People say it’s easy self-publishing a book, or Indie Publishing as they say these days. It’s not all sunshine a roses and I’m not talking about sales here. I’m talking about getting the files ready and loaded etc.
The proofreading, file formatting and instruction reading and following are very left brain that leave me without a right brain cell to aspire to creativity. I’ve been caught in that vortex for weeks it seems. The difficulty is not in the amount of advice out there or the assistance other Indie publishers provide because that’s so fab. It’s just the tediousness of it. It’s like doing ten tax returns in a row. It’s killing me with my left brain. I can now understand why people pay others to do all that crap for them. They may end up making no money out of their publication (most, I think) but at least they have held onto their creative soul.
I have to go back to the reason why I’m doing this. Argenterra got to acquisitions in Australia but then it didn’t fit the young adult niche here. (just one part of the story) The Australian market is a small.Even the digital publishers are getting thin on the ground. I’ve submitted Argenterra over the years and well I run foul over arguments about whether it is young adult etc. I always thought it wasn’t, but then on reading it maybe it’s young adult or young adult cross over. Last year I was chatting to Keri Arthur and she recommend I Indie publish. I’ve had titles epublished with traditional publishers and why not try hybrid. I talked to her about the Silverlands Trilogy of which Argenterra is the first. I could get two books up quickly and then polish off the third book. I’m not expecting to do anything earth shattering here, but it is certainly an eye opener. The amount of control you have as an Indie publisher is like a drug. You get to make all the decisions but you have to do the work.
There are various ways to get your book out there these days. When I had a small press it wasn’t so easy. There was no Amazon.com.au and people without US bank accounts couldn’t list their books on Amazon.com. Ebooks were not a thing. It was PDF and maybe just the beginning of ebooks in the world. Having that small press experience has been good, but not having the tools I used to have was pretty ordinary. I used to own Creative Suite now I’m reduced to Word.
It’s hard. I whinge a lot you may have noticed.
I’m not even talking about the stigma of self-publishing here or the difficulties in promoting a book.
The process for formatting an ebook is pretty straightforward. But anything that requires discipline and attention to detail can be tedious for me. I can do it but I don’t/can’t do creative stuff round the same time.I had a author friend proofread for me after I laid out the book. In Word this entails formatting with titles so that you can do a table of contents. For an ebook you don’t have to worry about page numbers or headers or footers. I used Calibre to covert my epub. But for Amazon, you only need to the Word file. Most of the other places do the conversion from Word for you too.
It was formatting the print version that life became more complicated. Headers and footers and page numbers. I did a proofread and found a few little things which I changed in the ebook too. Unfortunately, using preorder on Amazon meant I couldn’t change the file. Eep! Lesson number one. Do your own proof before uploading the file. I was able to do it after it became live. Second is don’t underestimate how long it can take to proofread your book properly. (I printed the book out to do my proofs) Then research, ask around what is the best way forward. I chose Createspace for US Amazon.com and Ingram Sparks for rest of the world. (I’ll put a link below as to why). Then I got into problems with the paging. I was either missing a page or having two blanks when trying to get the odd number pages to fall on the right hand side. That took a whole night to fix. Needless to say that I have matured emotionally over the last two weeks. (I you believe that then you’ll believe anything.)
The cover was another issue. I had a pro cover done but it was not the wrap required for a print version and the file sent to me was a PDF and you need specialist software to put the cover together. Having exhausted my $ I had to beg help from the lovely Rebekah Turner. We had to do two covers-one for Createspace and one for Ingram Sparks. But I’ve been told you can use the Createspace one for Ingrams. If I had brains I could have used Publisher I suppose.
Today everything is loaded. Because I wanted Createspace to do the Amazon.com I loaded the book there first and then did Ingrams once it was showing on the Amazon listing. This is because Ingram will list it on Amazon if it’s not there already. (See blog link below to understand why.)
Listing the ebook. I could have used Smashwords, but I wanted to some control over key accounts; Amazon, ibooks, Kobo. Amazon was the easiest even with the tax declarations. Kobo was pretty simple and ibooks was complicated. First thing to know about ibooks is that you need a Mac to upload your content. That information would have been useful and would have saved me three nights of wrangling. I’ve used Ingram to distribute the ebook elsewhere.
Many thanks to Patty Jansen for answering near hysterical emails with aplomb. Also thanks to Ainslie Paton for help with book blurb (a whole day back and forth), Rebekah Turner for cover wrangling and Aiki Flinthart for proofreading, moral support and information.
Why am I doing this? Why don’t I forget about this book or this series?
The publishing industry is in a state of flux, particularly here in Australia. I don’t believe we can rely on the book industry to be the gate keepers they once were. Publishers are not loyal to their authors anymore. If you’re not a best seller then you’re out. Heaps of mid-listers have lost their publishers, not because they aren’t good writers with great books, but because they aren’t making the big $$$. Being a new author is even harder. Your book doesn’t sell the expected number your chance is gone. If you don’t have the sales then it’s darn hard to get another publisher.
Why Argenterra? I love this story. I’ve almost written a trilogy and what a waste it if never sees the light of day. I’ve revised and rewritten this story many times because I believed in it. Now it’s time for me to see if others like it too. I love the characters in this book. Sophy and Oakheart are my personal faves but there’s Lillia too.
After 15 years, I’m going to give self-publishing a try.
Cover by Les Petersen
Here is the link I mentioned above. Here
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