Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Experiences as an E-Published Author

Being an E-Published author has been a learning experience for me. It’s been exciting, but also a challenge to keep up with everything. I had no idea what being e-published or in print would mean to my life. It has changed my existence. I learned there’s much more to being a writer than writing, there is promotion. In my contract there was a clause that required me to do a certain amount of promoting my books on-line.

It’s not easy to get your name as a novelist out there, or to find a following for your stories. It takes time from your writing, and a lot of hard work. To become known and to get people to read your book you have to promote them and yourself. I started by building a website with a front page telling a bit about the genre I wrote. Then I put in a picture and a bio about me, posted covers of my books along with blurbs and excerpts about my stories, a links page to other authors, and a contact page.

Next, I started a blog, where I write and post articles once a week. A bunch of authors asked me to join their blog and post an article there once a month. This is all done to market ourselves. Then I had to join Yahoo loops with readers and other writers to let them know about my website, blogs and to post blurbs and excerpts to interest them in reading my books. I joined in chats and did interviews on sites for readers. All of this is time consuming.

There are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be done. I try to write thirty minutes to two hours a day, which can mean anywhere from one page to four pages a day. If I can get more time meaning more pages written, then I’m thrilled.
Often times my routine is interrupted by normal events and people around me. It’s hard to make people realize that this career is not an eight hour job, but twelve to fourteen.

My first two titles, The Catalyst and Addiction, were released by Forbidden Publications in late 2008. In six months my publisher closed due to health issues, and I made a whopping $33.99 on my digital sales. I decided to self-print The Catalyst as a print on demand book, and I have yet to make the money I invested back. Every penny, I’ve gotten for those books have been sunk into advertising material such as business cards, post cards, book marks, etc.

E-publishing has had a stigma on it for many years, but it’s about to come out of that phase as more readers are buying books and magazines digitally. Many authors have used e-publishing as a stepping stone to a New York Publisher, then decided they want to be in both, or even just stay in digital.

What would I do if I had the chance to go to NY? I’ll be happy staying with my new publisher because I believe they will be one of the forerunners in this business. They will also be willing to help those authors who want to go to NY.

As hard as the work is, I can think of no job I would rather have. There are people asking me when my next book will be out, and they are saying they can’t wait to read it. This makes me want to work faster and get more books out there. I can hardly wait to hear what they say about Addiction when it’s released November 6, 2009 from Eirelander Publishing.

Thank you, and I'll see you next month.

Sandra K. Marshall


Diana Castilleja said...

It’s hard to make people realize that this career is not an eight hour job, but twelve to fourteen.

OMG! No kidding! I'm usually at it from the time the man leaves for work a little after seven until ten, twelve, one in the morning.

Writing, regardless of how, is a time consuming career.

At least it keeps me out of the malls, right? LOL

Rebecca Royce said...

Promotion takes so much time its ridiculous. I have learned so much reading your blog today. Thanks Sandra.

J Hali said...

Sandy, what a great blog - and so true! I sometimes feel like I'm in advertisement and promotions instead of being an author. I hope each day as I make my trek around the internet highway that it's worth it. My dream is to one day pay someone else to do this part! LOL

So, to make more money, I'd better get a move on it and put some words to paper.

Sandy said...

Hey, Diana, you're so right, but who wants to be in a mall? lol

This job is not for the faint at heart.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sandy said...

Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca.

I appreciate your comment.

Sandy said...

LOL Joann, that's what I'm hoping for, too. Someone to be my publicist, clean my house, type my words while I talk into a recorder.

Yep, I want to be Nora Roberts. Grin.

Thanks for coming by, Joann.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Geez, promotions are a necessary evil. So much time for who knows what payoff. Is anyone listening out there? Do you even know who I am? LOL

I'd rather write.

These are things no one tells you about when you begin the writing trek. :-)

Paris said...

I'd rather write than promote but it's a necessary evil in this business! The trick is figuring out how much time to devote to each. You have to have something to promote before you can promote it!

Sandy said...


I am with you, I would rather write.

Thanks for coming by.

Sandy said...

Paris, you're so right. We have to write in order to have something to promote. lol

Thanks for your comment.

K.T. Bishop said...

I know Ebook's all the rage. I still want a printed one. Just to have one in my arms.... You made great points

Sandy said...

Hi K.T.

Yes, I want one to hold in my hands, too. You're right Ebooks are all the rage and will be for a long time because of the new generation.

Thanks for coming by, K.T.

EmilyBryan said...

Self-promotion is the toughest thing about being an author. I was raised in the Midwest where tooting one's own horn was considered terribly gauche. I cringe at the need to push myself forward.

Fortunately, I've discovered that I love to blog. I'm just out there on the web making friends and if I sell a book in the process, that's gravy. I think the key is finding a type of promo that feels natural to you.

Good luck, Sandy!

Emily Bryan

Sandy said...


I agree with you. I'm a Midwestern, too. Fortunately, I did work in business for many years, so I know the ropes when it comes to self-promotion.

Thanks for stopping by, Emily.

Carol Ericson said...

Sandy, promo takes up so much time, and I'm not sure it's worth it. I think it is good for pure name recognition. Faced with six Intrigues for the month and budget to buy just two, perhaps a reader will pick up mine because she recognized my name from some blog or chat. Dunno. However, it seems to me that it's mostly other romance writers and not necessarily readers who are reading and posting on most of these blogs. Now, of course, writers are also readers, but we all have our friends' books we want to buy or read first. So I'm just not sure how promo translates into sales. Given the choice between promo and writing, I'll write the good book.

Anonymous said...

Your work ethic doesn't surprise me after knowing you for so many years.
One of the reason I want you to sign MY copy of your book is because I have seen you grow from a very naive young woman to a very mature, confident, accomplished woman. How many people can say THAT about an author?

gemjudson said...

Hi Sandy:
Does all this internet "face time" make a difference? No way to know... I know I'm not the only full time mom, full time employee trying squeeze and hour or two to write every day. When given those precious minutes, I need to work on writing.

Sandy said...

Carol, there is no way to know how much all of our promotion is going to help us sell our books. Getting our name out there and having someone read our book is all we can hope for. If one person reads my book and likes it they'll remember my name. Word of mouth is what will really sell our books.

Thanks for stopping by Carol. An interesting comment.

Sandy said...

What a nice surprise Turp. That's true not many can say that about an author.

Thank you for the kind words.


Sandy said...


I did a ton of promoting my first book,The Catalyst, before and after it came out. It may have helped some. There is just no way to tell how much.

I want to get my wip done, so it can go to print next year. I've got to do it. That means I will do most of my promo in between writing.

Thanks for stopping by, Gem.

lainey bancroft said...

Nice, honest post, Sandy. Well done.

I think a lot of newbie authors have the 'stars in the eyes, if I write it, they will come' delusion. Not so. While erotica is well established in digital, more mainstream fiction and romance is still struggling to find a foothold.

Like others mentioned, writing my next release always comes first. I watch my web time carefully and don't invest a great deal of it in the 'chats' which I've found mostly amount to 'preaching to the choir' Yes, authors read, but it is READERS we need to source out!

Good luck with the new publisher!

Sandy said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lainey.

You're right about novels are having a difficult time going digital. Short stories as well as erotica are more the norm.

Once the e-readers sell for $30 or $40.00 you'll see an explosion in digital sells.

It's more important to write than spend time on chats and the like.

Thanks again, Lainey.