My Disasterous Journey With Self-Publishing

I was 18 and totally unrealistic. In May of 2012, one of my completed Wattpad stories, Hype, had somehow jumped to the number 2 slot of the site’s “Spiritual” category.

The book, which showed the struggles of high-school senior Freya, a sheltered student who had attended a small Christian school since pre-k, as she was expelled and then forced to spend the last few months of her high school career in *gasp* public school. Of course, she learns that it wasn’t like she was taught (drugs everywhere, violence, etc.) and blah blah blah.

Hype was receiving 700 reads a day. When it hit 12,000, I removed it from the site to take the next step. I was going to self publish, make money, and rise to fame.

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I spent 2 months editing, and drew that snazzy cover (above). When I started using Amazon KDP, I priced the book at $2.99 and uploaded it. I was proud. I felt accomplished and thrilled. All my friends, 80 Wattpad followers, family, and even some strangers would buy it too, right? Not at all.

It broke my heart when I got the common, “Amazon? But I only have a Nook!” Or “I’d buy it now, but I’ve got an Amazon giftcard that I can’t find and I really want to use instead of my credit card.” Or the ” Sure! Of course I’ll buy it!” And then never seeing the sale occur.

After two months and only 1 sale, I removed Hype and put it back on Wattpad. It has since received 20,000 reads.

With more friends, 760 Wattpad followers, a whole network of people in a sorority of 100, 130 Twitter followers, and now this tiny blog, I would like to try again. Maybe a better cover and a lower price would actually bring me to my goal of 10 sales.

7 Comments

  1. Oh, gosh, I’m so sorry about your experience. But definitely don’t give up. You have the drive and dedication to finish an actual book, and it’s something you should be proud of. BTW, if you’re thinking of re-releasing the book, stay away from the $1.99 price. It’s known in the self-pub market to be the Dead Zone of pricing. I don’t know why readers avoid that price point, but that’s apparently the case. That said, the best of luck to you and your future publishing efforts! 🙂

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  2. I’m completely new to this, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt. The research I’ve done, and by research, I mean just basically reading claims by successful self publishers, is that the first couple of novels just gets your name out there, and then your later novels make you money. It’s a volume/numbers game. That’s my long winded way of saying try writing another novel!

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  3. I’m no expert and I’m not familiar with Wattpad, but I think I’d leave the book on Wattpad as you are getting the visibility/reads. If possible with the Wattpad rules I would also load it up on Amazon as cheap as possible and use it to increase your audience, then put your next book on Amazon for a higher price. When you set up your Amazon author page you may be able to add a link that goes to your Wattpad book/reviews. I’m sure you can bounce off your reviews/publicity from the Wattpad platform somehow to create sales on Amazon. But then, as I said, I’m not familiar with Wattpad and it may not have functionality for reviews, etc…

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