To self-publish

Self publishing can be a free and easy option. You don’t have to query agents or publishers, receive rejection letters, or wait months and months to see the finished product.

There are two options I’ve found to be the easiest way to self-publish: Amazon and Smashwords.

Amazon is where I was directed to by P.n. Elrod. She told me that it is a better option than going through any traditional publisher. I don’t really want to self-publish all my books, but I needed to build up my ‘platform’ before my book, Me and Billy the Kid, is released in November through Tate Publishing and Enterprises LLC. So I signed up for an account, followed the formatting instructions, created a book cover, choose the price, select the channels it will be distributed on and presto! your book is published! It is accessible to the world in as little as 24 hours and you can have your first royalty check deposited into your bank account just as soon as you accumulate $10 is sales.  

More recently, I discovered Smashwords after searching for an easy way to get my book to Barnes and Noble. The fastest way to do that is to self-publish through Smahswords. But I use the word ‘easy’ lightly. I’ve never been one for following directions. If I buy something that comes with an instruction manual, I throw the booklet aside and only seek its guidance after repeatedly trying and failing miserably to put my new toy together.

That’s what I did with Smashwords. I ignored the formatting guidelines and submitted my book. (Raise your hands if you think that the color red should never be used for proofreading purposes!) After seven failed attempts to get my book into the premium catalog where it would be distributed through Barnes and Nobles, I finally turned to the directions.

After reading the formatting guidelines one single time, I resubmitted my manuscripts and four hours later, I’m notified that my book had been accepted! Who’d have thought it could have been so easy? Let that be a lesson to all you newbie authors out there: directions are made for a reason! Follow them and you’ll get fewer headaches.

I’ll update you in a week or so and let you know if my book made it to Barnes and Noble, the Apple Store, Sony, and Kobo. (What is Kobo???)   

If not, its back to the drawing board…and maybe I’ll reread the direction to see if I missed anything.     



34 thoughts on “To self-publish

  1. hi,
    excellent piece of advice. Two gems for me:
    1. ‘you are building a platform before your main book is out’. Please, please expand!
    2. ‘What is Kobo?’ I had to smile, because I just bought a Kobo for my mum! It’s another e-reader, Japanese produced and initially designed to rival the Amazon kindle. It’s sold in the UK by the books and stationary chain store WH Smith, which has a very strong high street presence. It has, more importantly for me, a connection with the publishing house Mondadori, Italian. Apparently – and this is where anecdotal evidence comes in – it accounts for 50% of the French market and has a strong presence in Canada.
    Hope this helps!

    • Hello there! Thank you for your comment!
      First of all, you’re wondering what I meant about my platform? Or the release of my main book?
      And secondly, thank you for letting me know what a Kobo is! I vaguely remembered hearing the name before, but had no idea what it was. lol

      • hi! I meant the platform. You are so young and yet so determined. I really admire this in you.
        What do you mean that you need to expand your platform before your book publication? Why do you feel you have to do this?
        Sorry, I’m just really interested!

    • Oh, thank you so much! And not to worry! What I meant about the platform is letting people know that I’m an author and that I have a book coming out soon. A platform includes social media (facebook, twitter…) a blog and/or website, and writing for a local paper or magazine, as well as giving speeches, going to writing conventions etc. (I haven’t done the last two because I’m rather shy.)
      But I hope that by building my platform, more people will be excited for the release of my new book and more apt to buy a copy.
      Thanks for your questions! Hope to keep in touch! 🙂

    • Oh that’s good to hear! Thanks Charles! 🙂
      And what I meant by formatting was the indents, fonts, sizes, and the such. It was just amazing how quickly my book was accepted after I followed the directions! Lol

    • Resizing my cover was another thing that I didn’t know I had to do until the error message popped up saying the cover was too small! Grrr…
      Anyway, now that we know what to do, getting the next book(s) accepted should be a peice of cake! 😉

    • It took me awhile, too. I didn’t have a good (easy) program to work with either, but finally stumbled upon the page that said “Resize”. (That was my fault because I was reading everything too fast…sort of like how I write!) LOL

      • I did a scan and crop. I think I eventually found an on-line site that resized photos. Took a while to do that and it still didn’t help me with Barnes & Noble.

    • I used the Microsoft program ‘Paint’.
      But Beginning of a Hero is on Barnes and Noble. In paperback, even. (I see that it is your old cover, though.) Why wouldn’t it accept your new version? But I can’t find your book on Smashwords. Did you take it off?

      • If you mean the building in the forest cover then that was done by iUniverse (the original vanity press) and not me. It’s out of print since I cancelled the contract. The new version is not on there.

        Paint is a massive headache to me at times. If you can figure it out then I bow to your superior technology skills.

      • I’m on KDP Select now, so I can’t be on any of the other sites. Prior to that, I went strictly through Smashwords because they were connected to B&N. So, setting up with Smashwords will get you on the B&N site too.

  2. I saw a Kobo this morning on the train. I pulled out my hot pink flashy Kindle, but I don’t think the Kobo reader even noticed. lol! They’re smallish and cute, but since Amazon and I are bestest buds (meaning I make money and Amazon happily takes it from me), I figured it’s best to stick with my Kindle. (Plus I got it on the cheap).

    Good tips for self-pubbers. I’ve heard getting the book uploaded can be tricksy.

    • Ooo, Kindles come in pink??? Why didn’t anybody tell me that! I want one! LOL
      Thanks Jae, and that formatting thing was a real pain. Just glad I got it figured out. Now all I have to do is wait and see if Barnes and Noble accepts my book…

      • Well, Kindle skins and cases come in pink. Almost same-same. 😉 Seriously though, I bought an older Kindle, I think 2nd gen, used from my friend. Works like a charm and I love it! Don’t be afraid to go used.

  3. That was very interesting, thanks for sharing!
    But a small, annoying and stubborn part of me keep saying ”No, no, no, no!!!”
    I don’t know I think I just need someone judging me from the highest step! Otherwise a part of me decided I’m not worth to be read!

  4. Hi Briana, thanks for your help. I’m pondering about which self publishing platform to use. I’m worried about getting the layouts working and the photos being the right size and loading properly, as the ebook could look ameteurish!

    • Very glad to be of assistance!
      If you start out using the CreateSpace site, it helps you design the cover and format your novel. (CreateSpace creates paperbacks) and then you can publish that book directly onto Amazon/Kindle. The thing with Smashwords is, you already have to have a title set up. And with the titles, you could hire a freelance artist. I’m not an artist and I don’t know any, so I just used pictures of scenery I’ve taken in our canyon.
      But I would really suggest trying Createspace, as they will help with the layout and formatting. And then later, you can always upload everything to Smashwords so your book will be on Barnes and Noble, too!

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