Adventures in Self-Publishing for the First Time

I have the key to success in self-publishing. Shit, I wish.

After weighing my options for several years now, I’ve decided to go down the road of self-publishing. My dream had always been to walk into a book store and see my book sitting on the shelf. I really had no concept of what this meant. In reality, I just wanted visibility for my work so people could see how batshit crazy I am as a writer. It’s been a long road, but my first self-published short story “The Unicorn-Eater” went  live on Amazon on May 15th. Being that it’s a short story, I’m not expecting it to do gangbusters, but I’m hoping people will give it a try and see what the Splatter Elf brand is all about.

My experience has had its ups and downs as I expected. I’m not entirely sure the exact audience I’m targeting, but I’m sure they’re out there. People that grew up watching 80s action films with over the top violence. Stuff like Robo-Cop or Predator. Then you have a generation brought up on Adult Swim. These are other people I believe would like my style.

The main issue is finding these people, the never-ending quest to find readers. So far my launch has been pretty downplayed. I’ve done the usual sharing of my story on various social media. I’ve changed stuff on my blog and forums I visit. I’ve even got an email list which I’m hoping will grow once I figure out how to promote that as well.

What I’ve found is true of what many people say about self-publishing. It’s a full-time deal. You can’t just let a publisher do all your promoting for you and sit back and wait for the money to roll in. You have to be a writer, a marketer, a publicist, a website designer, everything. I have a lot of new-found respect for those out there doing the grind. It’s tough. I can see why some people spam relentlessly. Because it’s easy. That’s why people do it. To market in way that requires a lot of time and effort is very difficult, especially if you have lots of other stuff going on. I find that whatever works for you, do it, regardless of what it is.

So, if you’re thinking of self-publishing and what to make a shitload of money right out the gate, then you better have your infrastructure all set-up before you even think of publishing. For me, because I’m doing a “soft launch” with a short story, I realize that I can’t bank my entire writing career around one story. The main thing is to figure out how to reach people that would like my story. If you’re curious what I’ve done so far, here are some ideas. Some may be good, some bad. I’ve still yet to do some other things people have recommended, but I will probably try anything once.

Things I’ve Done:

1. Shared on Facebook (personal and Splatter Elf page)

2. Shared on Twitter (using hashtags and all that, although I’m not sure I’m using the right ones)

3. Made this shiny new blog!

4. Did a podcast interview with The Grim Tidings Podcast (which I also regularly co-host)

5. Sacrificed a small cockatrice

6. Danced under the blood moon.

7. Twiddled my thumbs


Things I Want to Do/May Do

1. Navigate Goodreads and figure out how that works

2. Post some videos on Youtube for the video experience

3. Connect with other forums that may help out with finding an audience

4. Possibly paying for a brief promotion

5. Maybe doing a blog tour?


So that’s what I’ve got for now. Self-publishing doesn’t have to be super stressful, but it does take work and dedication. My hats off to all of out there. And if you have any tips for a mewling neophyte, please feel free to share.