Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The First Seven Days-Thoughts on Self Publishing

So guys, for those of y'all who know, our first release "The Mark of Noba" dropped last week.
It was a whirlwind of fun, and we wanted to highlight the experience the best way we could.
The release was celebrated with a Blog Tour from Lola's Blog Tours.

We should also note, even though we've mentioned it before, "The Mark of Noba" is currently on Netgalley until late September, and is enrolled in KU. That means you can request it on Netgalley and hope for the best you get approved, or you can read it under KU if you have it(I'm sure most don't).

I think what we liked about doing a Book Blitz, Netgalley and the KDP Program, was that we didn't have to solicit people to review it.

We've been book bloggers for three years, so we know the approaches that don't work in approaching bloggers for review requests, but we'd been turned down more than accepted =D

Which is ok! As book blogger too, life is too short to read something you don't want to, and overwhelm yourself with requests if you have too many to begin with. Between the both of us, we're reading like 24 books, based off of review requests, promises to friends, and personal reads. 

It's really overwhelming to take on every request, so we're pretty stoked the options we gave above have really worked for us so far.

Netgalley we choose to go through with a co-op. The typical cost is $600 smackaroonies for a merely 6 month(and one title!), but with a co-op you can buy an option that works for you. If you're a writer who can dish out multiple books, a year round tour might work best! If not, a month would be you better!

I believe the statistics state certain books get requested more than others. Contemporary Romance, either YA or NA, or women driven Paranormal themed books I believe get the most requests. Also, after about 4-6 weeks, your book might get pushed back on any list that it's on, so it may not get as many requests after that time frame.

And while there are pros and cons, so far the pros have outweighed the cons.

I'd focus on the pros and cons on a post specifically in the future, but for now, I just want to talk about the first seven days of the release.


We got about, 8 reviews since this 3 week process. We were a bit disorganized, but we'll know for next time how much time to put before a pre-release of a book!

As book bloggers ourselves, I don't think there are bad reviews. I think reviews that don't openly praise a book, are just hinting that that reader may not be your target audience.

Interestingly enough, we have not reached who initially wanted to target. Our "avatar" is a Black teen girl who is possibly struggling or accepting her sexuality and coming into her own.

Nearly all the folks who've read it have been mostly White. That surprises us. It's not just People of Color who are seeking diverse books.

One of the reasons we see Black girls and women as our target audience, is because our main character Tetra. She's a dark skinned woman(Black in our world, but the terms are not used where the book is set)who is analytic. In her world(The main characters are born to different worlds than they live)they don't rely on white lies, and don't view it as rude to be honest, even when you don't want to hear the truth.
She's also pansexual(also perceived as bisexual too), and confused by gender roles in her current world. 

We were so scared people wouldn't like her, because she's not what you would call a "likeable" heroine. Since her concern isn't to be likeable, we just weren't sure how folks would take on to her.

With the reviews we've gotten, so far, only one of them have stated that Tetra is less relatable than Sterling. Sterling is a little average and knows it, but he balances it out with humor and sarcasm, which we're glad folks caught!

Tetra relies on honesty, and to an reader, she could also be considered humorous. We're so happy to say most people liked or loved Tetra, and that brings us nothing but joy, because she was the very first character created in the beginning.

We don't care for stars. I think we live in a really number obsessed culture, and even though we star books ourselves, stars don't necessarily highlight whether we enjoyed the book, just what we look for in a book.

We'll shout from the rooftops how great the Pendragon series is, but the prose is tell-y, and rarely rates higher than a 2.75 with me =D But the story being told is amazing, and the diversity is so on point, that it sucks a person viewing it assumes it's a "bad" review just because it's not a 5 star.
The reviews so far have told us what folks liked and disliked. That's all we care about.

We're so sorry for a major character dying! We know someone grew attached to them! But unfortunately, there will probably be causalities in every book =( The story's villain are soul-eaters, so even though we wish every single amazing character can live XD They just wont be able to...

Sterling has been described as mundane, which is intentional. He's a normal teenager, and we didn't want him to be good just because he learned he and Tetra are the same.
His character arc will grow, and he'll be less mundane(and less of everything folks don't connect to when it comes to him)but this book, we let him be a normal teenager, who has a crush on a girl, takes care of his mom, and stands in the shadows of his friends.

But so far, the book has been well perceived. We even got our first fangirl! 

The downside to reviews? Amazon blows! We had a few Goodreads reviews that couldn't transfer over to Amazon because they weren't American, so we don't have as many Amazon reviews as Goodreads.

Sales Rank:

We're definitely not breaking any records or anything, but for 7 days straight, we consistently stayed in the Top 100 of our category. Take in mind, it doesn't take much, since it categorized it as a Time Travel novel. But we even made Number #1 on Amazon's Hot New releases in Children's Time Travel Novels, really helping the book's exposure =D
On the regular list in our category(not Hot New Releases) I think the highest we ranked was #11. I don't think that's bad for a relatively unknown!

Since we're in KDP, we'll talk about that in future posts too, but that also helps your sales rank.

We know folks are not crazy about it, but it definitely helps your sales rank when no one knows who you are =D

Book's Perception:

The Mark of Noba is perceived mainly as a Science Fiction book. That's interesting, because we perceive it as a Portal Fantasy book.

The Time Travel aspect is definitely what makes it hint at Sci-Fi, but Sci-Fi takes a lot of knowledge and jargon that we simply don't use!

Some have commented on the world building. Some like it, some find it difficult to follow. That's understandable. The world is Geo, and slightly mirrors Earth(Both worlds exist, just so you know)so we didn't want to use our concept of race in their world.

