I have recently been considering my options when it comes to getting my work to a wider audience and like many out there the consideration to self publish is a very real one.
I have been writing short stories and publishing them on my blog for about a year and the feedback has largely been very positive. I also took part in last year’s NaNoWriMo (write a novel in a month) and managed to complete a 50,000 word novel. Since then I have been editing the novel, or rather not editing the novel, as once it is edited I will have to think about publishing and getting other people to give me feedback on my work. The editing stage is, in my opinion, the worst bit. What if as I read through I find plot holes and parts that I thought were clever hints to the murderer’s identity are actually just gobbledegook? This will all need to be changed and corrected.
I have now committed to complete my first edit by the end of July and I actual have two people who have offered to read and critique it after that. These people are relative strangers who I have met through twitter and the Open University and therefore I trust them to not sugar coat their impressions.
So in order to procrastinate a little further I decided that I would try to publish some of my short stories in an anthology to learn the art of e-publishing. I always try to prepare myself with the proper tools and about six months ago I bought a book about self publishing and how it could be done easily and quickly. I settled down and read the book, which only took about an hour but to my horror it talked about html formatting. This meant nothing to me and seriously had me reconsidering the route I had chosen. However the book, which was in e-format, had a link to a website where I could get an html file which would help.
I settled down at my desk and followed the links. Aarrrggghh! The link no longer exists. What should I do next? Well I had already signed up to Kindle Direct publishing and so decided to see what they said about publishing your book. I went on and followed the process and on there was a link to two free books called ‘Build Your Book for Kindle’ and ‘Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing’. These books are quite frankly amazing. Within one evening’s work I had a book that was formatted and loaded onto Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and ready to be uploaded onto Amazon. From there it took Amazon twelve hours to upload the book and the very next morning I had my first sale. A friends and family sale, but none the less a sale.
For those of you looking to publish get these books. They are free and they tell you everything that you need to know. I would also suggest that you read ‘Build Your Book for Kindle’ before you start writing if you can, as there are a few formatting areas that would have saved time if I had done them from the start.
I don’t know if this would work on other formats but with the size of Amazon and the size of my book/following I don’t think I need to worry about that too much.
The one thing I would say is I did struggle with my cover. However as this was effectively a learning exercise. For the novel I will definitely be paying a professional to do that for me. Also watch out for the categories when you set up on KDP. My book was listed as non-fiction for the first two days as I had not realised there was a single category for fiction which then breaks down into different genre whilst all the non-fiction categories are there as headings from the start.
So my advice is that self publishing is definitely easy to do. However don’t forget your work still needs to be of a professional standard and the marketing is all down to you.
Jo’s first Anthology – So the Feeling shows is available from Amazon at the links below