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Thank you for visiting OpheliaKee.com. This is the home for all of my books, blogs, videos, and serial stories. I encourage you to be nosey and check everything out. Today, I wanted to talk with you about how I got started self-publishing among other things.
Back in the spring of 2018, I was halfway through writing the sixth volume in the Draoithe Saga when I got the bright idea that I should try publishing. That was when I got stuck on query letters and plot arcs. (I still can’t figure out that kind of rocket science.) I also learned that vanity publishing is expensive, v-e-r-y expensive, and I’m not that vain nor that rich.
Then I learned that people self-published books all the time. Hell, some of my favorite authors were self-published. Who knew? Not me. I was intrigued. (Did you notice that I’m a tiger?)
Curiosity killing a cat and whatnot led me to learn that I could simply upload my book to Amazon, and when people saw it, they would buy it, read it, review it, etc… It’s not that easy, but it’s also not that difficult. Just follow the step-by-step instructions.
Self-publishing sounded serious and difficult, but a lot of people did it. I kept thinking about it and kept writing. The idea took root in my mind. It was almost like a sign. I could be my own boss and decide everything. I like being in charge of things.
Self-publishing was Free. Now that word caught my attention and I knew that was how I’d publish the book(s). (In my mind, it’s one long story.)
I had no extra money. I was a school teacher with two teenage kids. There wasn’t enough money, much less extra money. (When you read the first book, try not to read too much of my life into it. I just needed to start somewhere. That book isn’t an autobiography despite my theft of Eli Miller's portrait as my author icon.)
When did anyone ever have extra money? Yeah, don’t buy that lie. Extra money doesn’t exist. It’s a fabrication we dream of that can’t happen.
So I tried self-publishing. It took me days to figure out. The first time felt like fighting with a killer who was intent on stopping my forward progress. I wasn't ready.
What I had by that point was a very well-edited and seriously over-read manuscript, but that, my friend, isn’t a book. Those fancy little entertainment packages require covers and a whole host of front matter pages as well as back matter pages.
Laugh. I did. How is that not obvious, you ask? It should have been, but to quote Stephen A North, “I’m going to throw myself under the bus here and admit my extreme naivete.” (He’s my favorite Sci-fi author.)
I had a story. I didn’t have a cover. I also didn’t have a lot of other things found inside a book that isn’t the story. For example, I had no title page and no ‘about the author’ page.
The ‘other works by Ophelia Kee’ page was missing, but I didn’t have other works so I wasn’t too worried about that then. What about a table of contents, page numbers, chapter numbers, or a copyright page? No, so… Back to the drawing board.
It turns out that publishing a book also requires formatting. I had no money with which to pay someone for covers or formatting. What I did have were a manuscript and a brain, so I used it.
I learned about covers, epubs, and pdfs. I studied print books and created an ‘about the author page’, created an image for my cover, and reformatted my manuscript into an ebook and also a paperback. (Later I learned about Draft 2 Digital and finally bought Atticus software, but more on that stuff in some other blog post.)
I did all that around my full-time day job and all my other crazy responsibilities. The writing drug had me addicted hardcore and I used it as a gateway drug to get into the new realm of self-publishing. The hurdles were jumped undaunted even if I knew I had a long way to go if I would sell my stories.
I tried again to self-publish. It took three days to do it. The second time I sat down to look at my recently created KDP dashboard, I published A Pack Forms as a 76,000+ word paranormal romance and urban fantasy over Memorial Day weekend in 2018. It was beyond awesome when I got the paperback approved.
Looking back, the story was good and the packaging was all trash. Still, it was the best I could do then. I was proud that I had done it. Maybe it wasn't the greatest BOAT (greatest book of all time for those of you who missed the sports reference). But it was my book. I was a published author. I had accomplished the task.
It made no money. No one read it. No one knew it existed, but I knew. Somehow, that was far more important than any amount of money I could have earned. You see, I had not only written a book, but I had also published a book. It was no longer that I could do that. It was that I had done that! The next step was to repeat the entire process and improve upon it.
And that’s the truth of how the dream was published. It wasn't long before I learned I could publish on other platforms like Barnes and Noble, Google, and Kobo. So I set out to build author accounts there. I did publish a few stories early on.
Don't worry if you missed that. Everyone missed it. I pulled all the books off and went exclusive with Kindle Unlimited for a long while.
