Last week, we talked about what to have in place and how to get ready to publish your ebook. Now, let’s look at some important tips Kathleen learned from her own publishing experience…
Now, I’d like to share with you what I wish I knew before publishing.
The most important things to look at when working with a self-publishing house/distributor are the terms in fine print regarding who owns your work or what you can legally do with the finished product you place in their distribution system.
Be prepared to learn that your primary distributor is authorized (based on your selections) to sell/distribute your eBook to a wide range of channels, including retailers, resellers, libraries, wholesale houses and affiliate marketers (including yourself).
Each of these retailers has its own standards for promoting your book or even listing it in their catalogs. At least one has shown me they have an active interest in giving their authors every tool for opportunity at their disposal and are always working to develop more.
You will want to know about wholesale resellers and why they are there, what they do and how it affects your bottom line/royalties. How libraries and institutions factor in (who can they buy from); learn all you can about Ingram and Baker-Taylor Axis 360, FlipKart, Oyster (very interesting development – ever hear the term ‘drop box’) and others. You’ll want to ask as many questions as possible from their customer support specialists and scour their FAQs with a fine tooth comb. Many have forums where other authors discuss common concerns and offer their experiences. You would do well to search pros and cons or complaints for each; you may be surprised what you’ll find out about the big guys online.
Please educate yourself on each of their policies if you can. If you choose to list with Amazon exclusively, so you receive more publicity and marketing, they require exclusivity for the period of time outlined in Amazon’s KDP Select terms and conditions. Read and inform yourself, understand, and if you are not happy with the results you are responsible for notifying them to NOT automatically renew your exclusive listing with them. Authors beware of the details.
If your publishing platform provides a software system on their end, it is essential that you follow their instructions regarding formatting and file sizes, etc. Realize, even if you are paying someone to publish and review and edit your work, the finished product is your responsibility and you own the errors and/or omissions. The last thing you want is to have your manuscript reach your reader with alignment errors, typos, misspelled words, wrong word usage, grammatical blunders and so forth. They won’t do it for you and the distribution channels may reject it and not carry it in their stores.
I kept seeing ads for a company with a funny-sounding name and articles and interviews with a man named Marc Coker. I was impressed with his story, his apparent mission statement and his passion for the world of Indie Authors and digital publishing. My interest in this company grew as I began to research Smashwords.com. Reading Marc’s blog posts and instructional eBooks, downloading every free one available, I soon realized this can happen for me if I take my time and study carefully. I settled on Smashwords but there are many other fine sites where you can self-publish, too.
Should you choose Smashwords, I would urge you not to omit reading Marc’s books on marketing, PR, and the one on E-Book Publishing Success before diving into the Style Guide. Had I read and applied the information in those three books before carefully preparing my manuscript for the “meat grinder” (as affectionately referred to by the Style Guide), I would have enjoyed a greater potential for success.
Having said that . . . it is helpful to know that the formatting process (as outlined step by step in the Style Guide) works smoothly if you take your time and double-check your work. Overall, I found the process very satisfying and rewarding knowing I was so close to seeing my book for sale online!
You may have other options of choice. Smashwords was my platform of choice because the outlay for a new author or someone struggling like I do to find the means to make all this work, is minimal to nothing.
Smashwords is not currently shipping my eBook to Amazon; as I understand they are working through some differences in contract negotiations. I am still unaware of the outcome of complaints about Amazon and CreateSpace a few have posted online; I waited and enjoyed the excitement of having MY E-BOOK, published!
How About My Book in Paperback?
While I was focusing on my e-Book, my author friend Angela Hoke published her book . . .”A Whisper of Smoke” in PRINT! My excitement level went over the top as she explained to me how easy it was to do POD through CreateSpace and get it listed on Amazon. It was easy and free to publish. We paid only for the books we ordered personally for proofs or selling locally.
I cannot tell you the sense of fulfillment I had when I held my first proof copy in my hands and saw the UPC code printed on the back cover, my name on the front cover and its own unique ISB # on the copyright page. It was worth the hard work involved in both avenues of publishing.
Upon approving the “Proof” copy, it was released for distribution. I began to notice I didn’t get any promotional treatment on any Amazon pages and it took a while for it to show up in the distribution channels offered through expanded distribution which I paid for up front at CreateSpace (they now offer that for free and have returned my payment). I remembered what I had read about exclusivity and decided not to put my book there as an eBook.
My biggest disappointment has been waiting for reported sales to show up in royalty reports. Blogs have turned up with similar issues and I would encourage you to do your homework. How do other publishing platforms behave with Indie Authors? I can’t really say, but if the funds would have been available I might have chosen a different method for print.
Many who have been waiting for sales to be reported are choosing to set up shops on their websites and blogs and sell directly to the public, using social media, affiliate marketers and blog parties to drive traffic to their sites. Another great reason to learn all you can and check out Blogolina’s classes and the many great posts on her blog.
I’m excited to see what the future brings for us Independents – excuse me . . . Indie Authors. Write your best book, dream your best dream, live your best life. Tanya’s goal is your success, what’s your goal?
Kathleen J Kidder – bio: Recently retired, she and her husband, two dogs and a cat now live in the Nashville area, near five of their nine grandchildren; her new children’s book, “Getting Granny’s Goat,” is dedicated to them. Writing and creating privately for years, while working fulltime, Kathleen now focuses more heavily on writing and developing marketing strategies for her work. . . .read more
Aug 31, 2013 – “Getting Granny’s Goat” was published and released as an eBook in nine different file formats for your reading pleasure on PCs and various readers and mobile devices. You can find it on Smashwords.com along with her author’s interview where you can learn more about her writing process.
Oct 1, 2013 – “Getting Granny’s Goat” was published and released in print on demand. Look for it at the following online retailers: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CreateSpace and other distribution networks.