Adventures In Self-Publishing

Mark A. SargentThis is a guest blog post by Mark A. Sargent, author of the newly self-published novel Clockwork & Old Gods, which originated as a story here on Protagonize. Mark is promoting his book and was kind enough to share his experiences with self-publishing for the first time. You can check out his website for more information, or buy his book on Amazon.

Mark is also giving away free copies of his ebook to 10 randomly-selected Protaggers who take the time to post their thoughts on the following in the comments below:

“Are you working on a book or other project you hope to publish someday? Are you already in the trenches, either self published or traditionally published? Or are you just writing for fun? Tell us all about it in the comments! The best thing we can do for one another as writers is share information, tips, and tricks of the trade.”

Do you have something to say that might be of interest to our members? Feel free to contact us with blog ideas, and share your passion for writing with our readers.

Hi there. My name is Mark Sargent, and I’m a self-published author. My first book, Clockwork & Old Gods: Incursion, is a fantasy/steampunk epic. It went on sale in early February. I’ve been a member of Protagonize since 2009, and I want to thank Nick for giving the opportunity to write a guest post here.

In the beginning…

Four years ago I started writing a story on Protagonize. Clockwork and Old Gods wasn’t the first thing I’d ever started writing, but it would be the first I ever finished. It would eventually become the first book I ever published. I’m pretty sure I have Protagonize to thank for that. The ratings, comments, favorites and recommendations it got provided much needed motivation. People were actually reading my work. Not only were they reading it, they liked it! Over the course of the next two years I plugged away at it bit by bit until it was finally finished. That was step one.

Step one is always the hardest when you set out to be an author, but it’s the most important. If there’s any secret to being a successful writer, that’s it – just keep writing. The more you write the better you get and the more likely you are to finish a project.

So what comes next?

Once I had my book completed I had a choice. I could shop it around to agents and publishers, or I could self-publish. After doing a lot of research, I chose to self-publish for several reasons:

First, royalty rates. According to Wikipedia, a traditional publisher royalty rate is roughly 7% – 10% for paperback and 10% – 12% for hardcover. Rates vary by publisher, but from what I’ve read new authors almost always get the lowest end of the scale. Compare this to Amazon, which gives you 70% on every ebook sold no matter who you are, and to me the advantage was clear.

Second, marketing responsibility. Many traditional publishers tend to put most or all of the marketing responsibility on their authors (unless you get lucky and they decide to “go big” with your launch). If I was going to be doing it anyway, I might as well self-publish.

Third, rights. I’m going to go into a little more depth on this point because I think it’s important.

Negotiating a contract with a traditional publisher is notorious for being a labyrinthine nightmare. Often it can require a copyright lawyer in order to get a fair deal. Having successfully negotiated the labyrinth, you’ve essentially sold the rights to your book to the publisher for a certain amount of time. If you got a good deal, this time will have a decent cutoff date at which point you can renegotiate your contract or the rights simply revert back to you.

If you didn’t manage to get a good deal, the publisher holds on to the rights to your book for however long they wanted. This point bears special consideration, because it has some important ramifications. If your book did not sell, the publisher may stop printing it and even pull the book from bookshelves to make way for new books. With your book not actively selling, you still can’t do anything with it yourself. It’s in limbo, making you absolutely no money, until the rights revert back to you as stated in your contract.

When you self-publish all of the rights are yours, and will remain so. If your book isn’t selling you can change the cover art, change the blurb, fiddle with pricing, try new marketing tactics, even change text within the book and upload new additions. All the while it’s out there for people to see and buy at that 70% royalty rate.

OK, I’m self-publishing. Now what?

Clockwork & Old Gods by Mark A. SargentSo I did the cost benefit analysis and decided self-publishing was the way to go. There was a lot of work yet to be done. When self-publishing the first thing you need to do is edit the ever loving hell out of your book. Write, rewrite, re-rewrite, add stuff, delete stuff, move stuff around. Hunt down spelling and grammar mistakes with extreme prejudice. I spent the better part of a year reworking Clockwork and Old Gods. The finished product is still the same story, but it’s a very different book, and better for it.

