Monday, May 19, 2014

My Experience With Indie Publishing (Post 1)

I celebrated my book's appearance on Amazon in style.
Things are winding down after a frantic few weeks. On May 1st, I released the first book in a series. It was my first foray into indie publishing, and it was as exciting and terrifying as releasing a book through a publisher, perhaps even more so because ultimately, the buck stops here, so I thought I'd share my experience.

First of all, I had this idea that I would have a 'release day' in which the book went live across all electronic platforms. Excuse me while I go laugh hysterically in the corner for a second. Ahem. So. I'm sure it can be done, but I have no idea how. Amazon took a few hours to have the book ready to sell. Barnes and Noble and Kobo had it ready in about a day. The iTunes store required an act of Congress, a small blood sacrifice, and about two weeks of time to have the book ready. In the future, if I want a 'release day,' I'll simply plan on a day about a month after I start publishing the book. But since I'm fairly lazy, I'll probably just do it the same way I did it this time--one venue per day.

One of the first things I did when I decided to self publish was read a couple of books on indie publishing. I read Indie And Small Press Book Marketing by William Hertling. It includes a convenient checklist for the time leading up to publication, during, and after. I made my own checklist based off his, and it helped immensely. Instead of flailing and wondering what to do when, I could just make my way down the list, feeling self-satisfied as I checked things off. I also read Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl. He focused most of his advice on making and using an email reader list, which is something I haven't gotten around to doing yet. And I read numerous blogs, trying to absorb every person's experience and decide what I wanted mine to be like, including Jeff Carlson's guest spot on SF Signal and these tips from M. Darusha Wehm.

I'm lazier than turtles sunning on a rock.
The next thing I did was make the book as polished as possible. After making changes based on reader feedback, I read it over. Then I let it rest and read it through again. Only when I was satisfied I'd done all I could on a macro and micro level did I bring in a professional freelance editor to look it over. I used E-Quality Press. Not only did they do a fantastic job, but the editor got what I was trying to do. He formatted the files for me in addition to editing (more on that in a bit), and when it came time to format the file for the print copy, he asked if I wanted the story to begin on page 13. I was amused that he had gotten to know me well enough in a short period of time (and through email, too) to even know to ask that.

A lot of authors format their files themselves. Initially I thought I'd go that direction, but when it came time, I simply had no desire to learn how to convert my Word document into the proper format (Do you see a pattern? Seriously, I'm the laziest person around. I'm worse than Garfield the cat). It was worth letting somebody else do that work while I panicked over other things, like the book's cover, which I will discuss in another post along with reviews and miscellaneous other items.

Until then, if you have any links or books or anything at all that you'd like to share when it comes to indie publishing, feel free to comment.


  1. Getting someone else to format is great advice -- unless you're already comfortable coding your ebook in HTML, don't do it yourself. As a reader, I can spot those grungy, I-was-a-word-doc ebooks in the opening page. :)

    1. I have a lot of respect for people who do this well. I'd still like to tackle it myself some day, but perhaps with a novelette or novella rather than a full length book.

  2. I was lucky. I had my son format mine (he's a computer programmer). There were still some issues, and he had me go back through and find all the corrections. A lot of times it was a difference of an extra space after a paragraph or something like that. A hint though. After self-publishing the e-book format for Kindle, I also did a paperback version at -- and for free, they'll do the reformatting and submitting for the Kindle for you after you've finalized and approved the paperback version. That'd be worth it in itself. my worst problem with Createspace is trying to include pictures (a map) I could never get it the right dps.

    Susan Shell Winston

    1. I went through the process a little backwards. I'm working on the print version now. But it's all a learning process, and next time I know to work on the print version first.

      That's lucky indeed that your son can format yours! I'd love to learn how one of these days, but I'd rather spend my time writing so it may never happen.