2014 – a look back at my self-publishing year

Kirsten Arcadio's writing deskWhat worked

ALLI  (The Alliance of Independent Authors)

This is a fabulous organisation I’d highly receommend to any indie or self-published author. The people in the Alliance are (mostly) worth their weight in gold and the network provides a place where you can go to others for advise and collaboration.

Orangeberry blog tours

This worked pretty well and for a small amount of money and some prepared blog content I received some fabulous blog coverage on my second book, Split Symmetry.

Collaboration (through ALLI)

This worked best of all. As in any other walk of life, joining forces with strong partners will provide the best leverage to any marketing campaign. I was lucky enough to join CJLyons’s independent book day in July (for free), and the coverage it garnered got my first book, Borderliners, to the top 100 free downloads in Amazon that day.

Free promos on Amazon

This also worked pretty well with all my books succeeding in attracting thousands of downloads each during the promos I ran. Apparently these work even better in conjunction with BookBub, but I haven’t done this yet. One to try…

Live events

Meeting people at The London Book Fair paid dividends in good advice later in the year. I was also given the chance to go to further events in person, but did not have the time to take them up. However, this was ill-advised. Live events and networking leads to collaboration which leads to…leverage.

What didn’t work

Blog review sites

If I had my time again, I would never never never ever use one. I cannot stress enough to the unsuspecting newbie how ill advised this was on my part. Posting my book file for a limited amount of time to one such site in return for a few reviews plunged my first book headlong into a cesspit of troll reviewers. If you’ve not come across these before, you will. And avoiding blog review sites is one way to delay the first meeting with them.


As wonderful as it is for indexing my own reads and sharing them with acquaintances, I don’t believe this network is a self-publisher’s friends. Again, it is full of trolls just waiting to post negative reviews. Anne Rice (author of Interview with a Vampire) has written a lot on the subject, and after she ousted a few such trolls earlier in the year, I learned how to better recognise them. I noticed that Goodreads had too many of them on there, so even after running successful Goodreads giveaways, I am doubtful I’ll use them again.

Wattpadd and Authonomy

Again, not a fan (for the reasons above). If you need peer reviews, go to ALLI or use your own trusted networks.

And finally

There were many things I didn’t do, but should have. And next year I will do them!

Email sign up

…everywhere, but especially at the back of books – I do have this in my books but I don’t think it is working. 2015 will be a time when I iron all this out.

More things to try

  • Blogger outreach and shared content
  • Friends in high places (I have some, I don’t use them)
  • Add value – the old social media adge. Many self-pubbed authors also offer something else, usually non fiction self help guides or reviews. My additional value won’t be either, but I’ll think of something
  • Better books – I go by the wisdom that the more you write the better you’ll be.


Here’s to 2015 – Happy New Year!


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