Tuesday, July 3, 2018

An Indie Publishing Experience (KaLyn)

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” 
- Winston S. Churchill

Digging deep into the wealth of knowledge on writing and publishing is enough to make your head spin. But it’s equally amazing how understanding grows, even when you’re sure you just took two steps back.

Last fall, I published The Warehouse Tour, a short sci-fi horror story for teens, with a minuscule budget and no prior publishing experience. Then in May, after having the opportunity to work with a professional editor and apply some of the things I'd learned in the previous months, I released a revised edition of The Warehouse Tour.

Why would I put so much time and effort into a YA sci-fi horror short? Because I learned valuable lessons about marketing, publishing, and myself as a writer. To me, it was like taking the money I might have spent on a course or a one-day conference and instead applying it to learning through first-hand experience.

Since I'm still very young in my journey, but I hope by sharing my experiences with you that you will feel comfortable sharing your experiences with me.

Round One

Cost: Under $30 plus a lot of time and effort
Outsourcing: None
Ads: Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon
Promotions (not including social media): A blog interview and a multi-author giveaway

In the first round, I balanced my time appropriately between crafting the e-book and researching marketing options. However, I failed to get the most out of my budget and utilize all the opportunities available to me because of inexperience and a lack of confidence (otherwise known as fear).

Round One and Half

Cost: A few minutes to create an account and fill out a form to request a review
Promotions (not including social media): Readers’ Favorite four-star review that included in a listing of their website and inclusion in their newsletter.

Submitting a free review request to Readers’ Favorite was one of the smartest promotion decisions I made in the entire process. It didn’t cost anything but a few minutes of time and a little patience while waiting for the review to be completed. In the end, I gained additional exposure through their website and newsletter, an editorial review snippet for use on Amazon, book covers, and in media kits, and it was news worth sharing on social media. Plus, getting a four-star review from a professional reviewer boosted my confidence and motivated me to get in the ring for round two.

Round Two

Cost: Under $200 plus a lot of time and effort
Outsourcing: Editing
Ads: YouTube
Promotions (not including social media): A newsletter feature that included an interview, book detail page listings on BookLife and BookBub,

For round two, I hired a fantastic editor, created a new cover, put together a book trailer, refreshed my blurb, and formatted a print version. I also submitted book review requests to a couple of professional review sites and a few book bloggers. I allocated my time and budget much better in this round.

Working with a professional editor made a huge difference. The story is 30% longer, offers a better reading experience, and, as a result, for the first time, I received some very kind and encouraging words from a reader who reached out to me through one of my social media profiles.


The foundation to publishing a book starts with the finished book itself, which includes the title, cover, book blurb, file formatting, and editing. These items all affect the success of a book more than marketing and promotions.

Don’t get me wrong. Marketing is an important part. A great book can get lost in obscurity without some form of marketing. It does happen. But a lack of marketing is easier to overcome.

Next Time, I’ll allocate the majority of my budget towards outsourcing editing and cover design and focus my time on formatting, copywriting, submitting to reviewers and bloggers in advance, and investigating other free promotion opportunities. If I do have a little room in my budget for ads, I’ll focus on Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon.

While I didn’t discuss it here, the title plays a vital role in both the discoverability of a book and it’s marketing. It’s another detail that I’ll be paying more attention to in the future.

What would entice you to look beyond the outside of a book? How do you discover new reads?


  1. Great post, Kalyn, and congrats on the book! I learned a lot through my first indie publishing experience and later re-released it with a new cover and title. I need to ask more book reviews to review it. Thanks for reminding me of that!


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