Letters of Mass Construction

E-book 101

I feel like I have been giving myself my own graduate class on how to publish your own books. I am going to have to grade myself on a curve because as of right now I am still feeling a little clueless. It was a hard decision to go the self-publishing route. I won’t repeat all the reasons I said in past blogs. Once I decided to do it though I knew there would be no looking back. Well, no looking back as far as not doing it. There will be plenty of looking back and saying, “damn, I did that wrong.”

I love writing but writing a book takes a long time. A long lonely time (this is why kittens are a requirement. They provide good writing company). My current novel is now over 107,000 words long and not done. The wonderful thing is I know it will be done. I do a little everyday and someday I get to hold up my hands, do a victory dance, and ignore my kittens look of total disdain (my kittens do not appreciate my dancing ability). Then, of course, the editing starts. These are all things I know how to do and am getting better at everyday.

Publishing your own book adds a whole new wrinkle. I have to format the book for sale on all the different platforms. Originally, I was going to pay someone for this job. It isn’t cheap though, and frankly I was starting to get a little nervous about the cost of doing my Dark Lands Trilogy (not to mention I was completely at the mercy of their schedule). I wanted to pay them though because I really wanted to just concentrate on writing. I decided to see how hard the formatting was and give the self-publishing a test run but with what? After thinking about it for a while I realized my zombie dad short stories were generally well received. The only problem was I didn’t have enough for a small book. I started writing new ones to fill out the collection.

Luckily, my writing program, Scivener’s, is awesome and comes with a big helping hand when it comes to formatting. As good as the program is I have to do all the spot checking to make sure that spaces and margins are right. That the book itself looks good in e-book format. This means doing a line by line edit looking for formatting errors. While I am sure there are plenty of people who self-publish who don’t do this I want my book to be as good as it possibly can be. I could not believe how many spacing errors there were (apparently, I have a twitchy space bar finger).

Once the formatting was done I added my cover. I can’t draw a lick so I paid someone to design my covers (Michael Hart did a great job). I then hit publish and waited for the sales to not roll in. The first few days were good but those sales died away quickly. It confirmed what I suspected was going to happen. Friends bought it but getting out into the world was going to be a totally different trick. It also confirmed I really couldn’t afford to pay someone to format my novels. It would take forever to recoup the money for formatting and covers. I was going to have to do it all myself (at least in the beginning. Maybe someday when my delusions of grandeur become reality, I can pay someone).

This means I am now a publishing house. I have to write. I have to edit. I have to find other editors because I suck at editing. I have to hire an artist and I have to format my books. The last step is the doozy though. I have to become a marketer. I have to find a way to bring people to my books. If I don’t all of this effort becomes a whole lot of work with very little gain. When I say gain I don’t just mean monetarily. I am not expecting to get rich here. I just want to entertain. I want someone to read my books and think, “that was great”. Well worth the time (thankfully despite the small sales on, A Very Zombie Holiday, this has already happened). Maybe the novels are not good enough and I never will get this feedback. I guess at that point I will have to make a tough decision.

In the meantime. I am plugging away at formatting, The Shadow Men, and should be done this weekend. Originally, I was going to wait until June to publish but now I think when it is ready I am going to put it up. So sometime this weekend or early next week my first novel will be out there and my education continues. I have the writing part down. Now, I have to become a show barker and draw in a crowd. It was lonely writing the books but I am hoping that doesn’t have to mean the books live a lonely life.

Amazon Link for A Very Zombie Holiday

Barnes & Noble Link for A Very Zombie Holiday

A Very Zombie Holiday UK Link

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2 Responses to “E-book 101”

  1. Thanks for sharing your e-book process. It is a lot more complicated than I realized. I wish you success on your writing journey. You are bold to self-publish. Let me know when your book is available.

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