5 Lessons about Publishing

I’m at the end of my first publishing adventure. All 4 of my books are now on-line again at Amazon in both e-book and paper. Also at Smashwords for distribution(and purchase) for Barnes&Noble, Kobo, iBooks and many others. I started with books that were  available but I wanted to add new covers and add a chapter of the next in the series, so I had to remove them from sale and begin again. Four books in 3 separate formats each equalled 4 months of work. Volume 5 is coming in the fall.

I learned many things but the first one is this:

Use the tools in Scrivener to help produce a manuscript that is easily uploaded to the publishing platforms. I write with Scrivener for many reasons. I store all my research in the appropriate(preset) folders, everything from photos to websites to clippings. I use the character building function to add depth to my cast. And I colour code to keep track of the POV in each scene. Doing that, I can tell at a glance if someone has been off-stage too long, especially my protagonist. When I’m done, I can export in any format, from standard manuscript, to e-book, to paperback novel. Genius.

The second lesson is read the guidelines and if necessary(Smashwords) the books written about formatting. I read all three of Mark Coker’s books about Smashwords and formatting and marketing. Helpful.

The third lesson is to buy Acrobat Pro DC and use it for your PDF’s. I found that the capability to review the pages and particularly assess them with the preflight function saved grief(rejected submissions.)

The fourth lesson: Pay for decent covers. I hired Karen Phillips of PhillipsCovers to create unity out of my chaos and the results are below. I love them and I’m sure they have increased sales.

Child_cover_1563x2500.jpgFacepainter_cover_1563x2500 copy.jpgMotive_cover_1563x2500 copy.jpgRoots_cover_1563x2500 copy.jpeg

The final lesson is about marketing. Seek out as many online groups, services etc. as you can find or afford to help get word out about your books. Booksgosocial is a terrific organization founded and run by Laurence O’Bryan. Services range from twitter campaigns(paid) to several Facebook sites for authors that include a book review group.

I’m going to do it all again in the fall when volume 5 is proofed and ready in time for Christmas.

 

My Publishing Journey

When my publisher retired, I had 4 books at retail outlets online, POD at Amazon, and distributed by Smashwords. Changing over to self-publishing would be easy, I thought.

Not so easy. At CreateSpace, the POD arm of Amazon, I began the process, submitting PDF’s for each book and cover, getting new ISBN’s(free at Library and Archives Canada) for each version and making sure that no vestige of the old publisher remained in the documents. These were then uploaded, assessed and if passed, a proof available on line and if wanted, in paper(for a fee). It’s taken longer than I thought it would and the books aren’t available on Amazon as yet. Along the way I  used Acrobat Pro DC, a terrific program. I’m proofing No Motive for Murder and The Child on the Terrace, while en route to visit my family in Bermuda. I started at the end of the series rather than the beginning because I am making changes in the cover art.

Karen Phillips, of Phillips Covers, is designing covers for all 4 of the published books and for the as yet untitled fifth book in the Dangerous Journeys series. The covers will have common fonts and set-up and a logo. When the latest book is ready to go to press, I’ll present them as a boxed set wherever that is possible.

That brings me to Smashwords, the company set up by Mark Coker, that publishes and distributes e-books to all the major retailers except Amazon, unless one has sold $2000US of the title at Smashwords.

The initial process to change over to me was easy. Arline Chase, at Write Words Inc. turned over the files to me and there they were, all set up to go. Except, her publishing company’s name was in all the books, and I wanted to change that. I also wanted to add a chapter of the preceding book to the next one in the series. That meant getting the original files, adding matter at the end, learning about the page numbering system at Smashwords, and then uploading.

The page numbering? It has to be consistent with their’s and changing it, with my rudimentary knowledge of the finer points of Word, meant hours spent learning and then renumbering. Finally, both cover and content were through the Meatgrinder(that’s the name) and on to Autovetter. This program found errors that at first I didn’t even understand that were left-over ghosts of a pdf file in the Word document I was using.

I’m at the end of the Smashwords process for No Motive for Murder and it and The Child on the Terrace are available under my new imprint From The River Publishing, at Smashwords. The older books are there as well, and at Kobo, Nook, and many other fine e-book retailers.

Oh, yes. The first of my series, Murderous Roots, is free online at all those retailers. No time limit on that and I’ve developed new lower pricing for Volumes 2-4.

One final thought. I’m working on a new web site for my imprint From The River Publishing. It will be available at fromtheriverpublishing.ca. I’ll post the news when it goes live.

That’s it for a sunny Sunday in March.

 

Book Sale

Smashwords. com, the company that distributes my ebooks has a promotion coming on March 5 through March 11. I have enrolled all my books. Murderous Roots will be, as always, free, and the others 50% off. Coupon code, active only at Smashwords on those dates is RAE50.

As many of you know, my publisher, Arline Chase, of Write Words Inc., has retired from the business and I am in the process of revising and republishing under my new imprint From The River Publishing. The books will continue to be available at Smashwords in the meantime, but not at Amazon until the process is complete.

I’m excited to be working with gifted designer Karen Phillips on new covers for Murderous Roots and The Facepainter Murders. She designed the covers for No Motive for Murder and The Child on the Terrace.