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Joyous
05-30-2012, 06:37 PM
Good morning everyone. :hi:This is not really a technical question. I'm just wondering if anyone else is terrified of all the expertise it seems to take to get into those Amazon/Kindle/self pub places or is it really not that hard?

Also, do you think that it is a good idea to let an agent know you're seriously thinking of going ebook publishing if, by such and such a date, you are still awaiting offers of representation?

I've read that outside of a few ebook authors who have super book deals after they've gotten a good response on the pod/ebook, self pub route, that the average self pub author can make between zero and ten thousand dollars a year. Ten thousand a year seems fine, but zero, not so good. :Shrug:Of course, at 99 cents a copy, there might be enough family members to make those sales climb to twenty dollars after the websites/hosts's percentange. :Sun:

Setting up a blog about the book is fine, but what about those really trendy author websites?:partyguy: Without a real publisher to back an author up, aren't those very expensive to start up and maintain professionally?

Opinions appreciated:flag: by this Newbie,
Joyous:snoopy:

James D. Macdonald
05-30-2012, 08:05 PM
Good morning everyone. :hi:This is not really a technical question. I'm just wondering if anyone else is terrified of all the expertise it seems to take to get into those Amazon/Kindle/self pub places or is it really not that hard?

Get the Smashwords Style Guide and follow it step-by-step. It really isn't that hard, just picky. Step-by-step will take you through with little pain and few tears.


Also, do you think that it is a good idea to let an agent know you're seriously thinking of going ebook publishing if, by such and such a date, you are still awaiting offers of representation?

I think this is a lousy idea.


I've read that outside of a few ebook authors who have super book deals after they've gotten a good response on the pod/ebook, self pub route, that the average self pub author can make between zero and ten thousand dollars a year. Ten thousand a year seems fine, but zero, not so good. :Shrug:Of course, at 99 cents a copy, there might be enough family members to make those sales climb to twenty dollars after the websites/hosts's percentange. :Sun:

I suspect there are a heck of a lot more at the "zero" end of the spectrum than at the higher end.



Setting up a blog about the book is fine, but what about those really trendy author websites?:partyguy: Without a real publisher to back an author up, aren't those very expensive to start up and maintain professionally?

Opinions appreciated:flag: by this Newbie,
Joyous:snoopy:

Who would you expect to go to a blog about your book? How many blogs about books do you visit yourself? How many authors' websites do you visit?

J. Tanner
05-30-2012, 08:09 PM
Good morning everyone. :hi:This is not really a technical question. I'm just wondering if anyone else is terrified of all the expertise it seems to take to get into those Amazon/Kindle/self pub places or is it really not that hard?

There's a learning curve, but if you have basic computer skills (not afraid of computers) and Microsoft Word, it can be done just by following directions one step at a time.


Also, do you think that it is a good idea to let an agent know you're seriously thinking of going ebook publishing if, by such and such a date, you are still awaiting offers of representation?

No. Give them the courtesy of waiting for their response if you already queried them, or, if you must, send a withdrawal letter/email. Don't mention the why. "I'd like to withdraw Book X submitted on Date X from consideration for representation. Sincerely, X."


I've read that outside of a few ebook authors who have super book deals after they've gotten a good response on the pod/ebook, self pub route, that the average self pub author can make between zero and ten thousand dollars a year. Ten thousand a year seems fine, but zero, not so good. :Shrug:Of course, at 99 cents a copy, there might be enough family members to make those sales climb to twenty dollars after the websites/hosts's percentange.

Your odds of being a self-pub bestseller are about as good as being a trade pub bestseller--lottery odds.

Your odds of making lunch money are pretty decent if you can write well, follow directions, and procure a good cover at a reasonable price. Most are closer to $0 than to 10K so you're going to want to keep your expenses low at the outset. I recommend using barter and critique groups and learning to self-edit best you can for early editing rather than spending a grand or more up front.


Setting up a blog about the book is fine, but what about those really trendy author websites? Without a real publisher to back an author up, aren't those very expensive to start up and maintain professionally?

Blogs at blogger or Wordpress allow static pages for the book if desired. Web design doesn't move books--web content might. The only early expense in this regard I think is valuable is slapping your own domain name on the blog. Then you can move it more seemlessly in the future if you outgrow the free service.

BAY
06-01-2012, 12:50 AM
Joyous,

I'm not terrifed, but I'm frustrated. People tell you there is a steep learning curve and they aren't lying. Formatting requires patience as I'm just learning, and I'm not the patient type. If the formatting doesn't hold no one will read your book. So, I'm taking it one step at a time. I downloaded SW guidelines to read first. Haven't tried it yet.

Agent: Were you serious? I'm guess that disclosure would serve the same purpose as a bullet through your foot.

As for the website. If you don't have something to say other than talk about SP, I don't see the point of one. The early birds into SP have covered that hole. JDM is right about author blogs. The few I've visited are because I loved their books and wanted to check out when the next one was coming out. Sometimes I check out blogs from AW members, but I don't keep going back. J Tanner the previous poster has a nice one as I recall.

