Thursday, August 4, 2011

Keep Moving Forward

When life throws a curve and I want to crawl under the covers... I remember that life moves forward whether I do or not. I have been laid up (there is an interesting phrase) with broken toes and have seen the bright side and used the time to write. It has been for the most part great. No one expects anything from me and I have found my rhythm. An ebook will be available for purchase very soon, and I designed the cover about which I am very excited.

New stories and titles have flowed...yes flowed... into my brain and I made notes and stayed on track for the one I am line-editing for the ebook distributor. In these times as an author we have many choices to make when
considering how and where to publish.

We can go the traditional route and send either a hard copy or ecopy of the proposal to a print publisher and wait while several people look at it and decide if it fits their needs; if it is well written (luckily I do not have that problem); if it is similar to something they have recently published; how it might fit in their future line up; and many other considerations. Then you either get a yea or nay, and you either make the changes they want or you send it out to someone else. Each of these steps can take weeks if not months.
The next option is to submit to a publisher who does ebooks then after six months to print and go through much the same process except is is done via email and doesn't require trips to the post office and wrappings and postage.
The next option if you truly believe in your book, and why would you have spents months writing it if you didn't? YOu look for a place to publish it yourself. Usually you have to pay these places up front, but you get to keep most of the income from sales.
There are many options within this option and because of ebooks now there are even more. Sometimes print house will actually have a subsidiary epublisher who again evaluates your work and takes it on. Keep in mind that all of these are cutting into any money that is made on the book, print or ebook.
Some facts have come out recently showing that ebooks last year had more sales than all the print books combined. Many "brick and mortar' stores are going out of business as a result. The ereaders have come down in price and the books themselves are coming down to a reasonable level.
Enter a company called Smashwords. They call themselves an ebook distributor. They take your manuscript and run it through what they lovingly call the meatgrinder to turn it from print format to ALL the major e-reader formats. You are the publisher in the sense that you not only have written it, but you do the job of the publisher and editor, provide the cover art, include the copyright page (they do get you your ISBN), and make it completely ready. They grind it out into multiple formats for Barnes and Nobel's Nook, Amazon's Kindle, iReader, Deisel, Moby, and more also turning it to PDF files for reading on the computer and other devices and ePub for older style readers. They are the only company I have discovered that does this. For free! They then distribute to their own site and when your manuscript has been vetted, it is included in their premium catalogue and goes to Amazon, B&N, etc!!!! And you don't do a thing... Except to promote the heck out of it. They do no marketing. They are the distributor. Because it is available ( usually within two weeks of giving it to them) by the big e-stores, you are where people can find you. Think of it as being on their shelves.
Now, you do the work of pointing it out to your readers. For this the internet is your friend. Social networks like facebook and my space, blogs, your own website, anything you can think of to let people know it is there. To further promote it, Smashwords has author's pages and books are shown as they come out on the new books page.

You are encouraged to offer free pages and a lower price at least for awhile until you build a reader base. This is entirely up to the author and you do set your own price.

Famous authors are also using smashwords to re-publish thier books that may have come out only in print, whose rights have reverted to the author, or for work that doesn't fit length or genre requirements. Or for projects that were scrapped by their publishers.
As an example of this difference, many novellas (short novels) are offered, For authors these are usually included in an anthology with other authors or a collection of several of their own stories. You see many collections of mysteries done this way. Now these stories can be offered on their own for a low price or for free and used to get new readers!
I plan to offer a variety of stories that were too short for a novel or just didn't fit a slot. One of the first will be Open Wide; a vampire dentist story about 3000 words. (the average book is 60,000 to 100,000 words).
My first full length novel; Heat Waves will be out soon. You can watch for it at Smashwords.com or go to my website; kathihwriter.com to see where you can download it. It should be on Amazon and the other big stores by September!

Happy Tales
kathi h