I am a high school English teacher, and this takes up a lot of my time during the school year, so this summer I’m trying to spend as much of my time on writing as I can. As I’ve been reading, dreaming, writing, editing, and querying, I decided to self-publishing an ebook. This is the perfect time for me to delve into this process and learn the ins and outs through firsthand experience. I took a story which is dear to my heart, “Glass Eyes,” and prepared it for publication, focusing on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.
I had a lot of fun creating the cover for my ebook. A stuffed fox features prominently in the story, and I knew that my aunt and uncle had one. I drove down to their place and took several photographs of it. My aunt and uncle were very helpful and accommodating!
Here are some covers that didn’t make the cut:
Once I got home, I sifted through my photos and edited the ones I liked best with the Microsoft Office Photo Editor. I brought my favorite edited images into Microsoft PowerPoint and added the title, subtitle, and my name. I played with placement, font, and color, and feel satisfied with the final product. I can’t wait to make another cover!
Here’s the one I went with:
I like the way the fox breaks up the image in this cover. If you look carefully on the right, there is a swing, representing my five-year-old protagonist, Kate. While I liked the images of the fox indoors in front of the books, I felt that those covers were too busy and distracting. I also felt the cover I went with felt more modern than some of the others.
Preparation and Formatting
To prepare for launching “Glass Eyes” as an ebook, I read Building Your Book for Kindle and Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing, and Mark Coker’s Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success.
The Kindle publications had some helpful information for how to navigate the process of publishing on Amazon. I found Coker’s book the most helpful. In addition to giving instructions for publishing an ebook, Coker also gives tips on marketing, defines terminology, and talks through the pros and cons of different ebook publishing decisions. Once I had gone through the steps to publish on Amazon, I also read the Smashwords Style Guide and carefully worked through the Smashwords template.
Formatting was a big part of this process. I spent a lot of time trying to get my indents to look right for the Kindle edition, and I read several pieces of internet advice and eventually found the right advice, written in a way that I could understand it, and (Hallelujah!) made a well-formatted book. I plan to add a blog post about formatting that goes into more detail, and I’ll share the resources I found helpful.
Once the ebook was available on Amazon and Smashwords, I was so excited! None of this excitement has dissipated yet. It’s exciting to have a published story out there, and I’m also looking forward to learning about marketing and sales through this experience. I’ll keep my ears open to advice. I meet with a weekly writer’s group of very kind and talented individuals, and I constantly benefit from their points of view. I’m also keeping in mind what I learned from attending this years NECRWA conference (New England Chapter Romance Writers of America). Many authors spoke about their experience with self-publishing and ebooks. In particular, I benefitted from author Katy Regnery‘s workshop in which she shared her experiences about indie and self-publishing, and all that goes along with them.
More details to follow! Have you self-published or indie published? What were some of your takeaways?