Self-publishing - Dan Garcia

13 April 2014 / Leave a Comment
Dan Garcia writes books featuring paranormal creatures with a heavy dose of humour. He's self-published three books and is a very popular Wattpad author. He's also been very generous to me with advice on interacting and responding to readers on Wattpad. Previously he was a copy-editor, a scriptreader and has had various jobs in the film industry. I wanted to ask him a little about his journey with self-publishing his books ...

You live in LA and previously wrote film scripts. Tell us a little about this and why you have now shifted in to writing ebooks?
I didn't really enjoy the process of trying to peddle my scripts, because it's difficult to get anyone to read them, even if you get a manager or agent. You're looking at 20 or 30 people at most reading it, if you're lucky. And then you find yourself in situations where it's 'writing by committee'. Your agent tells you to change this, the development executive tells you to alter that, and pretty soon, you find yourself struggling to hold onto some semblance of the story you once wanted to tell. And trust me, that's not an exaggeration, at least it wasn't for me.

With writing books, especially self-publishing, you're putting forth to the world exactly the story you intend it to be, for better or worse.

Of course, if I had made a million dollars, I might feel differently ...

What is your advice for other writers considering self-publishing their books?
I think Wattpad is a great starting point, because you can build an audience and get feedback. It's important to be really confident in the material you're publishing, because you will get reviews on websites like Amazon and Goodreads filled with brutal honesty.

People will notice any and every spelling error, so at least have someone you trust proofread your story. You do not want reviews pointing out bad grammar. But what's nice about self-publishing is that you can go back and edit.

Have a professional-looking cover, even if you have to pay someone to do it. There are plenty of websites for pre-designed covers, like, where you can get something for a relatively cheap price. You might even find someone on Wattpad who can create something for you, though make sure it's a picture for which you own the rights. Your book will be judged by its cover, unfortunately, and you don't want to give someone a reason not to buy, like those reviews saying your book had poor punctuation.

There are great websites like that have self-published authors who are willing to give you a wealth of information, I would say check them out.

You have your ebooks listed on Amazon, Kobo and Barnes and Noble. What are your thoughts on the various platforms? Do you prefer one over the others? Why?
Amazon is the biggie, so the real questions is, do you want to maintain exclusivity on there or not. They have a program called Select which can be very effective, because it allows you to have five free giveaway days every three months. However, it works best if you have more than one book out, or a series, where you can give your book away free. You also get paid when people lend your book, an amount that varies every month. I've considered going back to Select now that I have more books out, but I feel that it's better to have more exposure through various sites. I would also have to pull Succubus from Wattpad, because you are not allowed to be on any other sites.

In certain places around the world, Kobo and Nook are more prominent, so that is important. It's just basically a situation where you should do whatever you prefer.

Please tell us a little about how you have used Wattpad to build an audience for your ebooks?
I lucked out with Wattpad, because I was featured in the launch of their ChickLit category, so my journey here was not a typical one. I was able to build up an audience quickly. In terms of building an audience for my ebooks, I feel that it's helped, because readers here are very supportive. Many will go out and buy your books to, once again, support their favorite authors, and will go out and write reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, which are extremely important for marketing your books. But, really, I find that the interaction with the readers is what makes it fulfilling, because you really get to hear what they think, and respond to them. I haven't found that anywhere else.

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