To make this process easier you can hire an editor. Contrary to what I thought when I started my foray into self-publishing, you don’t need a traditional publisher in order to get an editor. There are plenty of freelance editing services available out on the web. Trust me, they’re worth it. The biggest complaint you hear about self-published ebooks isn’t that the stories are bad; it’s that they’re poorly formatted and edited. If you want to stand out, make your work professional-quality.

I have to admit I did my own editing on Clockwork & Old Gods. I think it came out well despite this, but I put a lot of effort into it. This is not a mistake I will make twice. My next book will be dutifully handed off to an editor for scrutiny.

After the inside of the book is looking good, it’s time to see to the outside. Cover art is important, as it’s the reader’s first impression of a book. Don’t just throw one together in MS Paint and call it a day. Find somebody who knows what they’re doing. Some places, like Smashwords, have an index of cover artists with varying rates. Me, I got lucky. My wife Audrey has an art degree and agreed to do the cover.

About that marketing thing I mentioned…

Figuring out how to market my book has been the hardest part of the whole self-publishing adventure. I created a Facebook page, a Goodreads account, a Twitter account, and a website. I also had an existing Google Plus account, and I’ve started using it to get involved in various writing communities.

Of those I think I’ve been using Twitter and Google Plus the most. They’re great networking resources, and the more people I network with the more people there are to see my book and share it with their friends. Facebook is just a billboard for me so far, a place where I cross post things that show up on my other social media or that I put on my website.

I even experimented with purchasing ad space. I targeted a webcomic that was steampunk with magic – just the sort of thing my book had. The price was pretty reasonable. I think I only spent ten or twelve dollars for a one week ad run. According to the data, that ad got roughly thirty hits, but resulted in few sales. I’m still trying to figure out why that is. After I’ve tweaked a few things, I’ll try another ad run, but only because the price is so cheap. A lot of analysis I’ve read suggests that ad purchases aren’t worth the money – you pay more for the ad than you get back in sales, but I figure it’s worth a couple of shots.

Another aspect of my marketing efforts is garnering reviews. I’ve submitted Clockwork & Old Gods to several review websites. When those reviews go up, anyone who reads those blogs will see and hopefully purchase the book. Many review blogs will also rate the book on Amazon and other bookseller websites. The more positive reviews a book has, the more people are likely to give it a chance and purchase a copy.

Giving it away for free. Wait, what?

There’s also the free marketing method. As in, you give stuff away for free. This may seem counter intuitive if you want to make a living as a writer, but hear me out. The purpose of giving your book away for free is to get more attention. The more people that know about your book the more people there are to tell their friends, or come back and purchase a copy later. Either the book can be priced as free for a limited amount of time, or you can do book giveaways (such as the one associated with this blog post!). Some authors I know who have written series give the first book away for free to entice people to buy the rest of the set.

There’s one additional aspect to this free method of marketing, and that’s DRM. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, and it ostensibly protects a creator’s work from the dreaded scourge of internet piracy. Needless to say, I disagree with DRM on ebooks.

The reason I disagree with it is this: piracy basically boils down to people getting your work for free. As we’ve already discussed, more attention on your work is better. Your work can be so secure that nobody can get a copy without paying for it, but if nobody knows it’s there who’s going to be doing the paying? If you let as many people as possible see your work you’ve got that many more people who might actually pay you for it.

Actually, there’s two reasons I disagree with DRM. In this age of digital content, we often times find ourselves renting content when we thought we were purchasing it. Case in point was last year, when Amazon locked a Norwegian woman, Linn Nygaard, out of her Kindle ebooks for no apparent reason. If she’d had DRM free versions of those books it wouldn’t have been an issue.

For those two reasons I made sure my ebook was available DRM free. Share it around. Tell your friends. Ask them to make my day and buy a copy if they liked it.

