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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:30 am    Post subject: Self-publishing Reply with quote

LZ, this is for you. Smile As well as for anyone else who is thinking about self-publishing. Here is how I do it.

The very first thing I want to say is this: Do not not NOT do business with anybody who wants to charge you for publishing your book. That means stay away from any of the Author Solutions companies (AuthorHouse, iUniverse, xLibris -- there's a whole list of them) and America Star Books (which used to be PublishAmerica). Those people will charge you thousands of dollars, promise you the moon, and not deliver.

First, I format my manuscript in Word according to the Smashwords Style Guide. It's a free download and you can get it in any format, even pdf. I just follow the directions in the style guide and save the file as the Smashwords version of my book.

Next, I run a find/replace and swap out "Smashwords" for "Kindle". I also swap out any links to my books and author page on Smashwords for links to my books at Amazon and my Author Central page there. Then I save the file as the Kindle version of my book.

Only then do I start farting around with formatting the original file for print. Then I save that one as the CreateSpace version.

You need a couple of other things before you're ready to publish your book. One is the cover, and you have to make sure that you can read the title and author name when you shrink it down to thumbnail size. So think about that when you're designing the cover. Smile The other thing you will need is a blurb -- which is not a plot summary, but simply an enticement to convince readers to buy your book.

Once I've got my file formatted, I go to Smashwords and upload the Smashwords version of my book. It will walk you through the process, and your book will be live at the Smashwords store as soon as the upload process is complete. With Smashwords, though, there are a couple of extra steps to get your book into the Premium Catalog. You definitely want to make sure you get that done, because that's what gets your book to iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and all the rest.

When I'm done uploading to Smashwords, I go to Kindle Direct Publishing and upload the Kindle version. It takes KDP about 12 hours to approve your file, but then it's available immediately at all the Amazon storefronts around the world.

I use CreateSpace for my print books for a couple of reasons. One is that I found their process to be easier to understand than Lulu's. The other is that CreateSpace feeds automatically to Amazon, whereas it takes longer to get your paper books up at Amazon if you use Lulu. Anyway, there's a whole process that CreateSpace will walk you through. Don't forget (because I always do Embarassed ) that you print book will need a back cover as well as a front cover.

So that's a very basic (and not at all detailed Laughing ) overview of the process. There's a lot more to it, obviously, and I'm happy to answer questions. Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you very kindly... how big a thumbnail are we talking about to read the title and author?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


will this cover be readable as a thumbnail?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh I read the terms of service and have two concerns-- I will write smashwords for definitive answers, of course, but if you might know...
First, is there some sort of release I need from Publish America to re-publish "A War of Apes" or is it good enough that my contract is expired...
Second, they ask for your social security number and withhold taxes-- I'm on disability and am NOT allowed to have a real job at all whatsoever that withholds taxes!
I can't afford to loose $862 in order to collect $4 a month if I'm lucky! I might have to talk to social security about that one.
I would love to get off social security if I could earn good pay as a writer, but I was hoping I'd have a good bit of a running start and get this thing to build up first.
If I lose my social security then this stuff may have to go unpublished (and unwritten in the case of the third book).
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw you post your SS question on FB and it looked like you got a response there, so I won't address that. (And I don't know the answer anyhow. Wink )

Re the PublishAmerica version, I would do a search at Amazon and wherever else they published it for you, as they are probably still selling their version of the book. If so, you should contact PublishAmerica and ask them to unpublish their version (and good luck with that -- I know of at least one author who has tried and been unsuccessful, although she may have done business with a different vanity press).

As for the thumbnail -- it's simply the size that you see when you go to a list of books on Amazon. Use your graphics program to shrink your cover to approximately that size, and see whether it's still legible. Also take a look at professionally-designed covers in your genre and see whether yours looks to be of the same caliber. Your book cover and blurb are going to be your primary selling tools. If either one looks less than professional, it's going to hurt your sales. Smile

One other thing I'd suggest (warning! shameless plug coming! Laughing ): Indies Unlimited has a ton of information on everything from grammar to formatting to cover design to marketing. In fact, several months ago, I did a post on CreateSpace formatting that got picked up by the Book Designer. Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

interesting-- Ron Elam (worm at the world's end) said that he could not get one when he tried to order it and my contract expired in 2009, so I assume it is already "unpublished" but is there some sort of official release letter I could get or something like that? Last time I tried contacting them it seemed impossible!
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're not finding it for sale on Amazon or any other site, I wouldn't worry about it. Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well it is listed as for sale, but Ron could not get the copy he ordered.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ali, I'm nowhere near the point of doing anything about publishing. Not close to done writing the damned book. But thank you very much for all this info, for when I am ready for it!
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Zombiac wrote:
well it is listed as for sale, but Ron could not get the copy he ordered.

