So... in the softest of soft launches, I have thrown my first novel over the wall and it is a real book -- with a cover, and a title page, and an author bio, and everything. Not that I actually expect any sales (other than my mom -- thanks Mom!) at the moment. Without a marketing plan, how would anyone know it is there?
The consensus among people who self-publish is that book three is the one to start really working on marketing with. Before that point you can get people to read your book, but without other books to purchase, the returns just aren't there. (Note: this is very different from traditional publishing where most publishers will drop an author before the third book is published if there aren't strong sales from the start. Traditional publishing and self-publishing are very, very different beasts.)
All that is to say that I don't have much of a marketing plan, and I'm okay with that at the moment. It leaves me with more free time to work on the next book, and also to figure out some of the technical challenges, which are legion.
Uploading the book to Amazon (both ebook and print) was simple. You just log in, give it all the information, load the book in the right format, load the cover in the right format, and click the button to publish. Kobo was simple. Barnes & Noble (ebook and print) was simple, at least I thought it was. Draft2Digital (an aggregator which distributes to a bunch of other places, including libraries) was a piece of cake. Then I tried to upload to Apple Books.
I'd heard stories about how hard it was to get books onto Apple. Most of those stories were from people who had a PC, which... it's a little weird that it wouldn't just be an OS-agnostic web site to upload the epub, but I wasn't that worried because I have a Mac. But now... Let's just say I eventually decided that letting Draft2Digital distribute to Apple (and losing another 10% of the profit) was the way to go.
Somewhere in all this, B&N sent me email to tell me there was a problem with my paperback ISBN, so... at the moment only Amazon will sell the paperback. (Or maybe not! When I went to make sure I had the right links, both ebook and paperback are showing up for sale at B&N, so I have no clue! Ha ha! No clue!)
Anyhow, I see this as an excellent reason to hold off on the marketing plan until book three. Maybe by then I'll have figured out the ISBN issue. Maybe by then I'll have the mailing list that everyone swears I need to have. And maybe by then I'll have figured out the secret to Apple Books.
Stranger things have happened!
Oh, and if you're curious -- here are the ones that seem to be active already:
And maybe it's available other places! Honestly, I have no idea. This whole being an author thing is very exciting!