here. For the small portion of June 2012 I’ve been live, this means I’ve made $39.45 in royalties from the US site and €3.28 from the ES one, which is about $4.15 in USD right now. So that gives me a total of $43.60 or so I’ll be expecting out of Amazon in 60 days.

Barnes and Noble has given me three sales so far, for a total due of $11.67. Again, I should see that in 60 days.

Nothing out of Apple yet.

So that means I should be seeing $55.27 at some point in September. Which is not a terribly impressive number by itself, but given that the book’s only been live for a week and that I’ve done minimal promotion on it, that’s not bad, I think! I could go out to sushi on that, or start the Buy Anna a Real Irish Flute Fund. 😀 Or maybe the Buy Anna a Macbook Air Fund. I dunno yet. Regardless, it’ll eventually buy me something shiny!

It’ll be interesting to see how the numbers behave the longer Faerie Blood is live, and what happens as well once I deploy Bone Walker and the other, shorter pieces involved with the Kickstarter.

Any questions? Anybody else out there want to share their self-pub experiences? Do so in the comments!

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