Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Conference Report: Rachel Morgan on Self-Publishing

ROSACon2014 closed with a chat with Rachel Morgan, possibly South Africa's most successful self-published author to date. Thank you to author Kathy Bosman for this report back on Rachel's talk.

Report by Kathy Bosman

Rachel was truly inspiring. She’s a successful author who has self-published several series of books and is able to live “comfortably,” as she put it, off of her sales. Many of us aspire to reach this point.

Her talk was given in the format of question and answers, and Rachel was thorough in answering the questions forwarded to her.

To start with, she stressed the importance of investing in a good cover design and how that’s essential to selling a book on Amazon. Series are also vital to attract readers. Publish quickly – don’t leave long periods between books. The good thing about being self-published is you have control over the time periods between your releases.

If you self-publish, you must be flexible and open to change as the market and rules are always changing. You have to be able to format or hire someone to format your book for several platforms. She suggested using Sigil (which is free and makes Epub files) and Jutoh where you don’t need to use code and is the easiest for Amazon and Smashwords.

A participant asked where she gets her editing done. Rachel sends her books to trusted beta readers before she publishes them so she doesn’t lay out large amounts on professional editors.

She said the best way to do promo is to advertise on email subscription services like Booksend, Best Bug, The Fussy Librarian, Read Cheaply and Free Booksy. Putting her books for free gains exposure and having the first book of a series for free helps gain readers.

She uses social media to promote and only sends newsletters out to those who are her genuine readers. There’s nothing more off-putting than sending a newsletter out to those who didn’t subscribe or don’t want to receive it.

To obtain reviews – she asks those who liked her previous books to review for her. She finds them on Goodreads.

Another good promotion opportunity is to combine events with other authors like Facebook parties and blog tours. Put a free book on Wattpad – it helps to improve sales as people read it and then want her other books.

Rachel Morgan
She spoke about tax and how you have to keep a record of your sales and expenses and also how you have to organise an ITIN number with Amazon so you don’t have to pay tax with them although that seems to have fallen away now. You can claim for some of your expenses from SARS as a business would.

With her print books she works with independent bookstores as they’re more open to selling her books. Most of the time, they sell her books on consignment. To sell to the major bookstores requires an expensive distributor.

It was a great session to listen to as it inspired us to work toward that goal of living off our passion. It was very informative for those aiming to go the self-publishing route. I don’t think I managed to get down half of all the information she gave us.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for having me! I really enjoyed our question and answer session, and I probably could have spoken for hours more!

    P.S. I think "Best Bug" is perhaps meant to be "Book Bub"? I should have had a board next to me so I could write important things on it!