A Genius of Chaos – Chapter Twelve on Self-Publishing
Pigeon-choked-on-chewing gum, where the devil do I start? I’ve not posted a chapter for a while because I’ve been up to my eyeballs. I’ve had squillions of things I wanted to share, I even made notes now lost.
First, a little sobering. I wrote a piece a while ago for this here free ebook Ditch the Publisher which is full of great advice from various experienced self-pubbers. But also like most stuff on this subject around on the webs there is plenty of propaganda (of which I’m a proud flag-waver). While there are many supportive folk out there who will pull awkward yoga positions to help you out, you must also deal with all the other cyber-troll-hipster-bullshit-lickers. There are many self-serving types, doom-mongers, grammar-trolls and people who seem not to possess basic manners when communicating.
The world of self-publishing is not a magic meadow, a ‘level playing field’ for all the nomads who pause there to make daisy chains & daydream of a better world. There are cliques, there are gunslingers, you must wear the skin of a rhino, but keep your stabby horn & mardy-face in your backpocket. Funny really. It’s a bit like, um, real life. I’ve had people I hardly know do me favours & be very supportive about what I’m doing. Other’s couldn’t give a rats, or are trying to work out if being nice to me will somehow benefit them.
Also. Formatting is hard. It sucks your time & your soul. You will benefit enormously from a basic understanding of html so you can work out why mistakes are occurring. I had to have lots of help.
Here is the boring but necessary manuscript-to-ebook routes I ended up taking.
Smashwords act as a distributor & take a small reasonable cut of sales for ‘meatgrinding’ your word-doc to several different ebook formats & getting you into e.g the apple store (they get you a better rate than if you directly approached). But your word-doc must be stripped of lots of formatting issues before it works. A lot of it will be auto-correct stuff you weren’t aware of & Word 2007 causes particular issues, my first upload showed the entire history of track-changes. (Here is the link to how this got riddle got solved )
Also the fact that they’re doing multiple formats at once means no single format will be quite ‘perfect’, like different shaped ladies all wearing the same dress. But I’m pretty happy with the result.
Smashwords & amazon aren’t exactly bosom buddies, so you can’t use your Smashwords kindle-format to sell on amazon, you have to do that separately. In the end my friend helped me do this with Calibre, but make sure you use the ‘old’ version as amazon apparently rejects the new-fangled method. Mobi-Pocket Creator can be used well if you’ve already sorted the html in e.g Crimson Editor, but if you use its option to directly convert word-docs or PDFs it will make everything look like it was arranged by a drunken circus reject.
Anyway enough of that fun stuff. I’m glad to be rid, until next time. Hopefully then I’ll be older & wiser AND they will have made everything easier what with tech-no-logic-al progress and that.
Now for the fun stuff. The launch party. For which I’m having a general celebration of local talent (music, cake, film, craft), to give a little love back to Nottingham & Sheffield. With two sleeps to go we are still working on the film short which will serve as a teaser for Dogtooth Chronicals. But it’s looking pretty damn good to me. It meant I got to do a bunch of stuff I wanted to do for my art degree but didn’t have the techie brain for, now I have my friend Phil to work his film-making magic.
Next blog I will start tackling the great dragon that is promotion & marketing. This, I fear, will make writing & publishing a book look like a piece of pish!
Over & owt