I started publishing my short stories and books a little over a year ago and while I have been very happy with the interest and feedback I have received, I have to admit the process is a pain in the ass sometimes. What I should say is the process is fairly simple, but the waiting and the support is what can be frustrating.
There are a lot of tools and other writers who have their own tips and tricks to self publishing – ALL HAVE VALUE and you should consider reading a number of authors’ viewpoints. Mine are exactly that… mine. Some of you who have tried this process with Amazon have recently seen a few changes – especially after the merging of CreateSpace.
Here are a few things you should prepare before you ever publish.
The obvious is make sure you have an idea of what your message really is with your work. No one has read your work yet, so the cover and byline are going to be the first draw.
Then consider eBook or Paperback… or both. Depending on length and topic of your work you may consider one over the other. Many people are gravitating more to ebooks, but there are the purists that still enjoy flipping pages and adding the physical copy to their library. The other thing to consider is the contents. ebooks are just as good as paperbacks, but including images… for example a graphic novel can be frustrating when you have to position everything perfectly for different e-readers. It is also important to note that paperbacks will obviously be more expensive to create and will cut down on the royalties.
Next consider your cover little more in-depth. Amazon has a great option built it for covers based on their templates. For those who are more creative you can create your own cover, just make sure it fits the dimensions Amazon requires. You should also think about the look of that cover – especially when you are writing about questionable topics, such as erotica. Remember it is not a porn mag and being overly explicit when creating your cover can get your cover rejected. And consider the reader, especially when you are offering paperback copies. I doubt the reader would take the book out and read it on an airplane or in the park if the cover looks like a smut magazine.
Finally, have your work reviewed before you start the process. Grammar is only one aspect, how the story is told is also important. You may start a story in the 3rd person, but as you continue to write, you can sometimes put yourself in the story and it becomes a 1st person story by the time you are finished. Take to other authors and consider a pre-release review of the piece.
Now the other issues around self publishing is timing. It does take a little time to get everything reviewed before it becomes available. For most writers this is not a big deal and to be fair – it is a lot faster than going through a different publishing firm. the issues around timing are also centered around how you setup the piece. If you originally setup the piece as an ebook and then go back and add it as a paperback, the time it takes to get that done and make it available is a pain to deal with. I have gone to support several times and the canned answers that it is in review after 3 weeks – even though they say 72 hours – is frustrating. Consider creating both ebook and paperback at the same time and you can control the publishing releases at that point, but it will get the piece reviewed and approved faster.
Always remember what songwriters do… #keepwriting. Not everything you write will be accepted by your audience. No singer has an album of hits, they have an album that has one or two and it keeps the fan coming back. The same is true when you write. Stick to your vision and your passion. You are not going to please everyone, but like the game of golf, all you need is one good shot to keep you going and keep you coming back.