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My First Self-Publishing Mistake, or the Paperbacks are on Sale Now

What happened?

Here I am, blissfully breezing through self-publishing with a level of false confidence that has betrayed me before. I'm sure I'm doing everything right. I've read all the articles. I've watched all the videos. I can't screw this up.

The ebooks go up in pre-order. Everything looks great! I finish laying out my interiors and send the dimensions to my cover designer. I get them back. They're awesome. We're ready to go. I upload them to my Kindle account and push publish. No issues. We're golden.

And then this morning I realize you can ORDER THE DAMN PAPERBACK. Somehow it's not in pre-order status the way that the ebooks are. I check my account. Somehow, some way, despite all that confidence, I've published the paperbacks. Fun fact: once you've published them, even if no one has ordered anything, that's the first edition publication date. Period. No take backsies.

The only thing I can think of that I did was somehow just not check the publication date in the set up. I have no idea how I could have missed this critical line item, but it appears that I did. Why doesn't Amazon have as many boxes to ask you if you're sure you want to publish your book as it does to see if you're sure you want to buy, say, a mouse pad? I know I'm an adult who is pretending to treat this like an actual profession, so it's my fault. Ok, maybe only 98% my fault. 95%?

Why not just publish the ebooks too?

Fun fact: if there's any money to be made in self-publishing young adult fiction that's really aimed for adults nostalgic for Twilight (TBD... I'll let you know), it's not going to be made in paperback book sales. The paperbacks exist for me, my mom, and a select few people in my life who are supportive enough to pay $12.99 to make me feel like I've accomplished something (to those people, thank you. I love you too).

I've enrolled my ebooks in Kindle Select, which means the ebook will be distributed exclusively by Amazon and included with Kindle Unlimited subscriptions. This entitles my books to a certain amount of Amazon advertising privileges that essentially fade out after 30 days if the book isn't performing.

To help it perform, I have the Acorn ebook signed up for a couple of Advanced Reader Copy services that should help me pull in reviews ahead of its official launch. However, since signing up for Kindle Select means the ebook must ONLY be available through Amazon upon publication, I can't be running these ARC promos simultaneously.

Therefore, I need to wait to publish the ebook versions until after I've run these promos to hopefully boost my chances of making actual sales in the ebook marketplace to people who aren't friends and relatives.

So what now?

I had the option to just unpublish the book and then make it available again when I've dropped the ebooks, but... why? To make changes I would have to publish a second edition, which seems cumbersome and, honestly, I'm just sort of glad it's out there. So, yeah, I guess I'm a published paperback author.

If you're one of my lovely friends and family who order one or both of the books (HERE if you're interested), I would love for you to tell me if you find any typos or obvious formatting issues. If there are more than a few minor ones, I will probably publish a second edition when the ebooks drop. Who knows? If I become a rich and famous author (lololololol), those first editions may be worth something some day!

I doubt this will be the last mistake in this journey. Stay tuned!

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