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Patience, Grasshopper

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The title of this post will date me, but that’s ok. I fell into the lack of patience trap as I got closer to publishing The Monster Within (TMW). Who wouldn’t be excited about hurrying up and publishing knowing that it’s so close? Part of it, at least how I justified it, was that I needed to figure out the websites and how to actually get the book loaded and how that all worked. So I started with Smashwords and submitted the book when it wasn’t 100% ready. I was still waiting for feedback from a couple of beta readers, and I still forged ahead and uploaded the book anyway. So when the last comments came in, I needed to make some revisions and re-upload.

By jumping the gun I had a version of the book available online that had some clunky sentences and typos in it. I’m a perfectionist so this of course made me crazy. But the lesson was learned. Once I fixed the necessary parts, I re-uploaded the book to Smashwords, had to wait for Smashwords review/approval, and then they pushed the updated version out to BN, Apple, etc.

In retrospect, after spending countless hours writing the book, what was a few more in waiting and getting the absolute best version of the book uploaded for distribution? My goal is quality, not quantity. I don’t want to write lots and write garbage. I want to write lots but produce quality reading…and to do this, I will have to frequently remind myself to be patient.

So stop goofing off reading posts and write!

 

photo from SXC.hu

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Hardcover printing

Based on information I learned today, it appears that hardcover printing of books is going the way of the dodo.

I checked into this option through CreateSpace. They do have hardcover upgrades that I can set up (for a fee of $99) and then additionally pay per book for printing ($14 and some change). This does not include shipping and proofing.

And another interesting tidbit is the hardcover books are not available for distribution…meaning I can get them, but you can’t. So this seems like a bizarre set up to me, but it could just be me. In order for me to “sell” any hardcover books, I have to order them and sell them myself.

Honestly, I’m doing so many other things on my own, I’m thinking this is not something I also want to tackle….which makes me believe this is why hardcover books are going extinct. They just don’t seem to be worth the hassle. I might do it at some point to give as gifts or something, but it won’t be today. Tomorrow isn’t looking good either.

Now stop goofing off and write!

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Helpful ebook Publishing Resources

When I felt the book was complete, I turned to investigating how to get it published. I probably should have started this investigation earlier, but I didn’t. Though when I started digging, I found this article..

http://reviews.cnet.com/how-to-self-publish-an-e-book

It is short, but contains a ton of general information.  It was enough to get me going on a path to further discovery. I wanted more information and another author, Joel D Canfield…I’ve mentioned him before, had already recommended that I check out Smashwords as an ebook distributor. On the Smashwords website, I found this free ebook, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success, by the same author, Mark Coker, who created the lengthy but very helpful style guide for submitting manuscripts to Smashwords. The thing I like best about this book is that the writer is honest. Sure, he’s going to promote Smashwords in it, but he takes it a step further to explain a lot of the pieces surrounding ebooks and indie publishing and more importantly the pros and cons of different indie publishing options.

Yes, you can make more money in royalties by submitting your ebook directly to Apple, Nook, etc. rather than using Smashwords, but if you modify your book or cover art, you have to also upload the new file(s) to each site. If you use Smashwords, you upload the new file(s), they will handle the distribution, and you make about 5% less in royalties. Personally I see that 5% as a price I’d gladly pay to save myself the time and headache of going to each site individually to upload the file. With Smashwords I can do it once, and my part is done. And there is ZERO cost to upload any new versions of your book and ZERO cost to get started with Smashwords.  So I loaded the book to Smashwords which distributes to all the other ebook distributors (BN, Sony, Apple, etc). And I loaded the book to Amazon. Smashwords does distribute to Amazon after $2000 in sales. I’m not there yet, so I do handle the process myself on Amazon. And doing Amazon is also ZERO cost to me. So ultimately, Smashwords is a middle-man. But it’s a middle-man I want to have, so that’s why I use it.

Another free Mark Coker book available on Smashwords is, Smashwords Book Marketing Guide. I haven’t had a chance to get into this one yet, but I will. I’ve got five books I’m reading at the same time right now, so it will be a bit before I can dive into it.

Now, go! Write!

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Helpful Writing Resources

As promised, I wanted to highlight various resources I found helpful through this process. Personally, I didn’t find out about these two books until much later in the process, but it’s never too late. For anyone thinking of writing, who has already started writing, has a finished piece but isn’t sure what to do next, or anything in between, check out this book by Larry Brooks, Story Engineering, Mastering the Six Core Competencies of Successful Writing. Go to Amazon and search by the author’s name. You’ll find it without any trouble.

My writing had started out very scattered at first, just writing with no real clear direction. And I couldn’t tell you how many re-writes I did until I firmed up the plan for the story a bit more. Ultimately I ended up following the six core competencies, but I didn’t really know that’s what I was doing. The process would’ve been much less painful if my plan would’ve been in place earlier in the process. But, I’m not complaining. I have learned a tremendous amount about writing and about myself through this process. And part of what I’ve learned is that I will certainly be changing tactics on future writing projects.

Mr. Brooks has another book along similar lines, Story Physics, Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling. I have not yet read this one as of today, but I have it queued on my Kindle and ready to go once I finish Story Engineering.

Both of these books came highly recommended, well it was probably more like marching orders, from Joel D Canfield along the lines of: Cheryl, get these books and read them. They will help you!

I know to trust Joel’s advice, so I immediately looked up the books and got them.

More to come on publishing resources/info. In the interim, check out this video on The Hero’s Journey. Great information, and fun to watch, on story set up. Enjoy!

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ISBNs and Barcodes

ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers) are unique identifiers, those little numbers on the back of a print book with the barcode, that help traditional book stores search for and order your books. You need an ISBN for each format of a book you plan to publish….soft cover, hard cover, and ebook. And for ebook, you need one for each electronic format. Kindle, iBooks, Nook, etc, these all have different file formats they use, thus you need an ISBN for each. So you are potentially looking at a lot of ISBNs per book you publish.

BUT!!!… there is an up side to this. When you submit a book for ebook format, you are not required to purchase  an ISBN. The ebook publisher such as Smashwords or Amazon can take care of this for free. When you are looking at getting a book in print, you will need an ISBN for soft cover and a separate ISBN for hard cover. You can get ISBNs through your publisher, or you can opt to purchase them yourself for your print books. Purchasing them yourself means you hold the ISBN as “the publisher.”

Purchasing ISBNs to hold as your own isn’t cheap, but there are some good bulk ordering packages. So if you are writing a trilogy to have in both soft and hard copy, you’ll have six ISBNs right there. Bowker is a resource for purchasing individual or bulk ISBNs. You can get one ISBN for $125, or buy a set of 10 ISBNs for $250. And the packages go up from there. However, by ordering in bulk, you get more ISBNs for a lower $:ISBN ratio.

Bowker also offers the purchase of bar codes for your book while you purchase the ISBNs, but these come at $25 each. So if you got 10 ISBNs, you’re looking at another $250 for bar codes if you opt to purchase them through Bowker.

However, there is a free resource (you can opt to donate to the cause as a means of thanks for a free service that just saved you some major bank) for creating bar codes available at:

http://www.terryburton.co.uk/barcodewriter/generator/

Indie publishing doesn’t have to break the bank. There are options available to keep costs down. And if you opt to only publish your book electronically, you don’t even have to deal with any cost whatsoever for ISBNs or barcodes. Let your ebook publisher take care of that for you.