Yes, folks, it’s official. I have gone to the dark side. I’m now a publisher. My very first original eBook–a short story titled “A Hundred Years or More” is for sale at the Kindle store. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004XNOV6O And let me tell you being a publisher is no picnic. You have to deal with crazy authors…like me.
Here’s my e-pub saga:
Thank heavens for friends! My pal and Novelist, Inc. roomie, Laurin Wittig, gave me a step-by-step cheat sheet on How-To-Self-Pub.
First step: get a cover.
So, I contacted my Superromance writing buddy, Kim Van Meter. Kim is fast and fabulous. I sent her my short story (it’s only 11 pages) and she sent me two awesome choices. I picked the one you see above. Isn’t it amazing? Captures the wistful, looking-out-the-window-at-life quality I didn’t even know I wanted for the cover. Yeah, Kim!!!
Then, came the tricky part: uploading my text.
Amazon/Kindle is very user-friendly, but like Smashwords (a step I’m still working on, Laurin), it works BEST with MS-Word. Unfortunately, I don’t have Word on my Mac. I can save a text file as a Word document, but I can’t edit as a Word document. Kim helped, bless her heart, but I missed a key step in the process (review!!!) and my first publishing effort was not a pretty sight. (This is where working with neurotic authors comes into play.)
The author (me) cheerfully, optimistically opens her Kindle app, types in the title of the story: “A Hundred Years or More,” pays the 99-cents, waits while it loads, then FREAKS OUT! The publisher (me) uploaded the wrong cover (the prototype, not the beautiful finished product) AND the text appeared without paragraphs. No paragraphs! The formatting was wrong. The publisher screwed up. The author was irate. The author’s husband laughed. It was not a good morning.
Thankfully, both mistakes were easily fixed once Kindle finished the uploading process and let me back into the program to make the changes. Finally–48 hrs from start to finish–my short story and cover were up.
I haven’t been on the Kindle boards, yet, but word is spreading and I’ve started getting some lovely reviews. My favorite is from a high school classmate of mine who actually bought his son a parrot and lived through some of the same experiences.
And, there’s a cool feature that both writers and publishers like about Kindle: you can check your sales daily…maybe hourly (I’m afraid to go there) and Kindle posts your ranking against other books in your category. (I think they have ranking for everything.) Currently, my book is number 3 on one of their lists. If you want to see how esoteric the category you’re just going to have to check it out yourself. I’m #3. That’s good enough for me. LOL.
So, what does this publishing business mean in terms of Deb Salonen books and writing? Well, I’ve hired a new web-mistress to help me re-vamp my current website. My first goal is to create a page devoted to my new e-pub projects. I plan to post all the great comments many of you–my first beta-readers–gave me after pre-viewing this story, along with photos of pet parrots, if anybody would like to contribute.
Here’s a great shot–not Captain Jack, but gorgeous none-the-less–from my pal Jackie Maxwell. www.jaximages.com
And, I’m currently putting the finishing touches on another short story. It’s title is: ‘Gator. What’s with me and animal themes, right? LOL. Actually, I call this one: “A short story about love…or something like it.” Poor Kim’s going to have her work cut out for her to come up with a great cover for this quirky little story, which actually took “First Place” in a short story contest many moons ago.
I know a lot of people aren’t thrilled about the whole e-book revolution, but for authors the medium provides a wonderful opportunity to find a home for those odd, little pieces that demand to be written but don’t fit with the average publishing houses. (Remember Saturday Evening Post and McCall’s? I used to love reading their short stories.)
I loved writing “A Hundred Years or More.” It came to me as one of the pure, sit-and-write pieces that only required transcribing. At first, I thought it might be the synopsis of a bigger story–and maybe, someday, it might–but for now, Captain Jack’s story was the perfect vehicle to explore my options and give publishing a try. And, frankly, if you can handle the crazy author-types, publishing’s not a bad gig.