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?