Sunday, August 28, 2011

Publishing Smashwords Style

When I first thought about e-publishing I went to people whose opinion I respect...my compuserve buddies. Over the years I had watched other author publish with Lulu, e-universe, and a host of other self publishing companies.  To say the least, I was overwhelmed by options. Yes, I've thought about self-publishing for almost five years. Not because I couldn't find an agent or publisher willing to publish my novels, but due to personal reasons.  Then I started hearing the rumblings about Smashwords.com. They offered me something other self-publishing houses didn't offer.  Control and the experience I lacked in self-publishing.

What I liked most was all the information I needed was at my fingertips in the Smashwords guides everything from style to marketing. The fact that all the information is free was an added perk.  Mark Coker's baby has grown to a huge market. Instead of just offering books to Kindle or Nook e-readers, he offers all formats for all people whether they have a Nook, Kindle, or simply a computer. A link for a downloadable e-reader for the computer is also free for those like me who do not have an e-reader, but want to break into the e-version marketplace. It's not that I'm against paying for services, but as an author who still maintains a day job, free is great.

The Style Guide to publishing on Smashwords is simply no style. No format- no margins, a simple font, basic indents and centers. I actually have my word processing program formatted this way now. It saves a lot of headaches later when uploading my novels.  The concept of no styling is foreign to standard word processing users.  It looks strange to see all the words at the top of the page and all the text as far left as the paper allows.  Printing out and proofreading in this style is eyestrain, but it appears proper on e-readers. Yes, I check after uploading onto their site. Never forget this last step because first impressions are lasting ones.

I can remember waiting overnight in a queue to upload my novel.  Smashwords has fixed this issue. Now, I can go from manuscript to e-version in as little as fifteen minutes.  Talk about almost instant gratification! With so many traditionally published, like me, or the novice author jumping on the bandwagon of self-publishing and e-publishing, Mark is doing something right. With close to three BILLION words available and almost 60,000 titles available it puts a serious chink in Amazon Kindle's library as a strong contender.  I've noticed a bunch of copycats out there over the past six months...it is the ultimate form of flattery. Mark has taken the guess work out of self-publishing/e-publishing.  The market guide has step by step guides for  successful marketing campaigns. This too makes the process simple.  This is not to say self-publishing is for everyone.  If your sales are in the toilet then you haven't done something right.  It is all about YOU, the author.

Now, for what my readers have been waiting for...2 days and counting until the release of "Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption."  It will be a sweet e-launch deal for lucky readers of horror! On the 31st for everyone stopping by this blog to celebrate the launch, I will forward a coupon for a FREE downloadable e-copy of the novel via Smashwords.com!!!! I know a lot of you have been waiting on pins and needles because of the fifty plus e-mails per day for the past three weeks!

I will publish one more blog on the day of the release with directions on how you can have our very own, free e-copy so stay tuned.

As always keep writing and loving the Lord.

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