Monday, November 15, 2010

Adventures in Self-Publishing

It has been an interesting few days here.  As many of you may know, I am close to completing (for the umpteenth time) the first novel in the Aglaril Cycle.  Over the last few days, I uploaded a version formatted for hard cover print and software print to Lulu.

I then turned my attention to ebooks.

I knew I wanted a version in Kindle format, PDF, epub (for the Apple iBooks store), and one for Sony reader.  So I set out to determine how I can produce all these versions.

I started with Lulu because that's where my print version will be coming from unless a small press publisher picks me up.  The problem with that approach is Lulu wants you to pay for a conversion to epub format.  My goal is to try to do this myself.  So I scratched that option of the list.

Next, I hit the Internet.  I knew from previous research that Amazon provides instructions for creating a Kindle version.  I reviewed those steps and moved on.

Creating a PDF version was not an issue either.  I've been creating PDFs with Word and Acrobat for years.  The real issue was how to create formats about which I knew very little, like the epub format.  From what I discovered on the Internet, I could use Pages (an Apple word-processing application that is part of iWork) to export to epub.  I happen to have a copy of that application so that seemed like an answer.

Then I read a little further and learned about Smashwords.com.  They take Word files and create multiple ebook and electronic formats for free, including all the formats I wanted.  So I decided to join.

Let me stop here and say, I had heard of Smashwords before, but didn't really understand why so many people were using that service.  Dopey me. I really need to pay more attention to things like that.

But I digress.  Once I joined, I went through their process of formatting a Word file according to their style guide.  Then I uploaded the file as a test.  Several hours later, all the versions were available.  They look pretty good too.  The one I like the best is the epub version because I dropped it into iTunes and synced my phone with it and Bamph!  My book is on my phone.  That is very cool.

I'm not done exploring Smashwords.  They have a premium catalog that I'm waiting to get into.  And they all have a marketing guide I want to check out.  They will assign an ISBN to the book too it seems.

So that may be the way I start.  I don't know.  I am still investigating.  I'll post updates in future blog entries.

Stay tuned.  And if you are interested in checking out my book, go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/29970

6 comments:

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Ah, yes, I went through all of this once upon a time. I hate it when sites charge for these services when it's free somewhere else. I've quickly found that Lulu is actually the most highest priced POD publisher out there. CreateSpace has been working very nice for me, although if you are serious about self-publishing many books as a career, Lightning Source is even better, but does involve more steps and to start your own business name.

If you have any questions, shoot me an email. Good luck with your book! I'll go check it out. :)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Nice cover!

Rich Feitelberg said...

I've found CreateSpace unusable. They will not accept the body of the book and do not give an error message that tells me why.

I refuse to pay them $300 to format it so they are off the list. Will look at Lightning Source, however. Thanks for the tip.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Rich, if want, I can help you out with the body of the book. Just send me an email at ladyglamis (at) gmail (dot) com.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I meant if *you* want. :)

Rich Feitelberg said...

That's very kind of you. I'll do that because I'll like to compare them to lulu.

I'll be in touch.