On the cusp of publishing your story/novel/opus? E-publish or self-publish or …?
The questions that come after completion of the major work seem overwhelming, but consider this: it’s the best distraction for a long enough period of time that you can completely push the work out of your head and focus exclusively on something that is so much more and so radically different from the creative side that your mind will clear.
When you finish the process of looking at the ‘how and where’ of publishing your words and you re-read your mss – how much easier do you think it’ll be to see the tiny little flaws you couldn’t see before? I’ll tell you – soooooo much easier. And it’s all because you took your focus elsewhere. Here. To the publishing questions. So, think of it as a good thing, of value to you, the writer.
For e-books – and this is probably the best start unless you want to submit to a ‘big five’ publisher:
Format the document in the best way possible. Read how the e-saler wants it, learn it well and do it. Smashwords has a whole document on the best way to format your story and you need to follow the instructions. Why? Because if you stuff it up and the formatting is wobbly, wrong, or has only one word on each line/page etc. do you think a reader will go beyond their first look? I wouldn’t, and nor would you. So, do the formatting properly.
Amazon is a little trickier, but if you find somewhere to convert your document to e-pub (for free or otherwise), then use this site to check how it looks before you put it up (not for commercial use; single-use non-commercial only – commercial users can buy it). If you think you know how to format – think again! Things get chewed up because you used a particular software program, something’s hidden in the background (like bookmarks), something’s funny about the non-true-type font you used for your heading or centering, or …
Do the formatting before you even think about submitting to the e-salers. Do it now. The first few times may take some effort, but after the first few (dozen, or so, by my recollection) you can (maybe) trust yourself to do the quick skim before submitting (and if you do this, what have you lost? Those first 3 days, that’s what).
The reason you want to do this part so carefully, with so many finicky checks and balances?
The first three days. That’s how long you have to get the ‘new’ skimmers. These are the people who look for new stuff that comes online. If you have a good title and a great cover and get people looking inside, these are the three days that count. As soon as you press publish, the countdown starts. Three days to stay in the flash of light of e-saling. A good cover with a good title that shows the genre, audience and what that story is about on the inside can get you 80-800 looks a day (your writing will determine whether there’s a sale or not) – a non-cover with a rubbish title will get you precisely none/nil/zip.
And there you have the intro to e-publishing your story. The info’s out there, you just have to understand that it’s there for a reason, and it makes sense to make the most of the effort you’ve put into that story/novel/opus, doesn’t it?
K. Jaeger 2017.