- Michael Offutt (Monday, May 7, 2012),
- Rachel Morgan from Rachel Morgan Writes (Monday, May 14, 2012),
- Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi from The Bookshelf Muse (today), and
- Adina West from Stairways and Landings (Monday, May 28, 2012).
Some agent thoughts on self-publishing
Janet Kobobel-Grant writes about Why Everyone in Publishing-Authors, Agents, Publishers-Feel Disinfranchised
Sarah LaPolla's interesting post on What's the Deal With Self-Publishing?
Some link love
A 2011 article on digital publishing pros and cons: E-Publishing with a Publisher rather than Self-Publishing
Harlequin Fail - a very frank look at why a long-time published author with Harlequin has turned to self-publishing
Something Scary Is Happening - an interesting look at Amazon's KDP Select and why they'll never give it up, plus some lessons for Indies
The Masquerade Crew on 99c Ebooks - Good or Bad?
I hope you find all these links useful. More next week.
Guest Post by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, authors of THE EMOTION THESAURUS
I'd like to welcome these two lovely ladies to Rach Writes... and thank them for sharing their publishing journey with us. Together, they are responsible for The Bookshelf Muse, and as you will probably know, they've just published their fantastic book, THE EMOTION THESAURUS. They were also behind the massive Random Acts of Kindness blitz you will have seen around the writing community over the last week. Take it away ladies!!!
Self-Publishing: Taking the Scenic Route
ANGELA: Becca and I have been writing for a long time, so we’re familiar with setbacks and the occasional detour. What’s that line from Days of Thunder? Rubbin’ is racing. Well, that’s writing. If the path is smooth, you’re not on the writer’s road.
So when we decided to self publish The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression, we were ready for a few bumps! Our cover creation went smooth. We chose Scarlett Rugers, probably the most professional art designer I’ve ever met. You want a great cover, she’s your gal. However the first bump came when our original formatter found that our project was a bit too complex. (To be fair, the ET is not your average book. The fact that it needed someone really experienced in HTML wasn’t a total shock.) She did the right thing to tell us, and luckily, knew just the gal to get it done: Heather Adkins, Formatting Goddess (she really is). WHEW, crisis averted.
When it came to uploading, Becca and I divvied up tasks. I took on Createspace, and the whole process was a breeze. Provided you do your homework and make sure your Word doc. matches the trim size, and it’s formatted correctly, the process is quick and painless. In a few short days, we had a proof in our hands and suddenly, the book was REAL.
BECCA: Meanwhile, I was in charge of uploading the various digital files to the different distributor sites. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords were pretty straight forward. Apple, on the other hand...there’s a reason so many people go through a distributor like Smashwords to get to iTunes instead of selling directly through Apple. Their formatting standards are ridiculously picky, there is no phone support for iTunes Connect (their venue for self-publishing), and their wait times are notoriously long; first, you have to apply to self-publish with them (wait up to two weeks for acceptance), then you get to upload your file (and wait two more weeks for your book to go live). Craziness.
BECCA: Another speed bump that we never foresaw was the multi-authorship of our book. Most distributors had no problem with this. But when I uploaded to Smashwords, there was only one author’s name allowed. I e-mailed them to find out how to include both our names and they matter-of-factly informed me that Smashwords has no protocol for including multiple authors on their listings. End of story. No apology, no this-is-something-we’re-working-on. Just a resounding No. So if you co-author a book with someone and want to distribute it through Smashwords to other venues like Amazon, Sony, or Kobo, know that while your actual book will have both your names on it, the listing at Smashwords will not.
ANGELA: I’d say over all (possibly with a slight grumble from Becca) that our experience was pretty good. What we did learn is that it’s important to leave yourself a lot of lead time up to your launch. Becca and I uploaded to Smashwords well in advance, but we left others a bit too close to the release date. Had something gone sideways at the wrong time, it could have messed us up or even caused us to postpone.
Three takeaways from this experience:
- Don’t hit ‘Publish’ until you are certain your book is as strong as it would be had you gone through traditional publishing. This is your NAME, your BRAND. If the writing is sloppy, a pretty cover won’t save it.
- Unless you know what you’re doing, pay a formatter. A good one. Ask for references and talk to other clients. Trust me, it’s worth the cheddar. You want a painless process, not a pain-filled one.
- Hopefully you won’t need it, but leave yourself lots of time for the scenic route, just in case you find yourself on it!
This book is available in both Print and Digital Formats.
Thanks so much for sharing your insight, Angela and Becca. Make sure you check out their book, THE EMOTION THESAURUS, which is a must-have for all writers (of course, I've bought my copy already *grins*).
And make sure you pop back next Monday for the last in my Self-Publishing and Digital Publishing series, a guest post by the lovely Adina West from Stairways and Landings!