They use "Types" to describe their skin color. It's based off the Fitzpatrick Scale. 

I think that might confuse, because even if you're a different race in our world, you could be the same Type in Geo. Obviously a Korean-American girl is going to be tan if she's from California, as opposed to in South Korean where pale skin is favored. But in Geo, An Asian girl can be the same color as a fair skinned Black girl, and be the same Type. 

With our world building, we tried to go really simple, because from here on out, it might be a little more confusing, since they'll visits different worlds every book, thus opening the door for more racial and gender constructs.

We'll get to explore Noban culture as well, which is pretty exciting!

Book Blitz Experience:

We had a really good experience with Lola's Blog Tours. Not every person who signed up posted, or did so before the day was through, but working for DBT, take it from us, it's really hard to get folks to commit once they've signed up.

We commented and showed love to blogs that hosted, and tried to bring folks back to them by reposting and tweeting or retweeting on Twitter, but we are a diversity book blog. Not every blog's center was on diversity, but many were YA, so  hopefully it helped!

 We liked our experience with her, and she always replied to emails when we had questions, and we tried to do the same in return =)

She also hosted our Cover Reveal, which was awesome, so she gave us an awesome Week Long Book Blitz as well.


There's too much to highlight that lacks any real significance! But being self-published was our 1st choice, and we're super happy with this decision.

We have like, 70 solidified ideas between the both of us(and that's assuming we don't come up with new stuff)and being self-published may not appeal to some, but it appeals to us.

Being self published can allow one to appeal to the voracious reader who doesn't just read a few books a year. We want to appeal to the voracious reader who may not want to wait 2 years for a sequel to release. 

There is no wrong or right path to publishing. But being self published allows us to experiment with different genres, which we will in the next few months. The Mark of Noba wasn't written in a day, so The City of Falling Stars, book 2 in the series will take time as well. Frankly, we just needed a break from that world! But it'll definitely start out with a more equal amount of POV switching, since Tetra and Sterling start out the book together.

We'll get to explore other characters from Noba, as well as visit a Steampunk world inspired by South Asian and West African culture. Parts of Tetra's past will be revealed ^_^ Oh my!

But for now, we're working on an Upper/Mature YA Contemporary Romance called "The Unforgettables". It's so adorable! The main characters are a Haitian-American girl and a mixed race Asian boy who live next door to each other. We'll definitely chronicle that experience, because we got a custom photo-shoot for the cover, and we'd like people who don't know much about that to see what goes into a custom cover. 

We're also anticipating a NA Horror Romance. It's not really for this audience, it may be too graphic in terms of violence, disturbing thoughts, and sex, but it's been fun to write. We'll most likely highlight it through our sister/baby blog Rebellious Cupid Book Reviews!

You really got an eyeful if you made it to the end! Cheers! 


  1. Y'all are killing it! It takes so much work and effort and patience to self publish! I went with a small press because I did not have the bandwith to get a cover together, editing, book design--all this stuff you did beautifully on your own. So many kudos!!

  2. @brsanderswrites.com its honestly not the most economically friendly XD with our 2nd planned release, the cover alone is twice the cover of The Mark of Noba XD factor in editing and formatting, because we wouldn't dare so ourselves, its definitely not friendly on the pocket XD weekly Starbucks trips won't be making appearances any time soon, but its what we wanted so were happy =}

  3. I can't believe it...my usual online bookseller IBS has The Mark of Noba on its list, for 10,04 euros. They usually have what I'm looking for, but some indie books are missing. You made it! :)

  4. @Roberta R. Squee! really? Hmmm...is 10,04 euros a lot for a book in Italy? It sounds like a lot? We're trying to figure out ways to lower it's price, but Amazon wont allow us to lower less than that due to the cost to produce it. We're looking into Ingramspark to release it worldwide, not just Europe, so that it's cheaper shipping options if we have international giveaways =)

  5. I'm new to this blog, so The Mark of Noba sounds really cool! I'll have to add it to my Goodreads and pick it up soon. :)

  6. Great post! It's so interesting to read about your experience with self publishing, netgalley and the tour. There are so little authors who blog about this, I read the whole post and I think it's very interesting to hear about your experiences.

    Thanks for the shout out to Lola's Blog Tours! I am planning to start to read The Mark of Noba after I finish my current read and I can wait to meet Sterling and Tetra!

    Time travel often is seen as a sub category of sci-fi and different worlds/ planets is often something you see in sci-fi and less so in fantasy, so I think that's why people call it sci-fi.

    The issue of not many people cross-posting their review on amazon is something I run into a lot with my tours as well. And so far I haven't really found a way to make sure people cross-post. It really is a shame, although as a book blogger myself I am guilty of not cross-posting all my reviews on amazon either, but lately I've been trying to do better at this as I know how much it can help authors.

    Oh and that sounds fun you will do a custom photo shoot for your upcoming contemporary romance book, I am looking forward to hear that as I never heard much about what goes into making a cover like that.

  7. I will be grabbing a copy so that I can read it without a time frame. I feel that if I get it from Netgalley, I have a deadline. The way I'm so busy right now, I don't want to rush it. It sounds like an awesome book, and I will give my honest opinion when I review it. This is a great post, BTW.

  8. I told you I was going to stop by didn't I? I love this post so much girl and it gave me a lot of great tips on what to do and what not to do as well as not getting all down and sad if my book doesn't do as good as I would have hoped. Like you said, it may be because my book wasn't targeted at the right audience which I'll make sure to do before I publish. Awesome post beautiful! <3


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