Deciding When to Publish SHIPBUILDER

I promised to talk about the experience of self-publishing as the process unfolds. I realize that I could simply format my manuscript and slap it up on Smashwords or Amazon, and be done with it, especially once I’ve got an ebook cover. It might take, at most, a few hours.

That’s never been my plan. For one thing, SHIPBUILDER is aimed partly at a niche group – people interested in the Titanic – and a specific event – the hundredth anniversary of her sinking. That date is April 14-15, 2012. I think is simply too soon to put the book out there.

I will publish the book in September. That’s still pretty early, but I have a few reasons for choosing it. One is that it seems to take ebooks about six months to hit their stride in sales. If the book is out in September, that gives me lots of time to get the word out, and more importantly, for readers to get the word out. Word of mouth sells more books than anything else, I think. I want to have time for that to build.

Also, lots of people will be putting out Titanic related items because of the centenary. If mine is out there early, it won’t get lost in the avalanche.

Another reason – a big one – is that I just can’t make myself “use” the hundredth anniversary as a marketing ploy. To be honest, I know that it is a ploy, and I am using it. But as much as possible, I want to avoid a blatant, hyper campaign to plug my book at that time. By April, it will already have been available for several months. Most of my “Hey! Look at my book!” shoutouts will be over with. The anniversary can be accorded the respect it deserves as people honor those who died, and reflect on what was, and has been, accomplished as a result of Titanic’s existence.

So, September seems like a reasonable time to publish. It also allows me to not rush things. I have a lot to learn if I’m going to do this the right way. I’m doing a lot of research, combined with panic about things like taxes and international selling rights, as in, do I need permission from “some governmental body” to sell my book in England and Ireland? Or on the cruise ship?

Do you know the hardest part is finding out who to ask? I’m still working on that.



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