After deciding that I wanted to self- publish my own book, it was time to get down to brass tacks. I was very excited to start on my new journey but I had a lot of decisions to make!
Ebook or Print or Both?
After some debate, I decided to do both. On one hand, I am still a tradtionalist who loves to hold a book in my hands. But on the other hand, I love having my Nook with me at work or the car dealership or the doctor’s office. I wanted to give my readers options. If they wanted to hold a book in their hands, they could. If they wanted to read on the run, they could do that too. I did not want to limit anyone.
Which E-book platform to publish with?
For me, Smashwords was the best option. For one, it was the platform recommended on the national segment which validated it for me. Two, I liked the various outlets they distribute your book to. (Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, etc.) Three, I liked that you could get a free ISBN through them. I also liked that I could set up a profile and that each of my books would have it’s own page on the site.
Which Print platform to publish with?
There are various print-on-demand platforms out there-Lulu, Bookbaby, Vook Books, etc.I decided to go with Createspace. I had read about it in a magazine article also. I liked that they were hooked up with Amazon, one of the largest online stores on the planet. They lined out, step-by-step, the process of putting your book together. You could obtain a free ISBN from them also. (Print and e-books have separate ISBN’s.) But most of all, I was intrigued by their distribution channels. You could opt to have your book distributed not only to Amazon in the US but also in other countries and also to libraries and schools.
Smashwords has a formatting guide for those who want to go it alone. For those of us who are too terrified of this process, I found my formatter on a list compiled by Smashwords founder, Mark Coker. We have worked on three books together so far. I am currently writing my first novel and am looking forward to working with her again. She is prompt, courteous and has a quick turnaround. Formatting is taking your written content and preparing different files to upload to different platforms. (For example, Smashwords accepts .epub files while Createspace accepts .pdf files.) She handles all of this. Her name is Maureen Cutajar and her web site is https://gopublished.blogspot.com.
I recently hired illustrator Jeanine Henning (http://jhillustrations.com) to draw the scenes for my first children’s book and I am very, very pleased with how they came out.
You can find various cover artists on Smashwords.com/Mark’sList. I chose to go with SelfPubBookCovers.com. They have an amazing selection of book covers to choose from in several different categories. The prices are fantastic, average low end pricing is $69 all the way up to $100 plus. But the quality you get is amazing. Once you buy a cover, it is removed from the web site and will never be sold again. And they have awesome customer service, Rob is very helpful and friendly. I have bought four covers from them so far. They are a fabulous resource.
As you can see, there are many things to think about to get the process done. It may seem daunting at first, but the end result is amazing. I can still remember the surreal feeling I had when I uploaded my first e-book to Smashwords. Within a few minutes, I was officially a published author. It was the best feeling in the world. I encourage you to join me on this journey and happy publishing.
Carrie Lowrance is a freelance writer for hire and author. Since childhood she has dreamed of becoming a published writer. This year she finally made it happen by self-publishing two books of poetry, Lithium Dreams And Melancholy Sunrise and The Safety Of Objects. She will also publish her first children’s book, Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green) this year. When not writing, she enjoys cooking, baking, and reading. She shares her life with her husband, a one-eyed cat named Colin and a rabbit named Abbey who thinks she is a diva. You can contact Carrie via her author site www.carrielowrance.com.