In this interview, I sat down and chatted with Kiran Prasad, author ofA Mindful Move: Feel at home again, to pick her brain on what she loved and would recommend to anyone thinking about self-publishing.
Why did you decide to self-publish your book?
I tried to go the traditional publishing route and got nowhere with it. I spent a lot of time researching how to do it and sent off book proposals only to receive one rejection after another. I was lucky to get any response at all. Felt a bit like applying for jobs in a tough economy!
It seems that these days it is not enough to write a good book, you need a social media following of thousands before you can get noticed by traditional publishers.
Publishing is essentially a business and they need to be sure your book will sell well.
In the end, I was glad I self-published because I got to have autonomy over the entire process.
What aspects of the publishing process did you do yourself and what did you hire out?
Being an English Literature major and teacher, I value quality writing, therefore, I paid for professional editing. I also paid for a cover design because I know how important a polished look is to selling a book.
I set up my own website and social media following on my own after attending a writing workshop, reading books, and watching video tutorials.
I found it tough to justify spending much money upfront on my book not knowing if I would get a return on my investment.
Since we’re talking about investment, how much did your book cost to produce?
Most of my cost was for professional editing. But the total cost for editing, proofreading and cover design was around $3,000 dollars.
We all know that royalties won’t pay the bills but what types of things have happened after you published your book that surprised you?
At a webinar that I attended, we were advised to think of our book as a glorified business card. Really, I haven’t done much marketing of the book since it’s publication but I’ve still had a lot of people, like you, contacting me about it.
I’ve been on a few podcasts, blog interviews, and a New York Times journalist contacted me to write a column about mindfulness and moving. I’ve also been contacted by a women of color empowerment workgroup to give a 60-minute workshop and potentially give a talk at a university too.
None of those things would’ve happened if I hadn’t published my book.
What surprised you about the self-publishing process?
I was surprised how long the cover design ended up taking me and how the cost of professional editing could be variable as I went through the different stages of editing.
A pleasant surprise was how quickly my book went live on Amazon Kindle! It was the most incredible feeling to see my book up there for the world to purchase!
What advice would you give someone thinking about self-publishing?
Research the process before jumping in so you know what you’re getting into. It can become overwhelming to learn and do at the same time.
Build a following before you publish so that you’re not tackling the marketing aspect at the end.
I recommend reading Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, for marketing ideas.
Research who the leaders are in your subject area and reach out to them for connections. I sent a free copy of my book to Naomi Hattaway, the community leader of I am a Triangle, and she’s been a great help.
I also recommend joining the Alliance of Independent Authors. You can join before you are self-published and put the member badge on your website that lets your readers know that you’re a professional.
I suggest following Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn. She has a ton of great advice, podcasts, tutorials, and e-books that really helped me while I was researching everything.
You need to set a deadline and hold yourself to it. Make it public if you need to. I posted to my Facebook page that I would release my book on my birthday and I hadn’t even started the process.
Without a deadline and someone holding you accountable, it’s easy to just keep on writing and writing.
What’s next for you, Kiran?
I’m going to keep moving forward and publicly announce that my next book will be released on my birthday in 2019. I have so much to say about my plant-based diet and how it has truly changed my life but more on that to come soon!
I really want the books I write to make a difference in people’s lives.