D.K Combs’ The Highlander’s Touch made the book available exclusively through Smashwords, the distributor of independent e-books, without bothering to put it on Amazon or carrying out any marketing activity, according to a recent article in Publisher’s Weekly.
The article apportions some of Ms Combs’ success to the popularity of New York Times’ best-seller list novelist Diana Gabaldon, whose Outlander books are number 1 on the list. (The books have been turned into a TV series by Starz television.) The Highlander’s Touch has been read by more than 7 million, and it has achieved 300,000 votes on writing community website, Wattpad.
Following her high school graduation, Ms Combs decided on self-publishing to help pay her bills and her followers and fans on Wattpad encouraged her to make the leap to self-publishing. She published the book in March 2014, putting seven chapters onto Wattpad for free as a way of attracting new readers.
Priced at $4.99, the book had earned her an almost five-figure sum – and all through word of mouth. She has connected with fans through Facebook, Wattpad and ask.fm, although she left ask.fm following problems with anonymous commenters. Wattpad she regards as a safer and better regulated community.
Ms Combs writes with the help of two friends, who help with plot holes, proof-reading, planning and editing and the three design the covers themselves, using Photoshop.
(Please do forgive crude self-promotion here… Emma Baird’s new novel Two Slices of Carrot Cake is available on Wattpad.)