Shocked That's...interesting. Shocked I can ask around, if you like, to see if anyone has any suggestions for pursuing it. Was he trying to buy it from Amazon, or from an Amazon Marketplace seller? If it's a Marketplace seller, that may explain the problem. Sometimes a third-party seller will represent that he or she has the book to sell, and only when someone tries to order it do they discover that they can't get a copy to fulfill the order.

Fist -- you're welcome. Smile To be honest, I've been hesitant to share this stuff here, as I didn't know how much interest there would be, and I also didn't know whether people would think I was being pushy or something.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't imagine what could be pushy about learning it all yourself, probably with a lot of trial and error, then giving us the benefit of that learning.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, guys. Smile

Historically, as you probably know, there was a huge stigma against self-publishing. That's undergoing a big change, to the point where trad-pubbed authors are looking to get their electronic rights back so that they can self-pub their backlist. But anyway, for a long while there, indies were equated with people who used vanity publishers because a *real* publisher wouldn't touch their stuff. And there's still a perception that indie books are all crap -- which is so far from the truth these days as to be laughable.

But there are a lot of advantages to self-publishing. You control the whole process, for one thing -- your book's publication date isn't going to be switched around on the publisher's whim. You can have a cover that actually has something to do with your book. Laughing And with KDP, you get 70% of the purchase price when you make a sale (assuming your book is priced between $2.99 and $9.99); your royalty from a traditional publisher will be more like 17%. Huge difference. And publishers' marketing budgets have drastically shrunk, so even trad-pubbed authors are having to do most of their own marketing.

There's more, but I'm late for work...
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a little more. Smile

This article, which was published serendipitously today, gives more info on why self-publishing is the way to go. She covers a number of things I was going to say (which saves me from having to type them out! Laughing ).
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just seeing this topic now - I've self-published, too, and I'm very happy (although it's been difficult and I have yet to show a profit after 18 months).
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats, starkllr! I've been at it for about three years and have yet to show a profit. Laughing At this point I'm glad to have the tax writeoff.

I told myself early on in the process that if I could make enough money from my writing that I could live off of my earnings before I was eligible for early retirement, I'd quit early. I've got another 5 years to go. Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ali - just picked up on this thread. Could you just amplify on the thing you mentioned elsewhere, where you post an extract for people to read so they get an idea of whether your material is for them or not. Where/how does this fit into the process you outline above?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Ali - just picked up on this thread. Could you just amplify on the thing you mentioned elsewhere, where you post an extract for people to read so they get an idea of whether your material is for them or not. Where/how does this fit into the process you outline above?

Depends on where you post the free material, peter -- but I'd consider it a marketing tool. Amazon has the "Look Inside" feature, which is the same thing.

What I would probably do is post an excerpt together with a "buy link" -- i.e., the webpage on Amazon (or wherever) where your customers could purchase the book. You could put it on your own blog -- or (with permission!) on someone else's blog. There are blog tour companies that will line up book bloggers who agree to post your book cover, blurb, bio, and an excerpt from your book on their blogs, together with the buy link.

There's a whole cottage industry springing up around advertising books -- and make no mistake, it's not just indies who have to do this stuff. Trad publishers have virtually no promotional budget for newbies and midlist authors these days.

And all of this is probably more than you wanted to know. Laughing Did I answer your question?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very much Ali. It's all a bit hazy in my mind as yet, but I very much like the idea of creative writing breaking free of [what I see as] the shackles of the traditional publishing industry. Dr Samual Johnson made the observation that no-one wrote except for money, and while I don't 100% believe that, there remains a need in all people to gain some reward from the work they do, no less writters. I like the idea of a 'free-for-all' where writers pitch out what they have done, and the public gets to choose what they want to read [and pay for] directly without the filter of the publishing industry stuck in between making the decisions for them. Yes, there will always be a place for traditional publishing [and I would have it no other way], but the freedom of the net as a means of getting masses of work 'out there' can only be a real shot in the arm for the range and bredth of creativity of the art. Yes - there will be lots of rubbish, of course there will; but there will also be lots of fine work and this will rise to the surface. By word of mouth and other means in this interconnected world, that which is worthy of beeing seen will be seen, and I see this as an organic, living way of writting developing, and a future wholely appropriate for the evermore 'in touch' world we are creating.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Took me 3 years to find this discussion but I found it nonetheless.

Though some of the information might be a little out of date I plan to go through what is being suggested here and see how it relates to what I want to do in the future.

I've self published and also had a run in with Publish America some years ago so much of this content is relatable and helpful.

Thanks Ali and everyone else.
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