E-book 101

I feel like I have been giving myself my own graduate class on how to publish your own books. I am going to have to grade myself on a curve because as of right now I am still feeling a little clueless. It was a hard decision to go the self-publishing route. I won’t repeat all the reasons I said in past blogs. Once I decided to do it though I knew there would be no looking back. Well, no looking back as far as not doing it. There will be plenty of looking back and saying, “damn, I did that wrong.”

I love writing but writing a book takes a long time. A long lonely time (this is why kittens are a requirement. They provide good writing company). My current novel is now over 107,000 words long and not done. The wonderful thing is I know it will be done. I do a little everyday and someday I get to hold up my hands, do a victory dance, and ignore my kittens look of total disdain (my kittens do not appreciate my dancing ability). Then, of course, the editing starts. These are all things I know how to do and am getting better at everyday.

Publishing your own book adds a whole new wrinkle. I have to format the book for sale on all the different platforms. Originally, I was going to pay someone for this job. It isn’t cheap though, and frankly I was starting to get a little nervous about the cost of doing my Dark Lands Trilogy (not to mention I was completely at the mercy of their schedule). I wanted to pay them though because I really wanted to just concentrate on writing. I decided to see how hard the formatting was and give the self-publishing a test run but with what? After thinking about it for a while I realized my zombie dad short stories were generally well received. The only problem was I didn’t have enough for a small book. I started writing new ones to fill out the collection.

Luckily, my writing program, Scivener’s, is awesome and comes with a big helping hand when it comes to formatting. As good as the program is I have to do all the spot checking to make sure that spaces and margins are right. That the book itself looks good in e-book format. This means doing a line by line edit looking for formatting errors. While I am sure there are plenty of people who self-publish who don’t do this I want my book to be as good as it possibly can be. I could not believe how many spacing errors there were (apparently, I have a twitchy space bar finger).

Once the formatting was done I added my cover. I can’t draw a lick so I paid someone to design my covers (Michael Hart did a great job). I then hit publish and waited for the sales to not roll in. The first few days were good but those sales died away quickly. It confirmed what I suspected was going to happen. Friends bought it but getting out into the world was going to be a totally different trick. It also confirmed I really couldn’t afford to pay someone to format my novels. It would take forever to recoup the money for formatting and covers. I was going to have to do it all myself (at least in the beginning. Maybe someday when my delusions of grandeur become reality, I can pay someone).

This means I am now a publishing house. I have to write. I have to edit. I have to find other editors because I suck at editing. I have to hire an artist and I have to format my books. The last step is the doozy though. I have to become a marketer. I have to find a way to bring people to my books. If I don’t all of this effort becomes a whole lot of work with very little gain. When I say gain I don’t just mean monetarily. I am not expecting to get rich here. I just want to entertain. I want someone to read my books and think, “that was great”. Well worth the time (thankfully despite the small sales on, A Very Zombie Holiday, this has already happened). Maybe the novels are not good enough and I never will get this feedback. I guess at that point I will have to make a tough decision.

In the meantime. I am plugging away at formatting, The Shadow Men, and should be done this weekend. Originally, I was going to wait until June to publish but now I think when it is ready I am going to put it up. So sometime this weekend or early next week my first novel will be out there and my education continues. I have the writing part down. Now, I have to become a show barker and draw in a crowd. It was lonely writing the books but I am hoping that doesn’t have to mean the books live a lonely life.

Amazon Link for A Very Zombie Holiday

Barnes & Noble Link for A Very Zombie Holiday

A Very Zombie Holiday UK Link

About csdaley

C.S. Daley was born in California but has spent most of his life in his imagination. His first short story written in third grade, the now classic "Close Encounters of the Turd Kind," was sold to his next door neighbor for a quarter. The neighbor promptly demanded a refund. An unhealthy obsession with the writings of Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Terry Pratchett have left his mind warped and broken. He spends most of his evening swilling down coffee while tapping at a keyboard under the watchful eyes of his kittens. They are there to make sure he doesn't snap. He likes to write fantasy for adults and teens.

2 Responses to “E-book 101”

  1. Thanks for sharing your e-book process. It is a lot more complicated than I realized. I wish you success on your writing journey. You are bold to self-publish. Let me know when your book is available.

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