The DIY Network (of One)

How I became my own self-publishing conglomerate.

The DIY Network (of One)

I’m a self-taught self-publishing nerd.

I publish my own books under a company I made up (St. Austin’s Press, named after St. Austin’s Place, where I lived on Staten Island). I create my own covers, with a little help from artwork purchased for a proverbial song. I do my own editing, with diminishing help from friends I’ve abused over the years.

I have become so adept at Amazon KDP publishing that I’ve been urged to sell my “talents.” I did, once, to a friend who insisted on paying me.

I also do my own marketing and spend, perhaps, an average of $100 a month on it. I have a friendly accountant who’s a wizard with business deductions at tax time. We’ll probably have adjoining cells at some point in the near future.

And now I’m creating a new website on my own.

All of this is time-consuming, which is probably why I’m not getting rich from any of it. I’m sure that if one of my grandkids ran my “shop,” everything would go lickety-split. And with all my free time, I could knock my 26 golf handicap down to 25.

Nah! I’m sticking with DIY all the way.

For marketing, I’m thinking about increasing my budget. Self-publishing is all about self-selling. Right now, I’m getting many good ideas from New Shelves Books, which offers a free weekly webinar where people can interact with the host, Keri-Rae Barnum, and each other. It’s very informal. The webinar is recorded, and access to past segments is easy. Keri-Rae also posts advice, by category, on a blog and YouTube. I’m not a touchy-feely guy and usually abhor meetings about self-publishing, but “Free Advice Friday” is the best I’ve found.

As for improving my website, just shoot me. I’m doing it myself. It’s not easy, but I became so disgusted with my old site and its maddening quirks (such as being “timed out” seconds after I’ve started working on it) that I decided to build a new one from scratch. I think my Amazon page is terrific, but everyone says I should have my own website, too, just in case Jeff Bezos goes to Mars, and Amazon is sold to a private equity firm or something.

I’ve looked at other author websites, some of which have so many bells, whistles, and buttons, they could qualify as a video game. My site will be basic and probably boring. It will also have a few buttons, but I’m pretty sure people won’t accidentally launch an ICBM after pushing them.

Pretty sure.

Lawrence De Maria has written more than a score of thrillers and mysteries on Amazon. They are all available in print and as e-books, including his latest, Joshua House. He is an expert on writing fiction, especially when filling out his golf scorecard. He doesn’t earn a farthing for promoting New Shelves Books, by the way, which is another reason he’s not getting rich.

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