Adventures In Self Publishing

So, I’m in the process of publishing my first stories on Smashwords, and I thought maybe I would document the process here on the blog. If nothing else, it’s more practice writing, and that can’t be all bad. And maybe someday someone will actually stumble upon my little corner of the internet and actually find something useful here in my notes.
So here goes, here’s where I am at. I have a few stories already finished and another novel-length one half finished, as well as about 6 or so really good ideas and outlines. Now the completed stories had already been posted online for 10 years at the ‘Blades, so my plan had always been that once I get around to completing one of the new projects, I would then send it around to the ebook sites that specializes in adult fiction and see if anyone would bite. But if there is one thing I am really, really good at, it’s procrastinating. And if there is a second thing I am good at, it’s rationalizing to give myself excuses as to why I’m not really procrastinating, but actually part of my development process for new projects. Yeah, really.

Anywho, this summer I came across Smashwords and started buying books there and then decided to check out their publishing program and liked the look of it.  Anthony Pryor of the Wulf Tales published his back catalog there and I got to thinking this was actually a good idea. I had my own old completed stories mentioned above, and even better, for one reason or another, they are no longer available online. The Naked Blades website is still there, but my stories are either missing or the links to the stories are dead.

I thought this was a great oportunity. I could take a quick pass at updating and editing the stories and then throw ’em up on Smashwords as a way to dip my toe in and test the water right away on the whole ebook publishing thing.

That was nearly 3 weeks ago.

The rewrites are (mostly) all done, but it’s all of the other little things that are slowing me down. Things that I discovered while reading the free books by Mark Coker on publishing and marketing.

See, I used to think that just writing the story itself was my only task, the only  thing keeping me from publishing, and in the past, I may have been so excited to get my genius out there that I would have posted immediately to Smashwords or Amazon or wherever. It would only be later,  when it was a failure, that I would recognize how sloppy it was: the typos, the shortcuts taken filling out the descriptions, the rushed covers, etc.

So I am taking the time now to try and do this right, following as much of the advice from the experts as I can. This, I imagine, is especially important in the new media world of ebooks. I am literally my own publisher, so I now have to recognize and perform all of the tasks the publisher would do in the paper book world. I have to be my own editor, typesetter, layout editor, art director, and marketing department.

This blog, for instance, is actually a step in the process of getting published and marketing. The advice was not to wait until I was published to create my online presence, but to have it already in place. That way, if I am lucky enough to have people show interest in my books, there is a website for them to go to to learn more about me and my stories. I expanded my member profile on Smashwords to include a picture and bio so people have more than just a funny name to identify with me.

Currently I am working on the book covers. This process itself deserves a post all it its own, so I’ll save the details for next time, but suffice to say I finished the cover for the novella already and now am struggling with the cover for the short story I intend to offer as freebie. The funny thing is, if I had finished that cover first, I would already have the short story posted and (hopefully) gathering an audience. But since I am insisting on releasing the stories in a particular order and I don’t have the cover done yet, I feel like I am locked in a bit of stasis.

But really, I’m not. Even though I have not written anything new in the past 2 weeks (except these blog posts) because I have all these other non-story things to accomplish, it turns out in this I actually am not procrastinating; all this other stuff really is part of my process.

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