Monday, December 12, 2011

Step One

So I've made the decision - I'm going to publish an eBook. I have the story all picked out - in fact it was the positive reception this story got from all readers that cemented the decision in my mind. Now what?

I started with research, just as I did when I had traditional publishing front and center in my brain. Where to publish, how to publish, formatting, marketing, what the prices are like these days... I read just about every article I can find on ePublishing. Soon I'll get around to devoting an entire post to what I've found.

For now, though, I've divided my foray into ePublishing into a few separate topics/concerns:

Cover Design:
I put this one first because its the one I'm least capable of handling myself. I'm not an entirely hopeless artist, but I want my books to be represent by a much better artist than myself. As soon as I'd made my decision to publish I started putting out notices to all my art-minded friends. I wanted to talk to anyone who could draw well. If I hadn't found anyone that way I was all set to start trolling deviantArt (some amazing stuff on there) and asking strangers if they'd like to help me out. Fortunately, I've found someone who was willing to take a stab at my cover.

eBook formatting is the arena I'm least worried about. I'm currently a computer programmer by trade, and eBook formats are generally based off of HTML/XML. No problem. My writing in the future will be set up with a mind towards making the eventual eBook conversion easier, though. No more tab-indents for me!

Here's the big one. If you're thinking of publishing at all you should be thinking about how you'll build your reader base. This is more important than ever with the advent of ePublishing - it takes nothing for somebody to put their work onto the net, and not much more for them to get it onto Amazon and Smashwords. How to set yourself apart?

First step I had in mind is making sure I have a good cover. I'm guilty of buying a book based on an attractive cover (which I have definitely regretted in the past, but there it is) so I want my cover to catch the eye of anyone browsing through a page of thumbnails.

Second, active promotion. As you may have noticed, you're reading my blog - started once I was sure I was going the indie route (I had always intended to start a blog, but... well, I'm not sure I'm the natural blogging type). Somehow, I also ended up with a Twitter account - @GregoryWrites. I'll no doubt be maintaining a Google+ and Facebook author page as well. What a workload! Fortunately I already was - and long have been - an active member of some writing groups. Then comes the fun "Tell everyone I know to tell everyone they know to tell everyone...". Repeat ad nauseum. Probably my loved-one's nauseum, but I hope they'll forgive me...

Finally, to wrap up this little checklist...

I'm gonna go ahead and bet on myself. I may not make much, but I think I can make something. Certainly enough to attract the IreS. Er, the eye of the RS. Or perhaps the ire of the IRS, should I fail to report every measly cent to 'em.

The wonderful Victoria Strauss said something along the lines of "Most authors have the financial sense of a sea cucumber." Probably true, but I intend to buck the trend. Research, research, research, even when it's boring stuff like quarterly tax reporting and special cases for income earned on book sales...

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