On Saturday, 8 June 2019 a Sister in Crime, Mary Behre, and I did a mini panel on writing to the members of the Riverside Writers group in Fredericksburg, VA. Mary writes The Tidewater Series, Humor, Suspense, and a Psychic Love-Connection. She has traditionally published four books and I have self-published two, working on two more.
The panel worked well due to the fact of our age difference, publishing preference, and varied experiences with marketing.
We took turns introducing ourselves and sharing how we got into writing. We then went into our personal writing process, publishing, and marketing.
The message I conveyed to the group was to do their homework when considering publishing options. Understand what the author is responsible for, what the royalties will be, and when they are paid. Mary and I stressed the fact that no matter how you decide to publish, the AUTHOR has to do their own marketing. If the author is not out there doing signings, presentations, active with social media, the books will not be sold; the author will not be paid. Someone asked where Mary had done signings and she listed several states. When that person asked if her publisher set those up, Mary laughed. Not - she had to do the work herself.
I shared a recent experience with KDP. I realized that my first book, An Unexpected Death, only showed a Kindle version on Amazon. Months ago I had successfully brought my books over from CreateSpace to KDP. How did that happen? At 4:30 p.m. I sent an email off to KDP. At 6:30 I received a phone call, but when I saw it was a Seattle number, I thought it was a Robo call and I didn't answer. A message was left. A rep from KDP wanted more information on my issue. He said he would keep working and would send an email. At 8:30 p.m. I received an email telling me the issue was resolved. My trade paperback and Kindle weren't linked-an Amazon website problem. But the point is, I've had only great customer service experience with CreateSpace and now KDP.
When I talked about formatting, and how I format as I go since I'm a visual person, Mary asked if I used Scrivener. She does; I don't. I'm happy with Word, and have heard reports that there is a learning curve with Scrivener, which was confirmed by someone in the audience. If one has the time and patience, then Scrivener is deemed to be a great product.
I think we left the Riverside Writers group with a lot to think about and I hope we were helpful.
* Do your homework before you make publishing decisions and do what's right for you.