Last week, I featured an interview with my father about his experience in traditional publishing and e-publishing. I promised you a little more this week, and so here it is. While last week focused on his experience in traditional publishing and how it’s changed over the years, these questions will focus more on his experience self-publishing an e-book. Think you’ll find some real gems of wisdom here.
4. Recently, you published your first e-book on your own, a novella called Plot Line. Can you walk us through your decision process on why you chose to do that?
Plot Line is a biblically based supernatural suspense novella. A number of years ago, a publisher in the Netherlands contacted me. They wanted a novel similar to what I had been writing. I did the book, and it did well, but had a limited run. The rights reverted to me and, since it had never appeared in English, I wanted to share it with my readers. I chose to publish it digitally. The book is too small to be considered by a traditional publisher, however, it is perfect for the e-book. I reworked the manuscript, added material I had to remove in the first edition, and published it online. It was a good experience, and I’m still learning about the process.
5. Many of my readers aren’t familiar with the process. Can you walk us through it? Once you had a copy you were satisfied with, what steps did you take to upload it, distribute it through multiple sites, etc. Did you use Smashwords at all? Were there any expenses?
The process is a little long to be outlined here, but I can say that it was easier than I imagined. It used to be the writer had to format the manuscript for each e-book: mobi, epub, etc. Now all one needs is a Word document. I set up accounts with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. Smashwords will place the book with iBooks, Kobo, and others. Over all it went well, but I’m still having trouble with Smashwords, but I’ll get it figured out.
There is a learning curve. A writer can hire a service to do this for them, but if they do, they should read the contract closely.
6. How difficult was the process? Any programs you’d recommend?
It wasn’t difficult but it did take some time. One problem with self-publishing is editing. I had a couple of people read the manuscript and edit. I went over it several times after that. This is the big problem with self-publishing. Some people are so eager to get their material out there, they don’t do the editing work. The result is a poorly crafted book. It is much more difficult to get readers back than it is to get them in the first place.
James Scott Bell has a worthwhile e-book on self-publishing.
Special thanks to Pops for his time with this. Hope you found it helpful. As always, if you want more information on my father and his writing, make sure to visit http://www.altongansky.com/ Until next week, good writing.