Wrapping it up

My adventures in self-publishing have only just begun, and I’m still learning and experimenting. Having the freedom to do that experimenting is one of the great things about being self-published. I’ve started writing my second book, a sequel to Clockwork & Old Gods, right here on Protagonize. Currently it’s unimaginatively titled Clockwork Book Two, and making the rough draft in progress visible to everyone is part of my marketing experiments. So is keeping the original Clockwork and Old Gods available. If you like the rough draft you’ll like the finished product, right? Enough to buy it, maybe? Well, that’s the theory anyway.

If I had any advice for someone hoping to self-publish, it would be this: remember step one. Once you have your book written the rest is downhill from there. So keep writing, and keep getting better at it.

About Mark A. Sargent

Mark A. Sargent lives in Colorado with his wife and two rabbits. He works as an IT guy by day and masquerades as a writer by night. He’s a tabletop gamer, lover of fantasy and sci-fi books, fountain pen enthusiast, and just this guy, you know?
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38 Responses to Adventures In Self-Publishing

  1. darkliquid says:

    Congratulations on publishing your book!

    I a was an avid reader of your story whilst it was on protagonize so its great to hear its now finished, I’m excited to read the new finished version!

    As to why I write, well, it’s primarily for fun. I have far too many ideas to ever stick to one story at once and no stamina for writing a full novel – many an abortive NaNoWriMo can attest to that. I write mostly to stop my head from exploding, to let the ideas out and I tend to put them under a permissive license so that others can run with them.

    Would I like to be published? Sure, but I’m not actively pursuing it because I just don’t have the time or energy to commit to it properly. I real that if I’m going to make the leap to publication I owe it to myself and my readers to do it properly and make a proper effort, investing in an editor, cover artist and marketing as well as actually finishing a damn story for once. I definitely want to go self-publish though, mostly for the benefits you outline and also because even though I’d likely choose to publish and sell under a permissive CC license, I’m a bit of a control freak and find the concept of relinquishing my copyrights to anyone an abhorrent idea.

    Again, congratulations! You’ve got at least one more sale!

    • Thanks for the comment, Darkliquid. The works of yours that I’ve read are pretty good, I’m sure you’d do well if you got around to publishing. I know what you mean, though, finishing a story was always the hardest part for me.

  2. Elorithryn says:

    Don’t bother putting me in for the free book – I’ve bought it already. *grins*

    The moment I saw the blog bit on the Protagonize front page, I stoped and when… wait… click links paruse the original on P-tag and go, oh yes! Now why haven’t I finished reading that… oh right life *grrrrs disolving into giggles*

    Well thankfully I’ve found a way to fit writing (with exercise) back into my life, so now that I’ve perfected the reading while on a treadmill, I’ll be assing Clockwork and Old Gods to my list.

    Anwyay – that’s the long way around to say Congratulations! You’ve coem furhter than I have, but I’ve always been a bit of a pokey little puppy. :}

    I write because there are stories in my head, mostly told to myslef to keep myself sane in a world, that I’ve never quite felt I fit into… I’d adjusted myself to be more ‘presentable’ but with my joining of Protagonize I was able to revert – keep the presentable but have the kind of fun on the side that I like. Like you Protagonize has shown me that people like what I write, that I’m decnet enough to potentially reach a wider audience. I’ve grown enough to know, that there are more out there like me than I realize, which means that for every reader on Protagonize, there are more out there like them who would love my stories… How to reach them… Well I’ll get there when I get there.

    Right now I’m working on a few projects -revising my Phoenix triogy into a five book series along with improving last years NaNovel. I hope both will eventually get published. I’ve decided to start with the old school method first. It’s complicated as to why – but I’m doing this for the fun of it, to share what I write with others who might enjoy it – money isn’t an issue for me – For me Writing is the hobby that I can keep working on till the day I die, and just might bring in enough money after I retire to pay for my other hobbies. *grins*

    Strangely I’m actually technically published – The Harvest Pageant by Cathryn Leigh – is mine (on Amazon); but that happened in such a wildly weird way that if I didn’t have it on my Kindle, I’d think it was a dream.

