A couple of years ago, I queried over 50 literary agents for my novel, Rumpel, a dark and quirky retelling of the Brothers Grimm Rumpelstiltskin. I received numerous requests for partials or the full manuscript. Although I received encouraging and positive feedback, in the end, the consensus was that these agents just didn't think they could place it with a traditional publisher.
I had almost given up on finding an agent when I received an email from the now deceased Manie Barron with the Menza-Barron Literary Agency. He wanted to talk to me about Rumpel. I was delighted but given the feedback I had received from all of the other agents, I was cautiously optimistic.
We talked the next day and after I went on and on about my reasons for writing Rumpel, he interrupted me and said, "I haven't been able to stop thinking about Rumpel. It's a weird book. I'm weird. I think it deserves a chance to be seen. All we need is one weird editor."
I replied, "I'm weird too." And that was that.
Rumpel now had the support of an agent who believed in me and my work. Unfortunately, we never found that one weird editor willing to take a chance on Rumpel. The consensus was that Rumpel was "too weird" and "out there."
I thought long and hard about what to do with Rumpel. Let it sit on my hard drive and collect dust or self-publish it as an eBook and let readers decided its fate? I chose the latter.
On August 21, 2010, one day before my birthday, I uploaded Rumpel to Amazon Kindle. One month later, I published it on Smashwords.
Self-publishing isn't for the thin-skinned. For all intents and purposes, you are on your own, making all the decisions from cover design to editing to pricing. The freedom is both exhilarating and daunting.
I decided that if I was going to self-publish, well, I was going to give it my all. That meant listening to reader feedback, really listening. And listened, I did. When one reader pointed out a flaw in the timeline in the early chapters of Rumpel, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work on correcting my mistakes. I am extremely thankful to that reader.
I am planning on hiring an editor soon to help me catch any other mistakes I may have missed. I worked with a graphic designer on a new cover. And of course, I'm continuing to write and hone my craft.
When I decided to self-publish, I promised myself that I would share my experience with others who are considering self-publishing. Often times, you only hear about the writers who are making thousands or millions of dollars in sales from their self-published eBooks. What you don't hear about is that for many writers, gaining a readership is a slow-going process which requires patience and a lot of work.
I'm not shy about sharing Rumpel's sales numbers. I'm extremely grateful and thankful to the people who have taken a chance on me and have purchased Rumpel. Rumpel is being read and well, as a writer, that's all that really matters to me. Here's a special shout-out to readers!
For the curious, here are my sales numbers for Rumpel:
Amazon Kindle @2.99 per unit:
August 2010: 10 copies sold September 2010: 0 copies sold October 2010: 4 copies sold November 2010: 0 copies. December 2010: 4 copies sold January 2011: 4 copies sold
In February 2011, I dropped the price to .99 cents.
February 2011: 21 copies sold March 2011: 19 copies sold
Total Copies Sold Via Smashwords Smashwords: 24 Barnes and Noble: 3 Sony: 1
Rumpel is slowly gaining momentum and I couldn't be happier. I'm excited and looking forward to what's next for me as a writer whether it's another self-published eBook or well, you never know, perhaps a traditionally published book is in my future. I would also like to mention that Rumpel is now the first in a series of fairytale retellings on which I am working. The series is titled, Cursed Tales.
If you're considering eBook self-publishing, here are some tips:
1). Hone your craft. Put in the work. That means, writing, editing, and working with a critique partner who can give you honest feedback about what you may need to improve before your novel is ready for publication.
2). Get validation on your work, other than from your friends and family. Publish excerpts or short stories in literary journals.
3). Once you have self-published, be prepared to market your eBook. Contact bloggers and ask them if they will consider reviewing your eBook, use social media to help spread the word about your eBook, and launch promotions or giveaways.
4). If you find mistakes after self-publishing on Amazon Kindle or Smashwords, correct your mistakes and upload a new version. Don't just ignore the mistakes. Correct them.
5). Experiment with pricing. Drop your price and see how the new price affects sales. If sales increase for a consistent amount of time, you are probably on the right track with pricing.
6). Be patient. Enjoy the process and don't take yourself too seriously!
Eileen Cruz Coleman may be contacted at http://www.amazon.com/Rumpel-ebook/dp/B00408ASDW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301846176&sr=8-1
Ever wonder why Rumpelstiltskin wanted a baby? Ever wonder how he could spin straw into gold? To get your copy of Rumpel, a retelling of the Brothers Grimm Rumpelstiltskin visit: Get Rumpel! Make Some Rumpel Noise and Win a Kindle!