Let me start by saying e-publishing is wonderful. It is fun and a very satisfying way to get my work out there and cut out the vicious, grasping middlemen called publishers/editors. Sorry to all you p/e, just sayin’…
But then… we come to my first experience. If there is a way to screw something up, not only will I find it, I will embrace and embellish it! The story of my adventure starts with a decision that I was not going to undergo the torture of trying to get published in the traditional manner. It is just too difficult nowdays. That being said, I then set out to figure out the best way to e-publish. After a fair amount of research, I settled between Smashwords and Kindle. Both had a good amount of written reference, blogs, e-books, etc., that would provide basic guidance to the computer-impeded, such as myself.
Let me interject a comment here: I had already received a fair amount of formatting assistance from a friend, Tom Richardson, unfortunately, I quickly discovered it did not mesh well with Smashwords. Wonderful. This is not a small manuscript.
I tried a Smashwords template and it messed me up even more, mainly by having me first strip every bit of formatting from my document, which fortunately was a copy. You know, it’s hard to remember where every italic was placed, among other things. So, I quickly deleted all things Smashwords and transferred everything to Kindle, which worked quite well with Tom’s directions, and the formatting I had previously used for the manuscript. Kindle works wonderfully with Word 10, which I use. I have always used Word; I suspect that helped a lot with this entire process.
I hiked up my belt (?), reformatted a couple of Styles to align with Tom’s recommendations, and began formatting my book: Normal, Headlines, SceneBreaks, TOC, NormalNoIdent… I did it all! Flinging Styles about like a mad person, I watched my Table of Contents create itself, as everything fell in line like good soldiers… it was magick (spelling error? Not if you read my book!). Finally, over 500 pages later, I was ready to delve into even more magick: Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). What an ingenuous idea! You pull together a book and they tell you how to format, publish, and market it. And you get 70%. Wow! Of course, it’s not all kittens and cupcakes, there are downsides, but I happily ignore them and carry on.
I correct my errors (conveniently tallied for me by KDP) and complete my forms and I… PUBLISH! And I go back to my Author’s Page and I see… MY FIRST NAME IS SPELLED WRONG. Not actually misspelled… you see, I have this relationship with autocorrect. I bow to its superior intelligence and it hates me. Somehow, “Debi” has become “day” and the entire name is in lower case. Frantically, I fly to the bottom of the page, looking for “Contact Us,” and yes! there it is, I dash off an email telling them somewhat sheepishly what has happened and the next day, I receive a message from a nice person named Grant (yeah) who says he will take care of the problem in one to three days. It is now fixed, in some places, and I will have to keep after them, probably with screenshots, but at least they are far more responsive than I expected.
In the midst of this adventure, I was enmeshed in another one, that of my daughter, Leandra, who designed and developed my book cover. She is quite a talented artist, who also happens to be a PhD candidate and a TA. She has nothing but time on her hands! I agreed to pay her to produce a cover, but we both now agree that might have been a little too vague a request. She had no time to read the book, going only by descriptions I gave her and what I wanted to depict. In the end, I think she did a wonderful job, but the road getting there was a rough one, including many emails that asked… cajoled… begged for something… anything to look at. I don’t recommend going through the you/relative/close friend route for something that has a time requirement, but if she agrees… I’ll probably beg, cajole and ask her to design for me again.
So, I let my friends on Facebook know I am a Published Author (eBooks count, too, you know), send out free copies to my beta readers (which I purchased for $2.99 each, but hey, I get 70% out of it!) and settle back, waiting for accolades. In the meantime, I’ve already started the second book in a series of three, according to present plans. I mention this because I am formatting as I go along, and predict it will make the publishing process much easier the second time.
Another note: if you have done this before, no doubt you realize I skimmed over hours of frustration, bad words, cups of coffee, deletes and redo’s. Don’t let that discourage you. Even if I never sell a single copy, I will always have a sense of accomplishment. I did something I wanted to do since I was a kid: I wrote a book.
Summerbird Rises (Book 1 of An Act of Entreaty)