Friday, July 27, 2012

Self Publishing Joys

Morgan and Therese have a workbook in process.
This Finer Points Friday post is one of the contributed articles.

Self Publishing Joys

 By Nancy Brophy

In lots of ways I’m fearless, which makes for both good and bad decision making. So deciding to self-publish was never a major issue. I simply leaped in with both feet and went for it. My personality makes me an ideal candidate to take on this challenge.

It is easy to talk yourself out of a project. Anything you undertake as a solo effort has 987 reasons why it won’t work. And you actually have a number of friends and family who are prepared to recount every one of those ways to you. If they fail to make an impact, don’t worry. In the back of your brain sits the judge and jury who continually remind you of all your previous mistakes. Remember the second grade picnic? Or your high school prom? Or your first marriage?

Looking back on the past year there are lots of things I would have done differently.  All of them pertain to marketing.

I set up a website the same month I self-published which meant I had no name recognition. Publishing my books did not start with a bang - more of a painful whimper. It wasn’t that I hadn’t thought about a website, but I could never decide what data to include.

Do you have a website just to show you’ve got one? Excerpts from an unpublished book? Good or bad?

Do you make up covers for books you haven’t sold? Who would visit a site with no meaningful content?

What if one of the big six publishers wants it? Would they be annoyed I’ve got it on my website?

I had no brand because I’m all over the board with different genres from contemporary to romantic suspense to an unfinished urban fantasy. How do you brand that? But I have come to realize as my attention has shifted to marketing that I do write with a theme no matter what the genre.  Pretty men, feisty women and hot sex.

I don’t know that I could find a symbol that represents those three elements. And I’m not sure I would put it on my website if I did. Since my books lean toward romantic suspense, my website needs improvement. It needs to be edgier, but also show humor. The edgier part is easy, the humor not so much.


My first blog had to do with my house fire which was short and witty until the contractor stopped showing up and my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Writer friends of mine asked me to blog with them a few months after my first books came out. I like blogging and I’m fairly good at it. As won’t surprise you, I’m once again all over the board. Fortunately, my partners, Susan Lute and Cassiel Knight at “See Jane Publish” are tolerant of the fact that each week my topic ranges from writing craft and publishing to whatever rant I’m on. I’ve blogged about how to murder your husband, the Planned Parenthood-Komen scandal to changes in the publishing industry.


The key, I was told was to get your books reviewed by book bloggers. This is much easier said than done. Book reviewers are asked to review thousands of books each and every month. I’ve written over 120 requests and have had probably around a dozen reviews. I’ve done guest interviews and blogs. I’m on Goodreads, but Amazon screwed up my covers a few months ago and I haven’t figured out how to fix them yet.

Time. Time. Time. It’s the major issue. Followed closely by its ugly sister - money. Marketing is continuous. If you think McDonalds and Coca Cola have nothing else to do with their money other than advertise, you’re wrong. But they both understand, getting to be number one takes work, staying there takes money.

While it sounds like I’m fumbling in the dark, I’ve actually sold quite a few books. And each month I sell more. What piece of marketing contributes to success? I don’t know.

Am I happy I did it my way? You betcha. Would I recommend it? Maybe not.

Not everybody should be self-employed. It is not easier, it is the path less taken. And, most importantly, despite the rumors, it is not the road to riches. At least - not in the beginning. But one day when I manage to become an overnight success, you and I can laugh about how many years it took me to get there.

Nancy Brophy grew up reading and writing. Her imaginary friends have rich, larger-than-life lives with definite beginnings, snappy middles, and above all, happy endings. Her personal life is never as clearly defined.

She lives in the beautiful, green and very wet Northwest with her husband, two naughty dogs, PB & J, and 40 rowdy chickens.


  1. Hi Nancy:

    I think new authors getting branded is like teenage girls getting tattoos. There should be no hurry to do this.

    I feel it is better to let the cover of your books ‘brand’ or 'position' the type of romance the reader can expect from that book. For example, I am very attracted to “The Wrong Brother” which I just downloaded from Amazon. I want to get a feel for how you write and in the past I have enjoyed books with cover art that was like this book.

    I did think of a tag line for your work:

    “Adding Passion Wherever Romance is Found!”

    As long as you write ‘hot’ this will work for any romance subgenre.

    A graphic of a magic wand with lots of sparkles around it might work if it has a very abstract look. (It can’t look too realistic. Reader’s might take it as a indicator of fantasy romance.)


  2. Vince - what great comments. Thanks. I love your tag line. I hope you like "The Wrong Brother" it was the most fun book to write. Please feel free to contact me at

  3. iUniverse has helped more than 35,000 authors publish their books professionally and affordably. Since 1999, we have crafted a reputation for breaking records and blazing new trails in the self-publishing industry.