    Again Congratulations, Mark. May your first book not only be sucessful but just the start of many a sucessful book.

    :} Cathryn is Elorithryn

    • Hey Cathryn, I remember reading through your first Phoenix story. Good to hear you’re working the whole set into publishing shape. Five books though? That’s impressive. You’ll have to keep us all in the loop with how the traditional publishing gig goes.

      • Elorithryn says:

        It’s five books because the Trilogy really is too big to be three books… PLot arcs and all that *grins* So it’s all written, I just have to re-werite edit and polish, and all that. I’ll be certain Protagonize is in the loop when my book finally comes out.

  3. angel-of-darkness says:

    Congrats on publishing your book! :)
    (I shall definitely be buying a copy soon :)
    I just self-published my NaNoWriMo novel, “The Nightmare Tangent” and it seems like actually writing the damn thing was the easiest bit (editing is hell for me). I’m trying to advertise it at the moment, and have been dragged into the twenty first century, because I’ve been using Facebook and Google+
    Currently I’m working on the sequel and prequel of “The Nightmare Tangent” ’cause the leading male character won’t get out of my head!
    I thought self-publishing on createspace was the best option for me because I hated the idea of mainstream publishing. I like to have total control over what gets edited and what the front cover looks like.
    I’m also working on my poetry collection (I post most of my poems on here) and I hope to self-publish that too, in time.
    Anyway, congrats again, and very interesting blog :)

    • Hey AoD, I certainly had to drag myself into 21st century social media. I had a G+ account before, but hardly used it. Now I’ve got ALL THE SOCIAL MEDIA! Or that’s what it feels like. Still trying to figure out how to best utilize it. How are you going about your advertising?

      • angel-of-darkness says:

        I’ve mainly been using Facebook and Google plus, and good old word of mouth, any form of advertising I can get for free, basically. Apparently my age will work as a good publicity factor as I’m only 14 years old.

    • A says:

      I didn’t know you self-published! That’s awesome. Editing anything kills me, too. Anyways, keep posting your poems and I’ll keep readin’ ’em. :)
      GoldenEarthAngel xx

  4. Angel Sumner says:


    First of all: congrats for self-publishing. Amazing achievement! I love that you started out as a normal Protagonist – gives the rest of us hope, xD. I also love that Protagonize “…provided much needed motivation. People were actually reading my work.” I know those times and stories that I’ve wanted to give up on, only then to dump them on Protagonize and find a collab-partner who might be willing to revive the creation.

    I, in answer to the question, have been working towards publication for a couple of years now. I have a couple of complete novels (all of which, like Incursion was, are on Protagonize in some-draft form) that I’m hoping to get traditionally published, one day…in the not-so-distant future. *crosses fingers*

    I also have, somewhere in the works, ‘Ezme’, which I have been meaning to self-publish, but keep putting aside for the other, better, bigger projects. It’s so much work to rewrite!

    Trouble is, for both, I’ve got to get past the terrible evilness (!) that is editing.
    Do you have any useful tips for editing? I can’t get myself into action (possibly because I’m not so willing to cull scenes and such).

    Anyhoo, that’s my tale. Congrats again!

    • Your first paragraph is why I love writing communities like Protagonize, Angel. A lot of people have the capacity to be great writers, they just need a little encouragement.

      As for editing, my best advice would be to hand it off to someone else. Not a paid editor, necessarily, but friends and family, someone who can give you a fresh perspective. When I read through my own work I know what I expect to be on the page, so my mind just fills that in even if there are wrong words or typos there. If you can cajole your friends into making notes and pointing out errors you’ll have a lot less to worry about.

      Try reading your book out loud. Things we can overlook just reading in our heads are harder to ignore when they’re passing from your eyes to your mouth. I’m not sure why that is – some quirk of how the brain works, I suppose. But it’s effective.

      Another tip would be to take breaks. If you’re like me your eyes will start to glaze over after a while, no matter how much tea you’ve had. Go by chapters, or scenes, or whatever method works for you. Once you’ve done a complete editing pass that way you can do another pass where you read it all through at once, just to make sure the whole thing flows together.

