While I have always loved writing, my writing was usually work-related. I have written and designed newsletters, user manuals, news articles, press releases, letters-to-the-editor, essays, resumes, business cards, and stationery, and a movie review blog.
I had a stash of fiction stories in various stages of development, but, I never planned on publishing my fiction. Then, in 2011, when I found myself with a whole lot of time on my hands, I decided to jump in and publish one of my fiction stories, Gina's Dream.
What a trip this has been. Two and a half years in writing, researching, editing and negotiating with an editor and a book cover artist. Plus, I had to learn the publishing software for Smashwords, Library of Congress's copyright software as well as setup a website and blog. I think there were at least four other software packages in the mix.
Then I pushed the button on Smashwords and published Gina's Dream as an eBook October 2013.
Then, I went straight into marketing and promotion.
While I struggle to "find my audience", I had some wonderful adventures during my research. I wrote an article about writing for Boomer Cafe and also interviewed an amazing author, Antoinette G. Lane, who wrote a biography of Guy Williams, an actor best known for starring as Zorro for Disney's TV show in the 1950s.
A suggestion many marketing columns and books suggested is 'offer something free.'
So, I dragged out an old cookbook I started and worked to created an eCookbook. That process is a whole other story but I published it on Smashwords and on Amazon, another software package and TOS to learn.
The eCookbook, Recipes from the Kitchen from a Frugal Non-Cook was very popular when it was free. When I put a price on it, $1.99, most of that interest faded.
I joined several forums, including Smashwords Writers Forum, and met more fascinating people, including an author of erotica. I setup a Twitter account and tried to learn how to approach that media. One major downfall was I fell into a Twitter hole for weeks. Already addicted to print, Twitter is a whole new addiction.
Because several people wanted Gina's Dream in print form, I made the decision to get Gina's Dream translated into Spanish and get a POD as a "dual book." I got lucky. I met a wonderful woman, Ilena, who translated Gina's Dream for a price within my budget.
Now, I had self-published an eBook and a eCookbook on two venues.
This time I choose a small publisher, The Write Place, to get a "dual book" POD and eBook of Gina's Dream/El Sueño de Gina. I was lucky. Things went pretty smoothly, just a few minor changes. The process is in the final stages, hoping to offer a pre-release promotion soon.
I won't list all my expenses but it would probably take 100 years to recoup my costs at the current rate of sales.
The research continues. Marketing never ends.
This has been a major learning experience and one I will never regret.