I have to admit, I’m curious as a cat in a hen house about self-publishing. It seems I can’t read enough how authors do it. Not saying that having a publisher is a bad thing at all. But if you want total control and make more money, self-publishing is the thing to do these days.
I have an interview with a terrific self-published author, Kenny Scudero, who is here to help us understand the process by telling us how he did it. Comfortably Awkward is Kenny’s first self-published novel. At 22 years old, he has a great future ahead of him and we are excited to have him here today.
Thank you for this interview, Kenny. You self-published your latest book, Comfortably Awkward. Would you please tell us why you chose the self-publishing route?
Kenny: I wanted to get my work out there as quickly as possible. I felt like there were people out there who need to read this and self-publishing seemed to be the only way I could get my book noticed immediately.
Take us through the process. You had an idea for your book, you wrote it, then you decided to find a publisher. What were your experiences with that? Or did you decide to self-publish without looking any further?
Kenny: I developed the idea for this book as I started to realize that it was going to be nearly impossible to get a job right after graduating college and I also realize that I didn't want to be one of those office clones. I wrote this story during the first summer in my whole life where I didn't have to worry about going to school the next semester. I enjoyed writing the story and I started researching how to get a book published right around the time I finished it. I tried querying agents for a couple of months and I became frustrated after about twenty-five rejection letters. I didn't want to wait any longer, so I self-published, even though I wish I could have published traditionally.
What different online stores carry your book?
Kenny: Right now, my paperback is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. My book is also available in Kindle format.
Do you think that having your book self-published makes any difference to the media? Are they open to interviewing self-published authors or reviewing their books?
Kenny: I think if you find the right people, self-publishing is intriguing to them. Its still a fairly new way of publishing a book and with today's technology, more and more people are self-publishing. Not everyone sees a self-published book as the hard work, dedication, and discipline which it truly is. I guess media looks at self-publishing like, "Anyone can do it, so it can't be that great." But that's not true at all. There are so many authors who are amazing writers but they don't get discovered. Self-publishing gives great unknown authors a fighting chance at making it big. I think if the media was more open-minded, we'd see more great writers and increased book sales. If you look around, you see the same authors over and over because new ones don't get much of a chance.
Authors who go the traditional route have an edge over self-published authors in regards to distribution to bookstores. How did you handle that as a self-published author?
Kenny: I guess I hoped I would at least gain some exposure through my self-published book to allow me to get a contract with a traditional publisher in the future. I mean, yeah, I'd love to sell a lot of copies of my book but I'm really hoping to get the message in Comfortably Awkward out there. I know if people read it and give it a chance, they will see a fresh voice in literature. I think that's more important right now than how many books I have in bookstores, although it would be nice to have books in Barnes and Noble stores.
On the other hand, self-published authors have the edge over traditional books in the regards that the author has all the control. I’d like to begin with your cover. Did you make it or did you have someone else design it? If you had someone else, can you tell us who it is?
Kenny: The idea for the cover was my idea. I told my self-publisher, CreateSpace, what I wanted and I paid them a fee to design the cover for me. They did an amazing job and they truly brought my idea to life.
Did you get someone to format it for you or did you do that?
Kenny: I formatted it myself and it was a great learning experience. I was able to see what worked and what didn't. I will say though, writing the book was much easier for me than formatting it.
What was the hardest challenge for you to self-publish your book?
Kenny: Promoting myself and my book has been the biggest challenge. I've been trying to figure out the best way to put myself out there and I wasted some money with simple advertising. I learned a few things along the way that have been helping me but promotion is the most important reason to have a big publisher take care of that stuff for you.
What steps are you taking to promote it?
Kenny: I spoke with some publicists and shopped around to find the promotion which was best for me. I did some advertising but that wasn't very effective. My virtual blog tour is looking good and I'm thinking I may do something similar to that in the future. I'm also possibly going to have a couple of local signings and television appearances in Staten Island, New York, my hometown.
What has been the best marketing tool or method you have used that has resulted in the most sales?
Kenny: Free giveaways. I offered my book for free on Kindle for a weekend and I had hundreds of downloads in those days. I started getting some website traffic and exposure just from offering my electronic copy free for a couple of days.
Do you have any advice you’d like to share with other self-published authors?
Kenny: Keep writing! The more you write, the better you get and as long as you have confidence in your writing, believe me, you will have success. You can never have too much material and it may be one story you wrote that finally gets you noticed.
You can visit Kenny’s website at www.kennyscudero.com for more information.