July 6, 2015

Self-Publishing Challenges

By Maritza Martinez Mejia

My journey as s self-publishing author is no different from for any other writer I have met, I did not want to face rejections or wait for months without an answer from publishers. Therefore, I decided to publish my own books using a local editor and a local publisher. I felt I could call myself a writer when I received my first printed book, yet selling without begging was a milestone.

When I published my first book, I created an Author Facebook Page to promote my memoir and Amazon Author Page to follow the progress of my sales. LIKES and SALES came as small drops in a clear sky. It was a challenge to understand the process to post, edit, add photos, and delete. When I was getting familiar with the process, Facebook changed its features and added new ones. I posted daily updates, but it seemed my words were simply lost in virtual space, without replies to my comments. When someone would unexpectedly respond, it was a mesmerizing moment that vanished in seconds, since the nice words didn’t produce any sales (according to Amazon). I decided to do something about it.

First, I joined a local library writer’s group to learn more about the publishing and promoting process. It helped me get ready to publish my second title. I noticed the importance of electronic media and converted my paperback titles into e-books. However, I realized I didn’t know how to convince people to buy my books. Using Facebook as my only tool and waiting for people to buy on Amazon was not going to sell many books. I didn’t have any strategy, just the desire to publish my books. I realized I was not a writer, but a dreamer.

Second, I recognized the importance of a Marketing Plan and a small Budget for Promotion. I decided to take another route and follow a simple plan: 
*Improve my writing style before publishing my next Bilingual Children Book. I took a writing seminar online and a local College workshop.
*Enhance my poor website with support of a professional in computers.
*Look for opportunities to expose my books at local events. For instance, I booked myself into a local library event and a classroom visit to a k-8 school in the area.
*Invest in business cards and brochures to promote my books.
*Use other Social Media such as Facebook Writers Groups, Goodreads, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. I forgot about the Likes and became part of the audience.

Third, before publishing my first poetry book, I reserved a space at a Family Reading Festival to release my book. I promoted on the Social Media I was part of. The results came organically, sales and reviews began to feed my Amazon Author Page and LIKES jumped faster than expected.

Last, I submitted all my titles for reviews and competitions. Two of my Bilingual Children Books received a Five Stars Reader’s Favorite Award and I was promoted as Author on Goodreads.
My Author name became visible and demanded that I have a Book Trailer. I gathered all photos, book events and used Movie Maker to create it. As soon as I posted on YouTube it gave me the option to share it with Thirteen Social Media sites, I was only part of four. Technology is advancing faster than I was prepared for; there is so much to learn about this new cyber world.

One thing is clear, a marketing plan and a small budget for promotion are important. One event leads to another and one big effort brings a small reward. Writing is a challenge for career authors or indie writers. Don’t give up!
Maritza Martinez Mejia a bilingual substitute teacher born in Colombia lives in Florida with her husband and their two teenagers. For her active participation and service to the community, she is the recipient of the "Crystal Apple Award 2006." Maritza published her memoir "Hazel Eyes" (2010), "Vanilla and Chocolate" (2012), "Grandma's Treasure" (2014), and "Poems, Thoughts and More" (2015) by WRB Publishing. She won the FAU Treasure Coast Poetry Contest Spring 2010 and Virtue Christian Book Awards for Best Poetry 2015. Both Bilingual Children Books received a FIVE Stars Seal Review by Reader's Favorite. Maritza obtained a Bachelor's degree in Humanities with a Certificate in Women's Studies from Florida Atlantic University. She graduated from Universidad Mayor de Cundinamarca in Commerce and Foreign Language. She translated into Spanish "Temporary Permanence" by Yashi Nozawa, "The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid" by Janet Balletta, and "Hazel Eyes" as "Ojos Avellana." Maritza writes to inspire others to be better persons. "I write to inspire others to be a better person." Author page:  Website: