More Publication News, Although Not Quite as Exciting as the Last Bit of News

First, a blog announcement: this is blog post number 100. I’d say “HOORAY! LET’S PARTY!” but, whatever. There are bloggers that post 100 blogs a day, so reaching my 100th blog post isn’t that big a deal of a milestone. I mean, it is, considering I blog, what, maybe twice a week. Okay, I’m downplaying this somewhat. Okay, I’m downplaying this a lot. 100 means something.

Second, no word yet from Amazon on when Out Where the Buses Don’t Run goes officially onsale at both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (and European distribution), but I’m hoping to get an answer sometime before the week is through. Kindle Direct Publishing is still formatting and proofing the book for Kindle distribution, and that too should be done by week’s end…I hope. In the meantime, I’m hosting a giveaway of the book on Goodreads. Yes, I’m giving away five copies of the book, and if you’re on Goodreads, browse on over right now and enter to win a copy! You never know, you just might win a copy with a signed note from me. Come on, you know you want to. And while you’re there, go ahead and send me a friend request. I’m always hanging around Goodreads, and I’d love to have you there as a friend as well.

Now, onto the book itself.

I got ten copies delivered last night. CreateSpace lets me order as many copies as I want, at a wholesale price. The UPS guy came to my driveway as I was installing some outdoor lights and watering the lawn. As soon as I saw the box, I knew my books had arrived. When I saw the box was addressed from Goodreads, my hunch was confirmed. I turned cartwheels on the lawn and whooped and hollered.

Actually, I’m lying. I thanked the UPS guy and left the box in front of the door, and continued with what I was doing. I brought the box into the house a few minutes later.

I realized later last night that I hadn’t opened the box yet to inspect the goods. I cut open the box. My wife was next to me, wondering what was in the box. When she saw what came out of the box, she couldn’t contain her excitement. I took the first copy, and inscribed it for her. Part of me was excited. Part of me was all like, “Oh, okay then.”

booksI was a bit disappointed with the quality of the cover. It looks like a cover designed by someone who’s never designed a cover in their life, and the image quality isn’t as sharp as I’d hoped. But then I realized, for an entire project that cost virtually nothing to produce, I can’t really complain about the quality. I liken this to all those bands that DIY’d their album distribution back in the day, going as far as hand-drawing the covers on the cassette box or CD sleeve. Sort of.

I was very pleased, however, with the quality of the print work. It looked exactly as I’d wanted it to look, and with good reason. I spent more than a month pouring over not just every word, but the formatting of the pages as well. There wasn’t a paragraph that looked out of place, or some sentences incorrectly indented. Just perfect. I couldn’t have been more pleased.

I remind myself that I’ve set some modest expectations with this book. Primarily, I wanted to see for myself if I could fathom the process of creating an entire book from scratch, from editing to formatting to cover design to imprint. It’s time-consuming, sure, but I found the process less painful than I’d first thought. It also helped getting first-hand experiences from other writers who’d done the self-publishing route themselves. All told me they also found the process not as painful, and they’d do it again.

Will this book sell a lot of copies? I don’t know. I’ve got a giveaway to run, and I’ve gotten about 100 entries so far. More than 40 people have added the book to their “To-Read” list on Goodreads. It’s a nice start. But here in the coming weeks, I’m going to start perhaps the hardest part, and that’s the marketing process. I can’t just throw it up there, and wait for the checks to come in. I’ll use this blog and my Goodreads page and Linkedin to publicize this book some more (I don’t do Facebook anymore, but I will likely use other people’s help in publicizing the book via FB to share friends). I’m thinking shooting a video in which I read from one of the stories in the book. I may even begin to use the Twitter thingy.

Oh, I also forgot, I’m also going to use Smashwords to publish and distribute the book. A lot of people I know have expressed an interest in reading the book via Nook or iBooks or other non-Kindle formats. Why not make use of Smashwords, they’ve suggested. And why not, I say. 

One thing’s for sure, if I do self-publish again, I’ll spring for a professionally-done cover design. A good one can be had for less than $500, and I’m good for the cash.

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30 thoughts on “More Publication News, Although Not Quite as Exciting as the Last Bit of News

  1. Totally cool! I remember that same moment–and similar conclusions have been reached. My mistake is I’m trying to get a better cover still without shelling out for it–a mistake, I think. Trouble is I’ve been afraid to hire someone for real money because I have NO idea how to go about it!

