How I self-published my novel

My intention to write about how I approached e-publishing process got lost in the actual process of publishing my novel. It’s funny how that happens. My intentions were good but, as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I started to look for a literary agent in earnest in January 2011 and used QueryTracker (www.querytracker.net) to track my submissions to literary agents. I signed up for the paid version so that I would have access to more information on literary agents and could post comments on how things went. I have a few nibbles but they didn’t pan out. Since currently 98% of all submissions are not picked up by literary agents these days, I wasn’t surprised to not find an agent.  Some authors will tell you to keep trying but I didn’t want to solicit over 100 agents.  I was happy to do about 50.

Even while I was looking for an agent, I suspected that I would follow the e-publish route. I started to read up on the e-publishing and following those who had already e-published on some listsrvs of which I’m a member. I decided that doing this myself would be less expensive if not for free. Free is really a misnomer as there are some costs involved depending on how professional a presentation you would like to make to your readers. They say that it will cost about $400 to get one’s novel published and this includes getting a professional cover. I used http://graphiczxdesigns.zenfolio.com/ for my cover design. I found them easy to work with and they produced a great cover.

Then I decided to publish my novel on Kindle (kdp.amazon.com). I discovered that knowing HTML really helped me getting this up and running, otherwise I would have used someone to help me format for Kindle. My first, not so cleaned up version for Kindle, was actually rejected. After some code clean-up, I went live on Kindle on 12/15/2011. I let all my family and friends know about my novel. I had some early success with Kindle downloads and continue to have steady although not spectacular sales.

It was the holidays and I didn’t get back to e-publishing until late January. I then published on Smashwords (www.smashwords.com) to make my novel available on Barnes and Noble, Sony Nook, iPad and iPhone among other options. I didn’t need to know HTML for this version, but cleaning up your word coding was not for the faint of heart. I did it and my text was accepted and also accepted for premium status, which gets you onto Apple devices. Smashwords asks that a certain percentage of your novel be available for preview. I decided to make 25% of my novel available for download and preview.

Next I decided to go with print on demand and used CreateSpace (www.createspace.com). For this one I needed to upload a PDF file. I used the cleaned up Smashwords version to create a very clean PDF version. This one went well and now I’m waiting to find out when this book will be available on amazon.com.

I’ve learned a lot in this process and will find it easier to do the second time around.

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Categories: writing

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