Sunday, August 21, 2011

Define your goals (SPJA)

When I first decided to self-publish the Hal Junior series my intention was to be as low key as possible. Edit and polish the book, give it a suitable cover, register the ISBN and make it available on Kindle and in print editions.  I was thinking Createspace for the paperbacks, which limited distribution to the US, and I had some vague ideas about looking for POD companies in the UK and eventually, Australia.

In the meantime I was planning to ship 50 or 100 copies from Createspace (US) to Perth, and thanks to the high Aussie dollar it was pretty cost effective.

Then I got an email from friend and local small press publisher, T. (hey T!). I'd emailed about order forms - the wholesale ones you send to bookstores and libraries and so on - and mentioned I was thinking of shipping in a few copies. T suggested I look at Lightning Source International. What was the first thing I saw when I opened the LSI web page? We just opened an Australian office - with local printing.

That's when I wrote to the publishers sitting on my Hal Junior subs, asking them to hit the delete button. It's also the point where my 'low key' plan went straight out the window.

As long as you register an ISBN, LSI books are available to every library, bookstore and school in most countries worldwide. It's POD, so they're not stocked anywhere - I won't be doing book signings at local stores, for example - but LSI's prices, and the way they allow publishers to set the trade discount, give me global reach at a very competitive price.

I can sell Hal Jnr in Australia for $11.95 and pocket five to ten times the usual trade royalties. Most kids' books sell for $14.95 and up here.  If I sell 500 copies, that's the same income as 5000 through a major publisher ... plus I'll never go out of print. And finally, there's the ebook editions as layer of cream on top of a very nice cake. No lie!

With all this rather good news pouring in, 'low key' just didn't cut it. I got serious about editing and cover art (more on these in later blogs)

I've also been reaching out to Junior Fic/Middle Grade bloggers, reviewers & teacher librarians, promising future review copies and/or guest posts as applicable. If you fit these categories (or promote Junior/Middle Grade spec fiction in any way) please leave a comment or contact me.

So that 'Define your goals' part ... what are you trying to achieve by self-publishing your work? Low key release or all-out assault on the market?

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

No comments: