Thursday, 10 March 2011

A steep e-learning curve

It's less than two weeks since my mind was opened to the sheer potential of self-published e-books and my first one is already for sale. As changes of opinion go, this one has been pretty radical.

Perhaps the most insightful observation made to me about this was that I was initially looking at e-books from the point of view of a reader who would far rather have a 'proper' book, and moved to the standpoint of a writer who wanted to be able to have direct contact with readers. I think that sums it up quite nicely!

I've learned a lot over the past couple of weeks. Luckily, there's a lot of help and advice out there for folk like me who are just catching on to this phenomemon.

Smashwords have a brilliant free style guide written by founder Mark Coker. There's no doubt that it didn't only help me to format my e-book correctly for Smashwords, it also paid off when it came to producing the Amazon version. Smashwords also offers a marketing guide, which I'll be looking at next. There's help from Amazon, too - not least, their DTP Quickstart Guide. 

Perhaps the most valuable and certainly the most inspirational help, though, is thriller writer J A Konrath's blog, A Newbie's Guide To Publishing. If you have any interest in e-publishing, I recommend it to you wholeheartedly, along with the e-book of the same name. (I'm working my way through that slowly, reading a handful of pages each evening.)

I'm not done yet, though. The Kindle version of the book is still pending at Amazon and once that step has been completed there'll be more to learn and do to actually get it listed in the Kindle Store. The book is available now, in a range of formats, from Smashwords, but acceptance into the premium catalogue, essential for wide distribution, is still pending. After that, I'll have to assign an ISBN (which looks straightforward) and then sort out the necessary forms with the IRS so that I don't pay tax in the US as well as the UK.

All of which assumes the book will sell and generate some income. And guess what? It already has!

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