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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Publish a Book-For Free

That’s true. I’ve done it within the last few weeks, which have really been busy for in addition to putting the books together, my wife and I have been spending a lot of time with our grandkids.

Those little squirts are a handful, though a joyous one. The boys, Mikey and Keegan are two years apart, and as cousins, they have a great time together—for a few minutes, and then war breaks out.

Most of you are smirking because you know exactly what I’m talking about here.
Now Mikey is going on five and Keegan seven. If we buy something for one, we automatically buy one for the other.

Soon, we’ll be buying a third for the other grandchild, Kenli, who is ten months. We’ve taken pains not to spoil her, not much.

Right now, she’s crawling, and doing her best to stand, so the days we have her keeps us moving. Fortunately, she takes long, long naps.

Ooops. Sorry. Got carried away with the kids. We were going to talk about publishing a book.

I’d been working hard on my mysteries and westerns. When I dropped a western in the mail to my publisher a couple weeks back, I finished off an effort to get about a year’s worth on the shelves ahead of time. I decided then it was time to look into ebooks.

By the way, I will shamelessly inform you that one of my westerns, ‘Reckoning at Dead Apache Springs’ is coming out sometime this month. A mystery, ‘Diamonds of Ghost Bayou’ is coming out sometime after the first of the year.

Anyway, I found myself with some extra time, so I pulled out some of the Young Adult mysteries and thrillers I’d tried to market in the past. They were similar to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries I enjoyed as a youth. Of course, they’re set in the Twenty-First Century, but have, I hope, the same fast pace and suspense as those two series loved by so many.

From my repeated rejections over the years from probably three hundred agents and publishers (just kidding-more like 275), suggests they believed that type of YA novel was passé’ as in out-of-fashion and outmoded.

I didn’t think so. Still don’t.

Now, I don’t know if ebooks are a thing of the future or simply a passing whim, but I can tell you from personal experience that one of my other publishers dropped a mass merchandising line of paperbacks and headed for the ebook and trade paperback business model.

On impulse, I decided to put those three YA, two mystery/thrillers and a paranormal horror, on Amazon’s Kindle.

Believe me, it wasn’t as easy as I thought, especially for an old coot like me whose computer savvy pretty much ends with turning the machine on and off.

There was special formatting, but instructions led me through it.

I had to have book covers. Oh, they’d put one on, but it was plain, like unsweetened oatmeal. If I wanted one that caught a reader’s attention, I had to come up with something myself.

That meant I had to delve deeper into Photoshop and learn the ins and outs of images and putting words on them. I managed to put them together after a lot of mistakes and frustration. I even figured out how to put them on my facebook page. Take a look and see what you think.

But, all three are currently on Amazon’s Kindle at $2.99 each.
My next ebook challenge is for Smashwords, a big player in the ebook business. Their requirements are much more stringent for they market the book in several formats so they be readable on any e-reading device including Kindles, Apple iPad, personal computers, iPhones, Sony Reader, Kobo Reader, Android smart phones, etc…
The big question with for any writer is ‘will they sell?’

I don’t know, but I know for a certainty, they sure as heck won’t sell sitting on the shelf of my bookcase or residing in a file hidden away in the cyber netherworld of my computer.

To be honest, the major problem in this sort of publishing is that you must do ALL the work, the writing and copyediting. If you don’t have a command of grammar, sentence construction, etc.., then you might have to pay for those services.

Neither venue, Smashwords or Amazon, charge to publish the book. Of course, like I said, you do all the work, writing, editing, covers, editing, editing, and more editing.

I have a couple friends on various chat groups who publish ebooks, but they hire people to edit their stuff.

If you’re curious, go to either Smashwords or Amazon and research the process. Oh, there are others, but I haven’t looked at them yet.

Will you make any money at it?

If you’re like me, probably not, but then, miracles happen.

What do you have to lose?

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