      Hmm, this could almost turn into another blog post. That’s everything that comes to mind just now, though. I hope it helps. :)

  5. Wei says:


    Congratulations on the self-published book! You survived the editing ordeal, kuddos! I know how hard editing really is. I was a writer for my high school paper and during my senior year I was promoted to editor. I had to work overnights to polished the paper and send it to print! But it was fun, very fun, and I had a lot of help from the Guild (our Writing and Reading Club).

    Am I working on a book or project that I hope to publish? Yes, wait, do articles count? I am writing several articles about architecture theory and reflections on the built-environments (e.g. buildings, public spaces, urban planning, landscaping, etc.) and sending them to different magazines: CRIT (bi-yearly magazine by members of the American Institute of Architecture Student chapter) and Architectural Record, as well as self-publishing some in Archinect (an architectural blog by students). I receive a lot of help from the faculty of the Architecture department and comments from other students around the world (Archinect). Specialized blogs are a great way to connect with other people who share your passion. I post some of my projects in Archinect too and it’s great feedback.

    As for publishing fiction, I submitted a short story to the English and Textual Studies College at my university. Currently waiting to see if my story is going to get printed or not. Fingers crossed!

    To be honest, I was never serious about publishing books/stories because I write mostly for fun, at least when writing about fiction. The above submission was done because of peer pressure, but I’m pretty excited about it. And more so if they decide to publish it! I think I like more collaborative writing to a certain degree. It allows for more challenges and it’s great to bounce ideas off the other collaborators. Additionally, we have a good time. We’ve talked a bit about publishing our story but nothing too serious.

    So. Thank you for your wonderful post. Will keep all that info in mind and definitely come back to it if I decide to publish my fiction work!

    Congratulations again!!

    • I’d say articles certainly do count. It takes some skill to not only gather all the information, but present it in a way that keeps your reader engaged. Good luck with all that, and with your short story. Even if you only wrote it for fun there’s no telling who might like it enough to publish it. :)

  6. Stephanie says:

    Hi Mark, It’s always interesting and helpful when authors share their self-publishing experiences. And I’m very glad to see you’re now pro-editors!
    Angel was asking for editing tips and I’d suggest reading your book backwards, a page at a time, or converting it to ereader format and reading it on that. Anything that changes your manuscript’s appearance is good as it sharpens your eye again. You can become too familiar with your own work and not notice mistakes. Also, watch out for your ‘weasel words’ or punctuation mannerisms, which we all have. The usual culprits with words are however, just, of course, a bit, though, already, each, and many people overuse dashes and dot dot dot when punctuating. Whittle those down and you’re less likely to annoy readers by being repetitive!
    Good luck with your endeavours! Your book looks very interesting.

    • Hey Stephanie, I don’t know that I’d go so far as pro editor. I’m passable enough, but it did take roughly a year for me to whip my story into shape. I know freelance editors who do the same thing in a month or two.

      Thanks for the additional editing tips. The weasel words bit made me think of a saying by Mark Twain, “substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be”. Out of curiosity, why are they called weasel words?

  7. Miriam Joy says:

    Good luck with the book, now that it’s out there — hopefully you’ll find some new readers as well as existing Protag people, who are likely to support you because they’re nice like that :) Also, wahey for joining in 2009! Admittedly I think there were quite a few of us, but still … I joined then, so SOLIDARITY and all that.

    As for the questions you gave us to answer in comments… I’m currently working on a Victorian-era sci-fi novel which is … interesting. (Explaining space ships to poorly educated Victorian street kids? No thanks.) I’m primarily writing it as revenge because Charley (SpookOfNight) killed a character I really liked in her novel, so I’m writing this one to maximise emotional pain at the hands of fictional characters for her. I might look into publishing when it’s done, but I don’t know. I’m also querying another novel. I still don’t know 100% if I’ll go traditional with that — after co-writing St Mallory’s Forever, which was a completely painless indie-publishing experience, I’m tempted to continue along that path, but as a full-time student I’m not sure I can take the full responsibility myself and I’d quite like to hand over things like cover design and whatnot to a publisher…

    • Solidarity indeed! :) Protaggers are a very nice bunch of people, that’s a truth. You know, I’ve always enjoyed the old school science fiction stuff – Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues, etc. Spaceships could only make it that much more entertaining.

