ePublishing the Bookbaby way – Part I
I DID IT! I took the bull by the horns and epublished. In the hours immediately after I uploaded the manuscript, I was SO damn nervous I’m surprised I didn’t break out in a rash.
I sent text messages to my sister and some of my beta readers. I sent emails to others.
Why did I take the plunge and ePublish?
The reasons are many really. It started back on A funny thing happened. That was back in December 2011. I had a gut feel from that experience that my manuscript was considered a bit too risky. A year later, I still haven’t shaken that belief.
Then Matthew Wright, an author I have a great deal of respect for, suggested that for my particular book, ePublishing might be the way to go in order to attract a traditional publisher.
I started this article on the night of January 25. I plan to update it each day until my book was available on-line. This could be a very long article by the end!
Why did I choose Bookbaby? I had read of another author’s experience using Bookbaby and on further research the choice seemed to be Bookbaby or Smashwords. Let’s hope I made the right decision! I Googled for Bookbaby reviews and I did find a negative review, but I found many positive reviews.
There was the question of setting retail price. I discovered the best return from Amazon was if the book was priced at or below $9.99 but more than $2.00 (I think it was $2.00). I have no intention of giving away our journey, I believe our experience is worth more than that.
I’d like to share with you the words of an advance reader. I call her an advance reader because she got the penultimate version of the manuscript!
I know I read most of your posts but it is easy to forget how you suffered as time moves on.
I feel exhausted just reading – I feel like I’m on a roller coaster and it does not stop and goes on from one problem to the next. Each time I think this can’t be right some other problem is thrown up. I think I’d have throttled the guy in the passport office making you renew your passport – what a tit! Your stress levels must have been off the scale. Well, yes I know they were – and your poor face. The charred picture of the bodies of mother and child made me cry. Bastards!
This reader has been following this website for a very long time. Of course, this is Carole, who tagged me in The Next Big Thing.
I had debated USA punctuation conventions and decided to stick with British English! So if you don’t like where my commas are in the dialogue – guess what, I don’t care!
Am I scared? Too damn right I am! Petrified! Beta readers were consistent in some respects: they all cried, they all said this was a story that must be told. But there were dissenting opinions as well. One beta reader found the first half great, but struggled with the second half. On the same day I received the exact opposite feedback from another beta reader! Was I confused!
I decided this is the sort of book that different people will read differently. I’ve also written it in a style that I hope will transport the reader into my world, our world, at the time. The pain, the fear, the sense of loss and danger.
A week ago I discovered that I had to rework my cover – the retailers would not like my artistic fuzziness. We had already debated over the font for the cover. I like the font I’ve used, my daughter liked a fancier font. Thankfully my wonderful Pitch Wars mentor agreed with me: the fancier font might be construed as a romance (personally, I thought it very Mills & Boon) rather than a political and human rights saga.
I had edited until I was beyond editing! I’d loved my manuscript, then hated it as not good enough, not polished enough, then loved it again, then feared taking the feeling out of it if I edited it again.
Finally, I bit the bullet and uploaded it. Now I wait!
January 26 – Australia Day
Today I let a few more people know I’d “done the deed”. Actually feeling quite relaxed about it today. Had encouraging feedback on the step from people I respect, so I’m feeling good.
Haven’t heard anything back from Bookbaby, other than the receipt for payment!
Took Mr O Jnr 2 school uniform shopping and thought, “Damn, book sales would help with this!” Getting him into high school has so far cost well over $2,000 and that is without winter uniform and having hand-me-downs of some items from older siblings.
Dropped Miss O 1 off an an Australia Day BBQ – Mum’s role as a taxi driver never ends!
Reading the confirmation email it usually takes 10 days for them to convert, but I paid for the Premium service, so I’m not sure if the 10 days is the stock standard time frame and I can expect shorter, or if the 10 days is specific to the Premium service. I guess I’ll find out.
I have to get some eReader software to check the proof.
But it is DONE!
I should write something about the process, I suppose. Very easy to upload the files. There is a Terms and Conditions to sign electronically and they take credit cards from anywhere so payment was easy.
The user interface was intuitive and worked well. No glitches!
One of the reasons I read others had chosen Bookbaby was they have a phone help line, not just email, which is good. I don’t expect to have to call them, but it is nice to know I can if I have to.
The confirmation email was clear (apart from my confusion over the 10 days).
I did my own cover art, but they do offer a cover art service as well.
Got up and glanced at Twitter over my morning coffee. A literary agent tweeted:
Self-publishing is NOT a panacea for many writers. At the moment it is for a select few.
Bugger. Things like that bring self-doubt. Same agent then tweeted:
There’s a lot of bad self published work giving a taint to the entire category. Underedited or just not good writing.
Is mine edited sufficiently? Damn. I don’t know!
I decided to forget about it and go do the fortnightly shopping!
Later I read an article about price points. OMG! Confusion! This article contradicted an article I had read a couple of weeks earlier. Had I set the wrong price? In the end I decided not to worry about it right now.
The temptation to tweak anything and everything is still so damn strong! Have to stop that!
I did read a great article by Paul Dorset, Let’s Just Finish Our Goddamned Books. Made me feel a lot better!
Took the kids plus one (that is FIVE teenagers) ten pin bowling. They had a blast and it kept my mind off the book!
Had a phone call from a beta reader who reckons I have set the price point correctly for my book and we discussed various promotion ideas. Told her I of a tweet I had seen which I liked:
So fingers crossed! After all, I don’t have the front-of-store option so guess who I am depending on? YOU!!! Yes, you: reading this – hopefully, please, you will go and spread the word, won’t you?
Didn’t have a moment to think about the whole process really, other than log into BookBaby and see this message:
As of 1/25/2013, your eBook proof is in process. You will receive an email when it is complete and ready for review.
The day went a little like this:
- Mr O’s birthday!
- Take Miss O 1 for ‘L’ Plate test – she missed by about one question we think, so a resit is required.
- Collect Miss O 2′s books for Grade 5 – surprise, surprise, I found I had already paid!
- Come home to cook dinner.
- listen to decibels beyond belief – all excited to be going back to school tomorrow.
- Make sure all organised for the next day.
- Write a quick article.
- Help with last minute holiday homework.
Time to think about publishing? Not a hope! A co-worker did ask where I was in the process, which was lovely. She was a beta reader, so she is interested in the end result.
I did, as an accountant, have a fleeting thought about the tax situation of overseas sales – then decided I’d worry about it if I actually achieved any overseas sales!
Not much thinking about publishing today either! Discovered late last night that Miss O 2′s teachers had a curriculum day so guess what? She had to come to work with me. I have to say she was wonderfully perfectly behaved all day!
I received the email from Bookbaby telling me my proof was ready!!!! So fast!
Unfortunately I realised I had stuffed up (there is no other way to describe it) on my author bio bit so sadly I had to reject the proof! The message I then received was that a consultant will be in touch with me to determine the next steps.
I had downloaded the ePub file for review and I noticed that on the “Copyright” page there is only the ISBN number so I am waiting to find out did I stuff up in a second way. There was no place to enter copyright information when uploading, so perhaps I missed a step and should have had that in the upload file.
Damn! Very annoying – but lessons learned for a first timer is the way I am looking at it.
I went through the trials and tribulations of sourcing a eReader I could use to review the ePub file and have to say it looks FINE! Apart from the copyright bit.
The plan originally was not to publish this article until it included a link to actually purchase the book, but as this is getting longer and longer I think I have to split this into two articles! I am assuming that it won’t take long to correct the issue of the author bio and the copyright page.
That is my experience so far. Hopefully Part II will not be far away!