Indie Publishing – The Story Continues

A few months ago I wrote about jumping into the “Indie” publishing, aka: self-publishing, pool. I’d obtained the rights back to my first published book and I decided to publish it digitally.

The journey has been interesting, with lots of twists and turns along the way. Much like a vacation where you know the destination, but you’re taking the scenic route and waiting to discover unique sights as you travel.

First, let’s be clear, I didn’t really know what I was doing. This was definitely “on the job” training. My first step was to download and study the Smashwords style guide. Smashwords is one of the main distribution channels, and they will upload your files to Pubit! (Barnes&Noble), the iTunes store for Apple devices and Kobo.

I’d heard that Smashwords, and their malicious system called: “The Meat Grinder” would be the most difficult to upload files to, so I decided if I managed to get my book uploaded to them, it would work for Kindle. So, I studied the guidelines and typed out my manuscript… word by word. I could have scanned these files, but since I wanted to do a little polishing and editing, I chose this longer method.

Then I needed a new cover design, so I contacted a friend who was a graphic designer. I had a model in mind, bought some photos and she went to work. As the author, having so much control of your cover art is unique and a bit scary. I think we ended up with an amazing cover.

Since this book had already been through the editorial process with my publisher, I didn’t hire an editor. But, I would recommend any time you are Indie publishing to hire an experienced editor. This is your name going on a product, and you want the very best presentation possible.

When I had both the artwork and the text in finished format, I sent it through the “Meat Grinder”, and I was surprised and delighted that it made it through the evaluation process the first time. The key to doing this right: follow every single direction in the Smashwords guide for formatting. Ebooks are very different from print books, and the formatting is different.

Finally I created a copy for the Kindle and uploaded it. Within a few days, I was PUBLISHED. Which seemed a bit strange, because with my previous publishers, it took months to finally see the finished product. Another important thing to remember: digital publishing is fast.

I’m happy to say that this book, Beneath A Silver Moon, has sold well. I’ve made 10 times the amount I was paid by my publisher, and the book still sells copies every week.

I just uploaded my second Indie published book, Whistle Down the Wind, and I expect since it’s a historical book with paranormal elements and under a new pen name, (Sibelle Stone) that it will take time to find an audience. But, digital books have a shelf life of – forever. So I can be patient, and I’ve moved on to work on my next book.

That’s the greatest gift that digital publishing has given me, a new delight and enthusiasm for writing. I have so many stories jumping out at me, that I had to make a file for “story ideas” on my computer.

Indie publishing is difficult, there’s an enormous learning curve, and it’s possible you will not sell any books. But , for me it’s been a wonderful way to get my writing in front of an audience.

You can find more information about Indie publishing on my Blog, http://www.sibellestone.com

Deborah Schneider

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10 responses to “Indie Publishing – The Story Continues

  1. Congrats Deborah, great work!
    eden

  2. raymondbolton

    Thanks for the update. As the legacy market grows increasingly difficult—might I say impossible?—to break into, I too have been considering the indie route. I have finished two fantasy novels and I am working on a second thriller. In addition to this blog, I am gradually expanding my social network. Once I have two completed works in each genre, if I can’t get an agent to take a bite, I will be diving into the deep end alongside you and will be taking a look back at your experiences.

  3. Raymond, Indie publishing is not for those who don’t want to work hard, but you’ve already proven yourself with your finished books. I honestly don’t believe I’d ever be given an advance equal to what I’ve made as an Indie published author. And I get to write want I want to write. For me that’s a big deal. Just ask away if you decide to do it.

    Thanks Eden!

  4. Excellent and timely post, Deb! I’ll be sending the link to my partners-in-crime……

  5. Very cool! Congrats! FYI–I put together a free manual for formatting for e-Books, using styles in the source document. It is a step-by-step and has illustrations as well. It also explains how to use calibre to convert the source document to epub and mobi formats.

    http://www.ljcohen.net/downloads.html

    Using styles to set things like the white space before chapter headings and the paragraph indents will give you a clean document that will easily pass the meatgrinder in smashwords as well (as long as you add their wording to the copyright page)

  6. Thanks for sharing your indie publishing journey, Deborah. Your comment especially touched me: “That’s the greatest gift that digital publishing has given me, a new delight and enthusiasm for writing.” Yes, that’s it exactly. Bonne chance! ~Brit, (A fellow traveler)

  7. Thank you all for dropping by, and Lisa, I’m going to check out your guides. I’m all for anything that will save me time and make it easier.

  8. Pingback: Tons of Help | Sydney Jane Baily

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