Do you really want to be an old time author and publish your book traditionally or do you want to be an eBook author and self-publish your content on-line? That’s the question.
An old time author! Are you one of them? You know the traditional author that has beat his head against publisher’s front doors for a long time and hasn’t gotten in. Or the writer that creates good content but has to do all his own marketing and his book is just not flying off the shelves. Or the one who has heard about ebooks but is not tech-savvy and doesn’t know where to start. Or the author that has a garage full of POD books that are good but things just didn’t work out for him.
Self-publishing is a major step to take. It is much more than writing good content. There is no gatekeeper to stop you but there is no guidance to assist you. All the tasks publishers perform are left to your control. You either learn now to do it yourself or you get outside help.
I have been down this road. I have done the whole nine yards with a little help in the editing department. Actually a lot of help in this area.
I was fortunate to have over thirty years’ experience in the computer part of the conversion. Call Off the Dogs was written for ebook publication only, so a conversion service was not required. It included in-book links and external links along with color pictures and term definitions. I even did the cover thanks to Photoshop and Google Earth.
I just followed the guidelines from Amazon guidelines – Kindle, Barnes and Noble Publisher and Author Guidelines for the Nook and Smashwords Style Guide. Sounds simple.
Now the Games Began
With copyright in hand and the ever needed ISBN number registered, my ebook was ready for publication. Lookout readers. Here comes the story of what really happened the day Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
I already had developed a website. It was easy to update my site to market my new ebook. I was ready to go. My ebook was going to be in the two biggest on-line bookstores and on all the mobile devices. I tagged my book with all the related keywords so the search engines could fine the book easily.
I didn’t need to get printing quotes to produce a start quantity. I didn’t have to send out query letters trying to get my ebook in the pipe. It looked like I was home free. All I had to do is set back and watch my 70% royalty start being deposited in my checking account. I even leveraged my marketing by signing up for the Amazon Affiliate Program. (an extra 5% if they went through my site to purchase my ebook)
Now I could concentrate on my next ebook featuring my main character, Jonathon Stone.
Stop the Presses
I realized quickly the marketing task to sell Call Off the Dogs was going to be time-consuming. Even though my computer knowledge is extensive, my social networking was completely missing. Oh I use email all the time and I surf the Net but Facebook and Twitter were completely foreign to me. I had a brand in the digital forms area but that wasn’t going to carry over here. So I setup a Facebook account and quickly learned that this was a very time consuming venture. And the thing I wanted to do with it (selling my ebook) was lost in the vacations and pictures of my friend’s pets. I am still working on this one.
My ebook falls in between genres it appears. At first I had a problem figuring out whether it is in the fictional mystery or alternative history genre. I still haven’t found the niche my ebook falls into.
I decided to become proactive. I setup a Google Alert system which emails me every time my keywords appear on the Internet. This does free up time trying to keep up with the Internet.
Next I started researching other author’s sites and blogs to see what they were doing. Again I resorted to an automated system. I setup Google Reader to alert me of all the blog information that relates to the ebook industry and writing in general.
I setup a blog specifically for Call Off the Dogs. The jury is out on that one. I have tried to engage readers on the main theme of the book but that seems like an uphill battle.
I started a research project including a database to keep track of what was going on. I have recently blogged a list of great sources that I find helpful. (eBook Authors: 17 Great Information Sources) Maybe it can save you some time and give you some ideas to get your ball rolling.
The main takeaway here: Research is the thing if you need HELP like I do.
As you can see from this blog, I didn’t plan for the giant tasks ahead of me. I wrote my ebook first without a clue where I was going. There I was outlining my book, checking my facts, and trying to develop interesting characters with no plan of attack once I was done.
Once Call Off the Dogs was out in the marketplace, I quickly realized I needed help. So I did my homework and developed the list I referenced above to research and follow the ebook industry. I know my research is not complete but these sources got me started.
So do what to be an OLD TIME AUTHOR or do want to embrace the ebook experience. I would be interested to hear what experiences you’re having trying to tackle this shift in the playing field.
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About James Moushon
I am a published writer in the electronic document field. Starting over 15 years ago, I helped lead the startup of the electronic forms industry in the creation, conversion and usage of electronic forms by supplying that industry with a continuing source of published literature, software products and training seminars. I worked with over 200 companies and organizations like the IRS, Commerce Clearing House, Nutrilite, UPS, MGM, Sony International and Royal Paper Box with their conversion from paper forms to electronic forms. In 2003 I changed my focus to ebooks and their development. I commented in a recent interview: “The start of the ebook industry as a major publishing method in many ways parallels the start of the acceptance of electronic forms by businesses in the mid 1990’s. Back then major companies controlled the process but with the advent of inexpensive technology (laser printers), the ease of entry and the development of software to drive these devices, the electronic forms industry was formed. Today the ebook reader and new software are driving the startup of the ebook industry.”