Read The First 3 Chapters Free!

Day One

So, it’s Day One of the rest of my life. Yes, I know that’s a hackneyed phrase, for which I beg your indulgence. Nonetheless, I hope that one day I’ll be able to look back on this part of my life and be able to divide it into two periods: pre-publication and post-publication.

The print versions of the first two books of The Ravenstones became available on Amazon on May 26, thanks to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). More importantly, I have my first buyer. She texted me a photo last night to prove it: the entire family holding the print version (I guess she could hardly be holding the ebook!). That was so sweet of her. Perhaps I should get every buyer to do this. It would make for a great collection — I could print out the pictures and mount them on the wall.

Looking forward to reading it!

So now what? 

Getting to this point may have been fun (at least, the writing and editing part) but the actual publishing process is not easy. I’ve had to learn about things that are not my forte — Amazon’s publishing system (not a slam dunk), book marketing, a launch plan, getting reviews, blogging, maximizing my presence online, connecting to Goodreads, etc. Many of these aspects of the publishing process are neither free nor quickly done. There’s no button I can press to make it all happen while I sleep. The help and expertise of others are required; precious time must be devoted to learning about and producing relevant material; money must flow out the door … 

Although KDP is remarkable and heaven-sent for the independent writer/publisher, I’ve discovered (the hard way) that it’s by no means foolproof. The terminology used and the explanations provided by Amazon are not always easy for newbies to understand. There are many questions to answer and options to choose during the process. 

I made an error when entering my details (misunderstanding the meaning of “imprint”). To fix it required unpublishing the print version, finding a new ISBN, editing the book’s copyright page, recreating the book for uploading, and republishing. And I had to do so twice, because two books were involved. I also misunderstood the publication date for the print version. I assumed that the dates for both the ebook and print versions would be the same — in several weeks’ time. The next thing I knew, the print version was already available (perhaps that’s just as well).

In spite of my own miscues, clearly many others have figured out the Amazon process over the past twenty-plus years of its existence. It’s a force to be reckoned with, and once you’re up and running, it does exactly what’s required: publish books for a fair price and get them into the hands of eager readers. So let’s just call it a learning curve. The next time — for Book 3, Olwen and Eisa, in about three months’ time — and if I remember where I went wrong, things should go a lot easier.

Whatever the case, I’m thrilled with how the books look online. The cover art is terrific, the sale page looks exactly as I’d imagined, and the books stand out on the page. Let’s hope prospective readers feel the same.

So, getting back to my question, now what do I do?

It is said that prospective readers require confirmation from other readers, so I must seek out reviews and recommendations to post on the Amazon sales site. Amazon has a protocol for this: although I can solicit reviews, I cannot buy them. 

I need to maximize my online profile. Make use of my Facebook and Twitter accounts to tell my new readers what’s happening. Branch out into Instagram and Pinterest (yet more content!). My website (theravenstones.com) needs updating. I need to start blogging to generate direct email contacts so I don’t have to rely on an intermediary.

And that brings me to this point. If you’re reading this post, you may already be a devoted fan. Perhaps you’re not yet hooked on my books but are interested in what I may say in the days to come. Or maybe you’re simply curious — you’re keeping your options open but have a few minutes to spare in your busy life and have decided to come along for the ride.

Whatever type of reader you are, let me welcome you to Day One — the first day of the rest of our lives together!

4 Comments

  1. Maureen Donlevy says:

    Congratulations Chris! I look forward to reading the first two books and also learning more about all you have been learning! Some accomplishment my friend!

    1. Chris Watts says:

      Maureen
      Thanks so much for the congratulations. You’re the first person to comment! (Yet another historical moment!) Hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. Looking forward to your comments in the days to come.

  2. Mike Buckley says:

    Congratulations Chris! I’ve just placed my order for the first two books and can’t wait to read them. The cover illustrations look wonderful as well.

    1. Chris Watts says:

      Thanks, Mike. I really appreciate your support. Hope you enjoy reading the series as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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