What six years of publishing on Smashwords mean to me.

Yes! Six years…

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It’s been six years since I started publishing on Smashwords. I am taking part in NanoWrimo this year and could not stop but look back at my writing and self-publishing journey over the years.

Here’s a break down of the titles published in each year and the number of copies that have been downloaded:

Year Titles published Downloads
2011 Dear Yellow

Dear May

1045

752

2012 Say You Love Me

If time is all I have

Ethan & Richard

The Absolutely Boring Life of Mya

Made for You

Last Heart Standing

From the Heart

The book of Abel

Dear Brian

I love you this much

Never forget me Leila

December

2652

185

648

2105

3435

1137

693

590

601

13511

710

1170

2013 Pieces

I wanted to tell you

Only time will tell

The Single Diaries

Anna

Memories

1009

619

594

995

899

542

2014 Choose me

21 Days

What happened to us?

The perfect love story

Confessions of time spent with humans

1348

779

1732

1112

490

2015 Silence & Shadows

Mist

325

604

2016 Roses and Lies

The place you call home

284

87

If you are into numbers, my basic math tells me that it’s 40,653 downloads in a span of six years and if you’d have told me that it’s the number I’d be seeing years later, I would have not believed you. 2012 was a good year for it seems I wrote and published the most!  After 2013, my ebook titles took an abstract turn and I ventured forth into other genres, taking a break from romance.

Since then I have ventured forth to Createspace, Pronoun and Amazon Kindle. 

However, forget the numbers or the numerous platforms that have since then come to the reach of authors across the globe. This is a personal milestone for me. I am nowhere near where I envision myself and I struggle with getting there.

I struggle with Grammar, punctuation and hanging clauses…and in the blogging world, I struggle with getting the right headline and traffic. I post and let it be. It is something I started doing way back in 2011 and still haven’t grasped the subtle art of marketing.

Whenever someone tells me they love reading my blog or that they enjoyed reading a book I wrote, I simply nod and smile. I leave it at that. Honestly, it’s uncomfortable being praised and one percent (1%) of me feels great when I receive a compliment but the other ninety-nine percent (99%) wants to run and hide.

Have you been publishing on Smashwords?

Do you have an online platform that you can say was your first step into self-publishing?

I mean like seriously, I went from designing my ebook covers using picmonkey to canva and adobe creative suite!

One of the greatest challenge for me has been the distribution of my books especially those that I set out to be in both print and soft copy. Most of the readers, friends, or enthusiasts here in Kenya insist on getting the print copy. Since publishing in 2015 on Amazon, 5 people have bought the paperback copies via the amazon site. The rest are hesitant to go online and get the books shipped. I do ship copies but they are booked and paid for even before they arrive, mostly by strangers. Yes, it is true, family and friends are great support, but when a stranger invests in your work and loves it, you get even more people investing in your work.

I have a long way to go and maybe come the end of this month, my next book shall be available in both print and ebook versions.

Here are six things I’ve learned about self-publishing:

  1. You’ve got to write before you publish. This is the most important thing that has kept me going. Writers write there’s no shortcut.
  2. Self-publishing is not an automatic key to millions. It may take a while o be noticed especially on smashwords because a lot of people write and publish every second.
  3. Do not give up. Cliche right? Well, it’s as old and sound as gold, you keep pressing on.
  4. There are so many options when it comes to platforms for self-publishing and you’ve got to figure out which one to take. Do your research. Read through the comments, reviews and FAQs before you pick on one.
  5. If you are on facebook, twitter, instagram, or google plus be sure to share links to your work. There is a lot of information on the internet, so save your audience the time, and make it easier for them to get access to your work. Sharing is caring.
  6. Free is not always the best option.

Today marks six years and I have no clue as to what tomorrow holds for me, all I know is that I am glad that I went beyond the class compositions and project papers and actually created worlds using words.

Happy anniversary to me and a big thank you to Smashwords and Mark Coker for taking the initiative to create such a platform. You helped a Writer out and you continue to do so!

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