    Didn’t mean to make it about me–go jump up and down while I go enter the giveaway.
    Rebecca

    • That’s weird. Never heard of GR just eating someone’s bookshelves and reviews just like that.

      Found out this morning that the book is now live. All I’m waiting for now is for it to be available on Kindle.

      Thanks for being such a great reader and supporter of this blog!

  2. Very well – that is a great feeling to see your finished book! I wrote something about changing book covers a few days ago – really, not just saying this to say it, but you should stop by and read … made a HUGE difference in my sales. If you ever want to know a few good online sites for promotion I’m glad to send you the ones I used and that actually proved good 🙂 Again, congratulations!

    • Hey Shauna, funny enough, I was contemplating some changes to the cover, so your blog is very timely!

      I’d like to learn more about the online sites you’ve used to promote your books. Feel free to e-mail me at gus_sanchez1971@hotmail.com and fill me in on your experiences with online promotions. Really appreciate the offer!

  3. Just out of curiosity, how to do you find publishing with both Smashwords and Kindle Direct? I had been thinking about publishing with Smashwords only as they can make it available for the Kindle if you format correctly, but I have heard of people publishing with both.

    If you have time, I’d love to hear how you are finding it!

    • Sarah, even though you’re asking Gus, I’m going to answer this too, as my book as been with both for over a year. I went with both in part (okay, mostly) because I’d never heard of Smashwords when I first published, so just did Kindle and B&N on my own. I went ahead with Smashwords to get into all the other sites–including iBooks–but have to admit that I’ve gotten only one sale through Smashwords. OTOH–it’s been very useful for doing free copies for giveaways and reviewers!

      Double-check, but I think you get listing on Amazon only if you use KDP, though people can buy kindle-compatible copies from Smashwords. Anyway, it’s not a big effort to do both–I’ve even seen the suggestion to put it up on Smashwords, download a Kindle copy to your computer and bingo! you have a Kindle-formatted copy without the pain of yet another round of minor formatting changes (I intend to try this as soon as book #2 is ready to go live).

      • Thank you for the information! I’m glad you responded, even if Gus does too it’ll be all the more information!

        Smashwords appealed to me because of the variety of formats it can be available in, plus the tax information seemed to come across as easier for me as I’m Canadian and have to jump through about 16 different hoops to get the tax stuff done 😛 KDP didn’t seem as easy as Smashwords, but I suppose applying for the tax information through one is good enough since I’ll be granted a tax number I can use for both.

        I think I’ll review the policy for KDP and entertain the idea of publishing with both when the time comes. Thanks for the tip on the Kindle-formatting as well!

        • What Rebecca said.

          I found formatting my manuscript with Smashwords pretty easy. It went live in a matter of minutes. There’s some additional, if rather painful, formatting I’ll need to do if I want it be made in their Premium catalog (Apple’s iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, just to name a few). Not sure I really want to make that kind of committment for a book that has a pretty narrow focus to it. For now, my book on Smashwords is available for all e-readers, including Kindle.

          Regarding KDP, I opted for KDP as part of my package with CreateSpace. It’s completely free, and there’s no obligation, but since KDP is part of Amazon, I figured it’s best to spread my options on Amazon if they’re made available for me. My book will be available on KDP by the end of the week, actually.

          • Hi Gus. Thanks for taking the time to get back to me!

            I haven’t decided if I’m going to do paperback yet for mine, but I had been looking at KDP and for some reason, I had it in my brain that I should only do KDP OR Smashwords. But now that I think about it, it’s veeeery common to use both, isn’t it?

            The basic formatting for Smashwords is pretty easy so once I’m at that stage I’m not concerned. I think since both are free, why not go with BOTH Smashwords and KDP? For some reason I couldn’t figure that out before 😛

            Thanks for the input! I really appreciate it!

            • It didn’t occur to me to do both, until Rebecca herself praised Smashwords. Now I’ve got my book in paperback, and electronic on both KDP and Smashwords. The more, the merrier.

              Good luck, and feel free to reach out if you have any more questions.

              • BIg thing about Smashwords, besides the easy way to do free copies (and you will be giving away a lot of copies, something that I never thought of before I started), is that it allows people like me who use the Nook instead of the Kindle to get a copy. Plus–I have some friends who just detest Amazon and want nothing to do with it. I think that’s like loathing the weather, but it’s their choice–and I want to be sure they can still buy my book.

                • That’s the main reason I wanted to go with Smashwords to begin with, because they had access to the larger audience of those who d not use the Kindle. I like that you compared it to loathing the weather 🙂 Made my day actually!

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