Geetanjali Mukherjee

Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Book in the Amazon Top 10: My Foray Into Self-Publishing

As of today, my book From Auden To Yeats is on the Amazon top 10 in its genre - Education: Study Guides, in Canada, Germany and Japan.

Its a small genre, and its not that big a deal, but to me its amazing - because a year ago, even a few months ago, I was resigned to my book languishing in obscurity, because it wasn't accepted by traditional publishers.

Actually the book helped me get published even before it was completely written. I wrote a book proposal for this book, when I had a large part of this book written - when I was in high school. And with the arrogance and ignorance of youth I shopped the proposal to educational publishers in India. I never heard from most of them, not even receiving any rejections, but one publisher expressed interest in commissioning me to write a completely different book for them. This one however, they weren't really interested in. I put the book aside for the next few years, focusing on college and my masters' program.

I picked it up again at a time when I had a bit of spare time and completed it, knowing that I would not be able to publish traditionally. I also knew I had to write the book - it was a labour of love for me. I enjoyed every minute.

Since I decided that it wouldn't be published by others anyway, I may as well publish it myself. I didn't really know about KDP or Smashwords then - so I simply went with what I knew - Lulu. And I think it sold one or two copies. I didn't do any marketing - I had no idea how to go about it.

And then last year I discovered the new wave of indie publishing - legitimate options that got your book into mainstream bookstores as an e-book. I formatted the manuscript and uploaded it to Smashwords and Amazon, and fully expected to sell no books at all - I was extremely thrilled to simply have it out there in so many venues.

Then I started to learn more about self-publishing, and decided that I would try to learn as much as possible, even if it didn't impact my book sales. In fact, after not checking my sales figures at all for a few weeks, I started to check everyday (a tad obsessive I know).

My sales have been coming in slowly, and I have been trying various things as well. I still have a lot to learn, especially since I tried to do everything myself - which is great for learning, but also for making mistakes.

It's still selling only very modestly, and it's in a small genre, with plenty of competition, but I am really surprised that I have even achieved this far. I know there is so much more for me to learn, but I am really excited about the possibilities out there.
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