SP's not hard, it's tedious and time consuming. I'd rather be at the beach, but I hate giving up. If you don't want the headache check out epublishers.

J. Tanner
06-01-2012, 05:26 AM
SP's not hard, it's tedious and time consuming. I'd rather be at the beach, but I hate giving up. If you don't want the headache check out epublishers.

I think it can be worth the time investment if you write a lot. It's much easier once you've developed compatible composition habits and worked out a formatting system, but some may find the whole thing too techy for their tastes particularly if you're talking about a single novel and then a long gap before publishing anything else--just enough time to forget everything you've learned. :)

Going with an e-publisher is a good alternative for some. For others, you might just want to hire out the formatting aspect. It tends to be very reasonably priced. If you're leary with strangers I've seen other AWers offer. Greg, maybe? (I'm not in the business or anything but I've helped out a couple people too.)

BAY
06-01-2012, 08:21 AM
JT,

I believe it will be worth the investment, but I will be happy when its over. I suspect I have an undiagnosed perfectionist streak in me. I've had a humorous moment or two. Once when under the hypnotic effects of Nyquil I came up with a cover idea that's easy and will work out great for me. Another time I got a call and said to a friend,"I've got to zap widows and orphans next." http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon7.gif

aibrean
06-01-2012, 08:43 PM
Smashwords has probably the best guide and versioning converter I've seen. I do Kindle and Smashwords separately, mainly because I don't trust Kindle to read what I've made in Smashwords.

I'd highly recommend (as much as I hate saying this because I'm a designer) formatting in just Word. Make your headlines using the Word quick-format option because it's easier to generate a Table of Contents. Smashwords does it on the fly if you've got it formatted like I mentioned. I've tried using InDesign (granted I don't have the new CS6 yet) and it just doesn't produce decent results.

There are some books I've written that I just won't self publish. I think they are too strong, so it's just a matter of finding the right agent. I know they would do well, but I just don't have the reach like a traditional publisher has in terms of garnering an audience.

As far as websites go, it doesn't have to be expensive. You can use WordPress. I use the self-hosted WordPress which I installed, set up, used a pre-fab theme which I customized, but you can use another content management system and only need to pay for a domain and hosting. My investment was about $10. I already had the hosting though and I'm a designer (print and web) so getting WP set up was easy. Plenty of people would do it for free for you I'm sure, especially if you go on the Projects thread of DeviantART's forum.

brianjanuary
06-02-2012, 06:45 PM
Actually, I didn't find the learning curve for KDP formatting too hard to learn. I used http://www.cjs-easy-as-pie.com/ and the KDP forums for specific information, then the Mobipocket Creator (others prefer Calibre). Once you learn the basics of how to correctly set up a Word document, it's pretty easy.

Celeste Carrara
06-02-2012, 09:52 PM
I found it to be worth the $30 to have Folium convert it for me. I only used them for the conversion but they offer other services. It was simple, quick to do and works flawlessly for the formats I needed. (Kindle, B&N & lulu for the printed copies) When and if I needed help or had a question I got a response to my emails in minutes. I used them for 2 books and plan on using them again in the future.

http://www.foliumbookstudio.com/

robertbevan
06-04-2012, 04:47 PM
i'm so close to figuring this all out. i've only got a korean version of microsoft word to work with. it's pissing me off so much. every step in that smashwords style guide is like climbing a mountain, because i don't know what any of these (*#%)(*WQ)(*ing buttons mean.

Austin Wimberly
06-07-2012, 08:25 PM
Setting up a blog about the book is fine, but what about those really trendy author websites?:partyguy: Without a real publisher to back an author up, aren't those very expensive to start up and maintain professionally?
:snoopy:

It's not that expensive to set up an author website or make it trendy. When mine's done, I'd be glad to link it. Right now, it's just a WordPress template.

In any event, here is one path to said trendy author site:

1. Buy a domain name from GoDaddy or iPage. This will be something like www.trendyauthorsite.com. I think I paid 40 bucks or so for two years.

2. Sign up for a hosting service. I like iPage. For 3 bucks a month, you get a full WordPress template site, or you can make a fancy Joomla site or other CMS. For your purposes, I'd recommend WordPress.

3. Learn WordPress. There's enough documentation out on the web to get you started here.

4. If you're not a graphic designer, hire a graphic designer to do your images and styling for your site. Depending on who you go with, this might set you back 200-500 bucks. Don't skimp, though. A good graphic designer is worth every penny.

Once you've done all that, you should have a nice trendy author site to blog on and hawk your book.

So, all told, I'd say a reasonable investment in something like that is around 600-700 bucks on the high end, and that includes 3 years of hosting and 2 years of having a domain name. You could probably do it for cheaper. Bare bones, you at least need a WordPress site or other blogging site, and that's free.