Rejection Was Not an Option

Guest Post by Jonna Ivin

Jonna Ivin used Amazon’s CreateSpace service to self-publish her  memoir, Will Love For Crumbs. In this invited guest post you will read the inside story behind her decision and her experience carrying it out.

Will Love For Crumbs CoverWhen I was first asked to write about my experience in self-publishing, the thing that kept running through my mind was, “I have nothing to add on this topic that hasn’t already been written about. Knowing this going in I decided to do what I always do when faced with a new challenge, write from my own experience and write the truth.

The truth is, when I finished writing my memoir Will Love For Crumbs, I didn’t have the first clue what to do with it. I knew one thing for sure, I had no desire to write letters to publishers, wait to be told I could submit a few chapters then wait some more, maybe be told I had been accepted and then spend more and more time waiting for my book to finally be released. Of course I knew all along this process that the possibility of rejection would hang over my head. But rejection was not an option for me. That was the second thing I knew for sure.

I figured the best way to avoid being rejected was to not ask to be accepted because If I didn’t ask permission then no one could tell me no. It was the first time I was completely prepared to call the shots in my own life, well, maybe not prepared, but determined. Being firmly set on knowing what I didn’t want, I then focused on going after what I did want. What I wanted was to see my project through to the end. I wanted to hold a printed copy of my book in my hand and know that I had finished what I said I was going to do. For me the decision was simple, I would self-publish. But where to begin? I knew nothing about self-publishing, but what I did know was as long as someone out there had done it before me, then all I had to do was follow their path. And so I began to Google it.

I read everything I could on self-publishing and most of what I read kept leading me to Amazon. From there I learned that there were two options, Kindle and paperback. I went for both. Why not? I had nothing to lose. I won’t go into the actual step by step process because Amazon and CreateSpace have already laid it out much better than I could ever explain it. I simply took each step one at a time and did what the instructions told me to do.

I was alone at the office late one night when the moment came for me to hit the publish button. I was nervous, excited and I’ll admit, a little scared. Okay, a lot scared. I’d written about the most personal parts of my life and now all of it was floating around cyberspace for anyone to read. I was terrified people would actually read it, but even more, I was terrified that they wouldn’t. I posted a little blurb on Facebook announcing to my friends and family that my book was available, then drove home, crawled into bed and went to sleep, once again having no idea what the next step would be.

Will Love For Crumbs began selling a few copies a day, and I was slowly building up my social networks, adding friends, joining groups and participating in conversations. I think it’s really important to be strategic when participating on social media sites. Most importantly you must be “social”. Going in and flooding a site with links to your book is not only boring, but most often annoys people. I put my focus on memoirs and relationships and when I found interesting articles or books on these topics I reposted them. I’m always looking for new ways to reach a wider audience and supporting other writers is a great way to start.

I also took advantage of the KDP Select Program to offer my book for free. Valentine’s Day was approaching and I thought since my memoir is called Will Love For Crumbs it would be a funny tie-in to the holiday. I offered free downloads for three days, using the tag line of, “Don’t worry about your crappy love life – read about mine instead.” During the promotion there were over 21,000 downloads of my book. I was beyond thrilled with the results.

I’ve been asked by some people, “Why would you give away your book for free? Aren’t you afraid of all the money you’ll lose?” My answer is always the same, “I didn’t lose anything. Those 21,000 people would have never even heard of my book if it hadn’t been available for free. I would gladly give 100,000 copies of my book away. The whole point for me is to reach the widest audience possible and in order to do that I have to reach beyond family and friends.” And it worked. After that weekend I began to get more and more reviews on Amazon and Goodreads which continued to lead to more sales. I began to receive numerous friend requests on Facebook, opportunities for interviews and guest blogs but more importantly readers started to reach out to me to say that I had written a book that described how they had felt and what they had experienced in their lives. That alone is worth any number of free books.

My best advice to anyone who is thinking of self publishing is to just go for it. Write the best book you can and then throw it out into the Universe and see what comes back. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, the playing field is even. No one can tell you no and rejection is not an option.

Write now: Read  a guest post on Memoir Writer’s Journey about Jonna’s experience with writing her memoir, read my review of Will Love For Crumbs, and visit Jonna’s  website and Facebook page..

9 comments :

Linda Austin said...

Jonna, I appreciate the comments on your KDP Select experience. I'm formatting my indie-pubbed print book manuscript now for Kindle (finally) and wondered if it was worth signing for the Select freebie option. Sounds like it was definitely worthwhile. Thanks!

Jonna said...

Absolutely Linda! Even with all of our friends, family, co-workers, etc. etc. there are only a certain number of people we can reach. Giving the book away for free on Amazon is the best (In my opinion) publicity you can get.

Josh Stallings said...

Linda, so glad you had the courage to put yourself out there. I agree the goal of writing is to reach the most people as possible. Most people hear about books from other readers. Its a word of mouth world. So the more reading it the more people talking about it.

Linda Hoye said...

Great post, Jonna. I've been mulling over KDP and your comments may have just pushed me off of the fence. Looking forward to reading your book.

Sherrey said...

Fascinating and encouraging post on self-publishing, Jonna. Thanks for reminding us we have options.

Linda Joy Myers said...

All we have to do is be willing! Thank you Jonna for sharing your inspiration and your confession--esp. about being scared! Memoir writing is so exposing, but you used your new mantra in life to make new things happen. Congratulations!

kathleen said...

Jonna,

The more I hear about your self-publishing journey, the more entralled and inspired I am! Thank you for showing us all how having the courage to stand in your truth and share your story can transform lives.I look forward to hearing more from you.

Congratulations!

SuziCate said...

I first heard of your boom when Sharon posted a review on FB. She gave it such a good review I immediately downloaded to my kindle. I couldn't put it down until I finished. You did a superb job getting your story out there and making your reader feel as if they were there with you the entire time. Thank you for publishing your story.

Jonna Ivin said...

Thanks everyone for all the wonderful feedback! Just to let you know I will be a guest for the April Roundtable discussion at NAMW discussing in greater detail my process with self-publishing. Hope to "see" you there!

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