ePublishing with Smashwords and Amazon: my first attempt

ePublishing with Smashwords and Amazon: my first attempt

One of my writing goals for 2012 was to ePublish a short story or something for Nook and Kindle. Well … I did it.

Can't Take My Eyes Off You by A.C. WilliamsFor Amazon Kindle Can't Take My Eyes Off You by A.C. WilliamsFor Other eReaders
(on Smashwords)

This little short story is actually based on real people I know. They just made me laugh so much, I had to write a story about them. So that’s what I did. But it’s not really in the “traditional” format for a short story. So I thought I would try something different with it.

I had always planned to publish through Amazon’s Kindle Digital Publishing site (http://kdp.amazon.com), but thanks to an interested reader, I looked into publishing through Smashwords as well, since they offered a format compatible with Nooks and other eReaders.

While I love this little short story, I will be the first one to tell you that this is very much an experiment for me. I wanted to see what the process was like, how long it took, what the end result turned out like, etc. And, frankly, I’m pleased.

So for giggles and grins, I thought I’d do a brief little series on the process I followed to get this document ready for public consumption via these two major ePublishing giants.

And if you would do me the honor of buying my little short story, I’d be super excited. It’s certainly not required, and I’m glad to share my experience anyway. But, hey, part of my process is learning how to market myself, and the number one lesson for that is to tell people you have something for sale!

So here’s another example of shameless product placement:

Can't Take My Eyes Off You by A.C. WilliamsFor Amazon Kindle Can't Take My Eyes Off You by A.C. WilliamsFor Other eReaders
(on Smashwords)

The first step to ePublishing:

Make sure you have something to publish

Maybe that sounds self-explanatory, but it’s amazing how the simple things are sometimes the things we forget the easiest. So your very first step to ePublishing, whether it’s a short story or a novel, is to make sure you have something worth distributing.

How do you know if it’s something worth distributing? Read.

Read a lot. Read in your preferred genre. Read outside your preferred genre. Whatever it is, read. Read greeting cards. Read web sites. Read newspapers. Read magazines. If you are going to write short stories, read short stories. If you’re going to write novels, read novels.

If you don’t know what’s out there, you won’t know if what you’ve written is original or shallow or boring or predictable. Read enough to know what you like and what you don’t like.

But maybe you’ve already done that. Maybe you have already written a piece that is brilliant and captivating, the kind of story that everyone wants to write. You’ve never seen anything like it and neither have your six best friends you asked to read it. It’s the kind of novel J.K. Rowling probably wishes she would have written at your age.

Yes, you know the story I’m talking about. Every author has one, that one story tucked deep down inside their dreams, that story they would sacrifice just about anything to see in print.

Okay. So you’ve got that.

Now proof read it.

Did that already? Okay. Well do it again. And again. And again. Ask someone else to proof read it. Ask someone you don’t like to proof read it. Ask someone who doesn’t like you to proof read it. Maybe you even should hire someone to proof read it.

Better yet, read a book on proof reading. Read a book on editing. If you haven’t read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, go to your local used bookstore and buy a copy. Get on Amazon or Half.com and order one. Read it cover to cover and do what it says.

Why?

Read reviews on any eBook anywhere and the number one complaint you’ll find is typos. Spelling mistakes. Misplaced commas. Poor formatting. All of these things can usually be fixed by a fierce round of proof reading, completed by people who haven’t already read your manuscript a million times.

In our fast-paced, break-neck, run-around-crazy culture, we have to fight for every second of attention our audience is willing to give us. And as writers, we have a responsibility to create the kind of captivating story that refuses to let go of our readers until the very last page … maybe even longer than that if you’re writing a series. But that sort of writing doesn’t happen overnight. And even if you have the most brilliant manuscript in the history of manuscripts, you can lose every ounce of a reader’s respect with a simgle typo.

Right?

Yes, I know I misspelled simple. I’m making a point.

Maybe this isn’t the first step you wanted to hear. Maybe you were all revved up and ready to upload, but the plain and simple truth, folks, is that writing isn’t plain and simple. And publishing (especially publishing on your own) is even less simple.

Just remember that doing it right is worth it.

Tune in next time for Step Two: Look before you leap

But until then … buy my short story.

Can't Take My Eyes Off You by A.C. WilliamsFor Amazon Kindle Can't Take My Eyes Off You by A.C. WilliamsFor Other eReaders
(on Smashwords)

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