Going it Alone part 6: Sara York on self-publishing

I’d like to welcome Sara York to my blog today for another instalment of my series on authors who self-publish.

Sara York started writing in the MF thriller genre. She now has 65 self published stories out, including novels and novellas, and translations into French and Spanish. She also has 24 books out that are published with publishers.

Why did you decide to self publish?

My first adventures into self-publishing were short stories that I toyed with because I really didn’t know what to do on the road to publishing. Everything was changing when I got back into the field of writing. When I first started writing there was no Smashwords, no KDP, no NookPress, no Kobo, and no Draft2Digital. You could get an agent, go with Harlequin, or find a small publisher who might publish your book. There were a few authors who had their books on their websites for sale, but numbers were small and few sold any books. Family obligations took over and though my first two books had been published, I took a break from writing. During that break I found books with two men in them as main characters. It wasn’t just any books, but stories with men who loved each other. Finding the MM genre was life changing.

I’ve always felt more comfortable writing male characters, but I didn’t know if I could actually write in the MM genre. I played around with erotica first, and then I wrote a ménage story. There wasn’t really a place for my stories with a publisher because they were shorts. I decided to load the stories onto KDP and Smashwords. I made money. Shortly after self-publishing my shorts, I received the rights to Murder Stalks back from the publisher. Instead of trying to get another publisher to publish the story, I decided to go on my own. Putting Murder Stalks on KDP and Smashwords was the best thing I’d ever done. I received more money in the first three months the books was out than I had with the publisher.

Though I had some success with self-publishing one book, I waffled between submitting to a publisher and self-publishing any other books. It was a difficult decision. On the one hand a publisher takes care of the cover, the editing, the line edits, and other items that may arise. The publisher sometimes does promo, but usually not. There are benefits to going with a publisher. It takes time to learn the business side of publishing. Though I’d had success with Murder Stalks, I wasn’t sure I could actually “do” self publishing. Then I wrote a novel that was a little different and submitted it to a publisher. They rejected the story, which turned out to be a very lucky break for me. The publisher has since gone under, leaving a trail of tears and broken hearts. I’m delighted that publisher never contracted Not That Type of Guy. The book didn’t ‘fit’ the mold, but Not That Type of Guy was more the type of book I wanted to write.

I’ve learned a lot since putting out my first book. The most important thing is to remember that your readers matter. Write for your readers, not to please a publisher or another author. Write what you love, and your readers will love it too.

What do you like about self-publishing?

Writing for myself, instead of a publisher, gives me the freedom to write what I want. I’ve realized in the last year that I really need to focus on writing stories that I want to write. I enjoy working off deadline and on books that come from my heart.

Do you have any advice for other authors considering taking the plunge?

Never rush. Always take the time to do it right. Don’t rely on your ability to create a good cover if you’ve never done any form of art. If you’re really good at editing, and an editor by nature, don’t rely on just yourself to do the edits. You need a team of people to help you get the book to publication.

You have to make business decisions. Decisions about pricing and sales. Know your market and what will work. That’s why publishers don’t accept every book. They know their market and they think they know what will work, sometimes they are way off base. But remember this one important fact. When you self publish, you are making 70% on every sale that is priced over $2.99. That means on a $2.99 book you are making $2.03. Publishers will not and can not price books as low as you can. You will not sell anywhere near as many books priced at $5.99 and up as you do at $2.99. So the publisher may be giving you a fair percentage on your sales, however, the sales will most likely be lower and that means your money will most likely be lower with a publisher. Self publishing is stressful, however, it is more rewarding in the long run.

My latest release is Center Stage in the Limelight MM bundle.

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Country music is Slade Pepper’s first love and he can’t walk away from the stage, but being gay and in country music doesn’t allow him to have a personal life. Slade takes the month off to decompress and search his soul. He meets Corbin Branford and can’t say no to a passion filled night. One night turns into more, but Corbin has no idea who Slade is, and Slade tries to keep it that way…until a fan blows his cover. Corbin is angry enough to leave, but Slade Pepper won’t give up without a fight.

Buy at Amazon

Sara York’s bio:

Writing is Sara York’s life. The stories fight to get out, often leaving her working on four or five books at once. She can’t help but write. Along with her writing addiction she has a coffee addiction. Some nights, the only reason she stops writing and goes to sleep is for the fresh brewed coffee in the morning. Sara enjoys writing twisted tales of passion, anger, and love with a good healthy dose of lust thrown in for fun.

Visit Sara York at her Blog or Website.

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About Jay Northcote

Author of LGBT romance. Trans (he/him), Parent, cat herder, professional procrastinator.
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