      And, wait, SpookOfNight is a she? I don’t know how I never caught that before. I’m certain I looked at his her profile at some point, but I never caught that for some reason. Maybe the name Charley threw me off. Hmm. Well, you learn something new every day.

  8. Great Book. I Can’t wait for a sequel!

    Congrats on getting Self-published. I’m also a self published author at the age of 12 and my book just got released. I’m new to protagonize but I hope to write lots of stories here! Visit my site for more info on my novel. If you could do a little review for my book, that would be great. I hope you like it!

    Thanks and Good luck with the book,
    Nhaveein :)

    • Hi Nhaveein, it’s great to hear you’ve got a book out at such a young age. I don’t personally do reviews at the moment, but if you’re looking for resources has a great list of people who do. Pretty much anyone who will do a review will ask for a free review copy; most will take ebook format, though there are the rare few who ask for print copies. Good luck, and I hope you enjoy your time at Protagonize!

  9. Burndtree says:

    Congratz, Gandel, on publishing Book 1! And Thanks for sharing your experiences self-publishing; very informative. It’s less a mine field now we have your map.

    I know I’m not alone in shouting from the rooftops I too share your appreciation for Protag. I’d been writing for years before, not well enough though. Protag and the many souls met there are making me a better writer, I’m certain. If ever I’m blessed with kids…and a wife, yeah…I’d name ’em all Nick, even the girls.

    In answer to your first question: Yes, I’m working on a story I hope to publish someday. I prefer ‘story’ to ‘book’. ‘Book’ sounds more daunting the task, though of course a story can also be a book. This story will be. I am headed toward Step 1, during available hours.

    In answering your other questions: I haven’t anything I’d be satisfied to see self-published. Not yet. In my years before Protag I did the SASE-thing, submitted stuff to traditional publishers, collected only form rejections. I’m not crying, though: my ideas were good, my execution wasn’t. And I write for fun.

    I like your free marketing philosophy, Gandel. Keep the story available – FREE, FOLKS! – put it out there in front of all who want to read it. All in hope of growing an audience who will (a) want to read me and read more, and (b) like what they read enough to tell their friends, who may also like me enough, and perhaps keep me in dark chocolate and bandwidth…some day, some place nice, not too estate-like.

    Joking aside, your philosophy has helped me make up my mind about my current story, the book-sized one. I’ve been wanting to give something back to Protag. The story. At the same time I admit I want to see it someday published, published outside Protag. Though I have a ways to go to reach Step 1, when I reach it I probably now won’t be going to a traditional bricks-and-mortar publisher. Frankly, I’ve always felt they expect a lot for their part as half of a creative partnership, where the writer produces all the content. They do the printing, whatever marketing, sure. They negotiate the best deal they can for themselves in royalties and publishing rights, naturally. It’s a business. They’re sure to insist strict adherence for one thing to NOT PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ELSEWHERE. I string of binding words, and I can no longer give my story to Protag. Perhaps not even sample chapters. It’s enough to set me bristling.

    Thanks again, Gandel, for showing I can walk another less bristly path.

    • Hey Burndtree, thanks for the comment. I’m glad my guest post could help. Keep on writing, you’ll get your book finished eventually. Took me three years or so to get mine done, after all, but there it is. :)

  10. Matt says:

    A very insightful read!

    Sadly to say, that I haven’t read your story, but after reading this (I read it only because I’m pursuing self-publishing my own work), I have to read your book now! Steampunk and magic…I can’t pass that up!

  11. Tyler says:

    Congrats on the self-publishing :D I hope it sells well for you!

    I’m curious – when you publish it, are there any issues with having it posted here on protagonize as well or would that only be an issue with a traditional publisher?

