Ever had a bad case of writers block? Yeah…well, that’s not what happened to me. After returning from my Appalachian Trail thru-hike I had no problem writing, proofing, and re-writing the books about my experience. Writers block? No, what I had was activity block, or better yet, I was afraid to try something new (publish a book), worried that it might not be a success, and wondered if anyone would even read my writing, let alone like it.
Last weekend, I finally got over my activity block, owned up to my dreams, and self-published the Kindle version of my How To Hike The Appalachian Trail book.
As soon as I hit “publish” I had a mix of emotions. Excitement, anticipation, and a pit in my stomach, wondering “Is this book really worth $7.99?” Then it happened, Amazon sent me an email that said “Thank you for publishing your book, it will be live in 24-48 hours after it has been approved.” Crap. Well, I guess it’s time to go for a run.
Later that day, way ahead of schedule, I received a confirmation that my book was approved, published, and available for purchase! Sweet! I rushed from the beach to get a 6 pack of beer and headed back to the office to celebrate. Tarzan, party of 1!
I looked up my book on Amazon every way possible, checked out the free sample, and created my author’s bio page. I wondered what it looked like on the Kindle, but for the life of me, couldn’t figure out how to get it without buying it. I didn’t want to pay for it, I wrote the dang thing! Now, you might think, “Chris, why didn’t you just buy it, its money in your own pocket, right?”
Wrong. First, I am not going to get rich off of this book, ever. Publishing the book was super simple. I wrote 49 pages in a Microsoft Word document, did some very simple formatting, uploaded it to the Kindle Publishing website, and voila! It was published!
For making the process so simple Amazon graciously takes a cut of each book sold, a hefty cut. There were a few options, but after reading a few blogs on self-publishing I choose the 35% royalty. This means, every time one of you purchases a copy of How To Hike The Appalachian Trail for $7.99, I get $2.79 and Amazon gets $5.19. Whoa! So yes, I will not be getting rich on this book.
But, it wasn’t ever about the money. I never intended to make anything on this book, the greater success is that, finally, a long 3 years after hiking the Appalachian Trail, I have finally published a book like I told everyone that I would.
The first day on the market I sold two books. I joked on Facebook, “My book sold 2 copies! Thanks Mom, but it’s an eBook…you really only need 1 copy!” In reality though, mom didn’t buy my book, I figured out how to send her a copy of it for free. I thought that I at least owed her that, I mean, she did bring me into this world and all.
The second day my book sold 6 copies! Cha-ching! I even sold a copy in the United Kingdom and made 4.59 Great Britain Pounds (Thanks Graham!). Since then sales have plateaued (although it’s only been a week). I know that so far most, if not all, of my buyers have been my own friends and family, which is great, but I hope someday that strangers considering hiking the Appalachian Trail find, purchase, and learn from this book.
What’s next? Well, I’d really like to spend time writing a book about my real experience on the Appalachian Trail. How To Hike The Appalachian Trail is simply a guide for potential thru-hikers, not so much a story of my life on the trail. Many people who read my blog during my hike have asked when I’ll be publishing a book with those stories. Well, this book ain’t it. I do hope that my friends who are dropping $7.99 on my book aren’t disappointed. If you are, let me know, I owe you a beer.
Somewhere, hidden in the cobwebs of my laptop computer files, sits a 70+ page Microsoft Word document of stories compiled from my blog. That file, once I can find it, is my next goal. Self-publishing to Kindle was easy for How To Hike The Appalachian Trail, but I’m hoping that with my next book I can expand beyond Kindle publishing, and actually publish some hard paper copies. Well, at least 2 paper copies, so I can send them to my mom.
Adventures in Self-Publishing
How To Hike The Appalachian Trail: https://amzn.com/B00WQ4ZXWS