A new look at self-publishing


calibre (Photo credit: arellis49)

Well, last spring I wrote a little something on how to self-publish your work.  I dare say, things have stayed somewhat the same, whilst others have changed.  So I’d like to offer an addendum to my previous advice.

First off — Adobe InDesign isn’t really terribly important any longer.  It is, if you wish to embed fonts, and for Windows users it’s still one of the only real options for getting something turned into an ePUB, but by and large its usefulness is non-existent.  I can’t recall the last time I opened it for any reason.

How did this come to be?  Calibre got their shit together.  Seriously.  I now export from Pages to ePub using the previous directives, tweak in Calibre using the same previous directions, then I use Calibre’s conversion tool to make the MOBI files for Kindle.  It works.

I’m still not terribly fond of the ePUBs Calibre produces, but they’re not half so bad as they used to be, so if you can use a Windows software to make something Calibre can read and convert, I suppose it could be your ticket to ePUB creation — but approach with caution.

SecondlyPubIt! doesn’t exist anymore.  It’s no NookPress.  It has some neat features, including being a place wherein you could, in theory, compose your work (or copy paste) and then tweak up into your workable ePUB.  I’ve used it to make minor changes to a work already for sale through B&N, but I haven’t really used this feature yet.  No idea how good it is, but this comes back to my advice about getting to know your publishing outlets’ tools to whatever extent you intend to use them.  I like what I have, so I familiarise myself more with the changes to the uploading functions.

ThirdlySmashwords has been redesigned a bit.  I don’t know if this includes changes to the autovetter and meatgrinder or not — the changes happened after the last book I uploaded.  However I can say that some of the management tools for the books you’ve already uploaded have got some interesting and not-too-shabby updates.  So who knows.  I’ll try to remember to blog about it next time I have call to use SW’s stuff.  I will say, if you don’t have foot notes, and your chapter style is called Chapter Name then the meat grinder will accept a fairly unadorned Word 2011 document (in .doc format, iirc, I seem to recall .docx gave me fits) without too much fuss, but I still hated the experience for some reason that has scarred over in my psyche and can no longer be properly recollected.

Fourthly — a somewhat up and coming little alternative publishing outlet — OMNI Lit/All Romance/ARe Cafe.

Lastly — I admit, this could have been a special, but I suspect not:  Create Space’s expanded distribution option is (was?) free!  Your royalty sucks, so bad in fact that you’ll possibly have to raise your print price to even break even on any sales through that channel, but it means availability to Barnes & Noble, libraries, Alibis, Powell’s Books, Books-A-Million (yeah, turns out they still exist), et al.  Remember:  more places you can be sold is the more places you can be bought, and the more money that is in potentia to come visit your wallet!  If it costs you nothing it is absolutely worth it!

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