    Personally, I used to write as an escape; I suffer quite badly from depression and always have, so at about thirteen I started venting it into little stories. I discovered protagonize and it became a fun hobby as well as a constructive outlet. Because I was writing so much, I was almost inevitably improving and my perfectionist side was striving for my writing to be the best I could possibly make it all the time – it helped, of course, that people seem to enjoy what I write here. There’s nothing quite as encouraging as positive feedback from strangers who are in no way obliged to love what you write the same way a family member is. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I would love to publish a book and for people to enjoy it. If I make some money off it then that’s a bonus. I was always taught to do what I love because I love it, not because it’ll make money :)

    • Hey Tyler, that’s a good question. Because I’m publishing it on my own there isn’t any rights issues with having it here on Protagonize as well as out in the world. I hold all the rights to it, so I can do whatever I like. It would probably be an issue with traditional publishers, since a publishing contract usually gives them exclusive rights to a work for a period of time.

  12. Ebooks have been sent out to everybody that left a comment, except for Elorithryn who specifically said she didn’t want one. If you didn’t get an email with a copy of the book as an attachment, be sure to let me know.

    • Hi Mark Sargent!

      Just noticed your comment. As you said that you have emailed an attachment of the story you wrote to everybody who posted a comment. I haven’t received an email yet. I hope I’ll receive it soon.


      • Hey Nhaveein, I emailed you with this information but I figured I’d put it here as well, just in case. I’m on vacation just now, and don’t have access to the epub file, but if you want you can download it from Smashwords. It’s currently listed under the “user sets price” option, so if you go to buy it just enter a price of zero and it’ll be yours for free. Hopefully that works!

  13. Lily says:

    It’s really awesome you’re self-published! I’m actually working on a story- or a few- that I’d like to publish one day. I’m just not sure whether or not it’s really good enough to be published yet and I’m not sure if I do end up go ahead with it, whether or not I’d like to self-publish or go the traditional route. Either way, I’d love to one day be a published author and I’m so happy for you that you’ve done it! :)

    • You’ll never know if it’s good enough until you try, right? :) I do hope you finish it and give publishing a try. Good luck with whichever route you eventually choose, be it self published or traditional.

      What sort of story is it, if you don’t mind my asking?

  14. Clive says:

    Great work in the form of this novel. Sadly I haven’t read this book yet but went through the reviews of the book. Good work also waiting for the sequel of this book as you told in one of your interviews with R.J.Blain on his blog.

  15. ElzuWolfe says:

    Congratulations on self-publishing!

    I for one love self-publishing; it’s a great sense of achievement if nothing else. Glorya did my editing, but other than that I was happy to do everything myself. I have only done my poetry, but I’d love to move on to novels.

    I agree that the hardest part is marketing – you really have to try everything you can to stand out nowadays.

    Best of luck!

  16. Jennifer Torres says:

    I know what you mean about Protagonize being the motivation needed to finish a book. I’ve had a million stories floating around in my head for years now but haven’t had the motivation to put them down on paper. I joined three days ago and, on that first day I decided to give one of my stories a shot. A few minutes later, someone commented saying that they enjoyed it and that they were looking forward to the rest. From then on I was hooked. Someone was actually reading what I had written, and not only that, they actually enjoyed it! I’ve written over four thousand words of my book since I joined three days ago, and when I do finish it I will be sure to come back to your blog for publishing advice!

  17. Mikko Azul says:

    Hi Mark,

    Great guest blog! Got to you through the San Francisco Writer’s Conference facebook page post. Your info and insight are appreciated! My debut novel Askari won an indie publishing package as first prize for the SFWC conference a couple years ago and has gone on to win other awards. However, its sales are dismal – mostly because I’m a writer and not a marketer! I especially liked your idea of giving the first book away in order to attract readers and to entice them to purchase other books. I think I’ll try that when my sequel is finished. It’s sound advice that I’m glad is getting more credibility from indie authors. Looking forward to checking out your book, it sounds fantastic!

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