Posted by : Sherri Cornelius Friday, October 7, 2011

The past couple of days have been pretty cool. Since I put my short story on Smashwords, it’s been downloaded over 60 times. I find it unbearable not knowing how many are friends and family, and how many are strangers. So far I’ve had a review on Smashwords from Allie, and several have supported me by sharing my link on Facebook and writing short reviews to go along with it. Thank you all! In a few days it’ll go into Smashwords’ Premium Catalog, which means it will be distributed to online retailers. It’s been a fun experiment.

So the next step is to get it on Kindle Direct. I uploaded it yesterday, but it’s still under review so it’s not available yet. While I’ve put it on Smashwords for free, Amazon makes you charge a dollar minimum. I’ve got to figure out if I want to charge for the Smashwords version as well, but I don’t think I want to do that yet--I might have to charge and then give a coupon to make it free, because of Amazon’s terms of service.

Even if I don’t make a dime from online publishing, I’m glad I did it once. I’m now more secure in my knowledge of how publishing works, and the thrill of having work out there has erased most of my concerns about imperfection. And the thing is, I’ve found you can’t truly understand epublishing from just studying it or reading blogs—you have to dig in. I’m surprised at how not scary it is on this side of clicking “publish,” and while I thought I would feel more pressure afterwards, it’s actually been quite freeing.

I have a couple of books that couldn’t find homes with traditional big publishers (and a couple of small presses), so I’d been considering going with a small-but-successful online publisher like Damnation Books and others.(You might remember I edited for DB’s sister company, Eternal Press.) After all, they have a customer base all ready, free editing and cover design (free for me), and they pay for the ISBN. On the other side, self-publishing lets me keep a bigger chunk of the profits, and while I can’t afford to buy ISBNs right now, I could probably trade editing services with some trusted friends. And after making the cover for Mon Petit Ami myself, I think I might enjoy making others.

But I don’t have to decide right now. I’m not very good at taking incremental steps—a stumbling block to my writing career up to this point—so it’s time I learned. I’m slowly making a plan.

So what’s your experience with self-publishing?

{ 6 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Allison M. DicksonOctober 7, 2011 at 2:52 AM

    So proud of you, Sherri! You're going about this brilliantly.

    Your story will eventually go free on Kindle if you do the following. Keep it free on Smashwords. Let it distribute to Barnes & Noble. Then go to your Amazon products page and select "Report a Lower Price." Enter the BN product link. Ask a few friend to do it you. Soon after, Amazon will match your price. With Singularity, I currently have it listed for a buck, but I put a note on the product page that it's free on Smashwords. Hopefully it will go free on Kindle in a couple weeks. I'm not marketing the Kindle version right now.

    I think it's great you're considering homes for your other stuff. I wish you every success with this as you move forward!

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  2. Thank you! You know, I don't think it's necessarily wrong to charge .99 for a story on Kindle Direct and have it free on Smashwords. It occurred to me that with Kindle you're paying for the convenience of downloading it right to your device, and if you go through Smashwords you have to go through your computer first. Smart to put a note about the free version, though, because then they can make their own choice.

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  3. Allison M. DicksonOctober 7, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    I agree. As long as a Kindle format is available, you're set. I had forgotten all about the price discrepancy with Scotch Broom until it automatically went free and the downloads went through the roof. Once I found out how it happened, I made sure to report Aria and will do the same for Singularity. After that, I probably won't do any freebies for awhile. Lol

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  4. That might be the happiest accident you ever had. :)

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  5. I have a Kindle and would have happily paid. 99, because of the ease of downloading and carrying it with me. I downloaded your story in PDF format, which was fine, and read it on my laptop, but Kindle would be even better.

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  6. Good to know. I didn't know you had a Kindle. I want one, but I can't spend any money on books right now anyway. Or, like, ever.

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