As the day job became too intense, I couldn't manage all the other platforms. I was too new at all of it and seriously lacked the knowledge to be able to play the game well. (Wait, that's still true, only now I'm published wide. Oh well, too late now. I already jumped into the deep end. It's sink or swim and I ain't sinking.) That's a topic for a different post.
Okay, I have slowly begun the process to review keywords and blurbs on Amazon. Until I figure out ads or ever have money, I must use free promotional strategies like placing ads on my blog. I hope you don't mind seeing some of what I have planned. The above is an idea for a five-part miniseries set in Juneau, Alaska. I might get it finished someday. The cover art will likely change, but this is a rough draft for the Kyngs Wilde series. I'm still toying with name spellings.
I've also begun a Free Amazon Ads Course by Kindlepreneur. It's a work at your own pace-style webinar. I haven't finished the intro yet. I'll report back on how well it goes when I finish and attempt to implement it.
I write, edit, and publish my stories, and I also create covers and promotional art. I've been crafting videos with all of the research that goes into writing the stories and I write the blog which supports the newsletter and the video blog. I'm still interested in creating AI audiobooks and videobooks. I also want to increase my Youtube presence. I've produced several book trailers, and I want to create more. Everything has a home on Payhip, and my social media leads back to that home. My marketing is a bit circuitous and I hope that's positive.
I almost had merchandise figured out once, but the expense and hassle of maintaining my previous web page were too much. I'll get it figured out one day. When I do, the Gift Shop will open at OpheliaKee.com.
In the end, what I'm doing is creating an experience that goes beyond being an author, a publisher, or an amateur marketer. The dream is more than a side hustle hoping to become the main hustle. It's a creative passion project that I want to share with those who enjoy a good fantasy escape. To that end, I'd like to invite you to experience the worldbuilding of Ophelia Kee as I create it. Come and see what's next and let me know what you enjoy. Welcome to the dream...
Shameless Self Promotion
I need your help! I need some reviews. The Thread is a short read. It's a prologue story. It's a silly little look at the backstory for Luke and Eli. Some of this was salvaged from the cutting room floor. Still, it has value because it allows the reader to see where the two main characters came from and how they managed to wind up in the situation in life that they were each in when they met.
It's FREE on practically every platform for books on the Internet. It may be in some places I can't even remember. Search engine optimization and all, right? Did I mention that it's FREE? I mean, if you're asked to pay for it, email me. I'll send you an e-copy.
Lots of people download it. Which I truly do appreciate. The problem? I can't seem to get reviews. I don't have a handle on marketing the books at all. I'm still floundering around like an idiot with no clue that Jaws is lurking just beneath the surface ready to attack. Reviews matter for social proof. I need them to do paid promotions of a FREE book on many reputable promotion sites.
I'm afraid of using paid review sites because many publishing platforms are seriously against paid reviews. Also, where is that money coming from? I know you have to have money to make money, but I never have money. So what's a tiger to do? Beg for help.
I mean what else can I do? I suppose I could threaten to eat all the readers who download my book and don't leave a review. That might work. If I had done that, there would be a lot of dead people who'd been eaten by a tiger and I'm sure that I'd be hunted into personal extinction. Not to mention all the people who liked the prologue and went on to buy A Pack Forms and then other tales. Yeah, I better just beg.
What's that? What's the blurb look like? Well, it's awful (Did I mention I think I'm awful at writing blurbs?), but here it is:
Prologue for A Pack Forms Draoithe Volume 1
Meet Luke and Eli before they meet one another. Both have secrets they don’t want to share.
He agonizes over how to introduce himself. She’s finished with men controlling her life. Both have pasts that make everything complicated.
Can he overcome his anxiety? Can she trust a man?
Steamy Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Saga 18+ HEA! NC! Fated Mates
***Warning: Adult Themes, Fantasy Violence, and/or Explicit Sexual Situations. Intended for a Mature Audience.
So, even if the cover is a bit tiger-style and the blurb is awful, I need to know what people think about the story. More importantly, readers need to know what other readers think about it. I'm working on a new blurb. I'm debating a different cover. Not holding out much hope that the cover or my blurb writing will improve.
So... pretty please with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry on top? Will you leave a review for The Thread? Any platform you enjoy would be perfect. I know it's hard and takes a few minutes, but any kind word would be extremely helpful. I'd sincerely appreciate it. When you read, please be kind and take the time to leave a review.
I have to run away. Work calls. Lunch is nearly over as I write this post. Back to the grind.
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Thank you for your support! Sincerely, -OK