I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree N.D. (David) Richman today to talk with me about his self-publishing experiences thus far. David is the father of four teenage children – Christopher, Michael, Thomas and Katherine. He has been married to his high school friend, Tracy, for thirty years. David is a dedicated husband and father, and wrote his first book for his children, wanting to ensure they were interested in reading. When not writing David is a self-employed Automation Engineering Technologist. He loves the wilderness, in particular the Rocky Mountains to the west of his home in Calgary, Alberta. David is a graduate of an Outward Bounds wilderness survival program.
When did you decide you were going to self-publish?
I decided to self-publish after submitting my first book to agents over a one year period. The manuscript was getting rave reviews from those who read it and the agents were not able to tell me what was missing. I felt I’d learn more about my writing and the book if I presented it to the market.
What has your experience been like along the way?
The Indie experience has been excellent. I’ve received a great deal of support from other writers and some excellent feedback and suggestions for improvement. The positive response gave me the confidence to continue. I enacted some of the suggestions which improved the book and my writing. Self-publishing is much more rewarding than waiting for replies to query letters. And my book received two awards of recognition. It can’t get any better than that.
What are some of the challenges you have faced?
It would be really nice to sell a million copies. 😀
Outside of that challenge the biggest is getting written reviews. I won’t pay for reviews or trade reviews because I’m concerned about conflicts of interest. I did pay for a service that distributed the book to a number of volunteer reviewers, which worked extremely well, but there’s not been much review action since then.
What have you learned in this industry?
Dream big, expect little, be patient and have fun.
What are the do’s and don’ts of self-publishing?
- Understand this is a long term game.
- Keep writing and publishing and grow your author brand through social media and book signings.
- Hire a professional editor.
- Be patient. There’s no quick solution.
- Don’t blanket post advertisements for you book on your friends’ walls.
- Don’t pay for five star reviews.
- Don’t rush.
What advice would you give to a writer who is considering the self-publishing route?
If this is your first book have it critiqued, a lot. And even if you disagree with the critique comments, act on them. Although critique comments and suggestions may not sit well with you, implementing them is great practice and usually kicks off other ideas that ultimately improve your writing. The biggest improvements to my writing came from the most vehement critiques. Consider that these people are taking an emotional risk for you. Respect their time and effort.
Once you’re sure the book is as perfect as it can be, have it professionally edited before publishing.
What are the promotional techniques you use via social media and how much time a week do you spend promoting your work?
Time runs faster when on social media. I’d like to say an hour a day but it’s much closer to two. I love to connect online and I enjoy promoting other authors and artists. My technique is to find people with similar interests, become familiar with their work, and support them through shares and retweets.
What are the different sites you use to promote your book?
I’m frequently in touch with the following sites:
- Our Parenting Spot
- My Blog (www.ndrichman.com)
- WordPressI less frequently use these sites (Though I may one day):
- MarsocialGoodreads is a great website and a must for Indie Authors.
Where do you see this industry in five to ten years?
I expect Indie book publishing rates will grow. Sites like B.R.A.G. and Awesome Indies will grow in number and size, and readers will rely on these sites more in their search of high quality reads. I expect more best sellers will originate from Indies. There will always be a market for professionally published and Indie books but I hope to see more collaboration between these two delivery methods.
If something can be improved upon in this industry, what do you think it should be?
I think a mainstream retail outlet for high quality Indie books would improve the industry. I think combining Indie publications with the knowledge of traditional publishers would go a long way in accomplishing this. And if there’s money to be made there’s no reason traditional publishers shouldn’t jump on this opportunity.
How long have you been an indie author?
I published my first book in 2013.