A year or two ago, Perth’s Writing WA put on an e-publishing seminar and one of the presenters was e-publisher Mark Coker of Smashwords who was currently on a promotional tour around Australia. Although Mark was enthusiastic and convincing, he was also adamant that before entering an e-market venture, the steps in his Marketing book be put in place — i.e. a substantial electronic presence. Being (still, I must admit) one of those writers who would rather write than promote, after reading the book, I put the whole e-idea aside while I worked through the traditional editing, publishing and marketing processes of my first novel.
That first novel is now out and about, a second is in the traditional publishing queue, so with a short spell free before going to Spain to research a third novel, the e-question loomed again. And I had the feeling that it was going to keep looming unless I did something about it. In fact, it was a similar feeling to the one I’d had before the share market bust a couple of decades back when I was on a flight from somewhere to somewhere, picked up a financial magazine and came across yet another article that got my attention as being different somehow from the usual media hype. On the basis of that hunch, I sold my shares 12 hours before their value would have dissolved. It was that sort of gut feeling based on the constant barrage of articles in the literary magazines I subscribe to that finally motivated me to read Mark’s book again, and then to start putting his advice into place and experiment with a book that had a story to tell. An additional motivation was reading somewhere that the early years of e-publishing have passed and that it is now well and truly into its adolescence. Time goeth…
The accompanying book to Smashwords Marketing book is their Style Guide — and they reckon it’ll take a couple of hours to format your book to their specifications. I have to admit — not being super e-savvy, it took me more like a couple of days, but it was worth taking the extra time to get it right and I was delighted and rather touched when it made their Premium Catalog first off.
I’ll keep you posted as to whether I make any money out of it, but so far it has cost me little to produce. For the cover, I approached one of Smashwords recommended graphic designers, Ebook launch, and they were back to me within a couple of days with the correctly sized version of my preferred cover and an alternative design, total cost $99. There are also formatting companies you can approach for the text; in my case, I decided to see if I could do it myself following Smashwords style guide step by step – and learn along the way. The style good was great, but the learning curve was/is steep!
And as for the moment my e-book — Our Grand Design — was released! Everyone who has ever edited a monthly journal or magazine, published a book or had an essay or story accepted for publication knows the feeling when you finally hold the book or magazine in your hands. It’s frequently compared to giving birth or seeing your child for the first time, and it’s that few totally isolated moments in time when nothing else but you and your intimate connection with that small wonder exists. But the electronic world seeming so vast and crass and overpopulated, I’d wondered whether I’d get that sort of buzz from my e-book. And then with all the business of trying to get the formatting and so forth correct, it was the last thing on my mind until I actually saw the book up there for sale. I have to say that the experience was every bit as emotional as traditional publishing — perhaps more so, because although it’s more public, it’s also more private — a little bit as if your feelings don’t have anywhere to go but ping back and forth between you and your computer screen.
Love to hear of your reactions and experience in similar circs!
The link to Smashwords Marketing Guide is here. There are many others on the market, but this one is good and it’s free!