Many of you who have been following my blog know that I’ve decided to self publish my books.

published two weeks ahead of scheduled! Today, I’m starting a series that will talk about the ins and outs of self publishing. Some I’ve already gone through, others will be as I go through them.

Today I’ll explain to you about the two main places I’ve decided to go with and why.

Smashwords: Smashwords version

Up side:  They automatically embed the table of contents for you for free.

The meta grinder they use automatically converts your word doc into all the other e book formats for free.

I’ve got all versions {.mobi, EPub,  ect} formatted properly so they are as good as traditionally published {and professionally formatted} e-books. The only one giving me fits at the moment is the RTF file.  For some reason certain blocks switch from regular writing to huge clumps of all caps, and back and forth. I’m still working on fixing that.

Publishing two weeks ahead of schedule, my readers will see that I don’t fall behind schedule for my release dates.

It’s been downloaded 34 times already, facebook liked 37 times, added to four libraries at smashwords and I’ve received a small handful of reviews.

People {some related to me, most not}  have started to actively discuss my preview, which gets the word out.

Once it’s accepted {currently pending} into their premium category {which is where the formatting comes into play} it’ll go live in over 32 countries within a week!

Down side: I had no idea that the minute I finished the formatting process it would go live. So, over at smashwords it’s posted a dozen different versions, because it took me that many tries to get the formatting corrected. You see, I haven’t touched HTML formatting since before I got married over fifteen years ago, and a lot has changed!

I had to do my homework and learn the new formatting codes for HTML5. Despite my previous work with HTML a lot has changed and a lot had to be learned. Like anyone who doesn’t continue to practice their skills, mine HTML formatting got rusty and I had to hammer out the kinks.

Unfortunately, smashwords doesn’t currently allow the older versions to be deleted {I tried deleting the entire book and started it from scratch, but it won’t remove the previous attempts.} A dozen versions in my humble opinion looks horrible!

My readers might expect me to keep releasing my books two weeks ahead of schedule.

So, lesson one: Do not under any circumstances submit formatting until you’re one hundred percent ready.

Amazon: Amazon version

Up side: Formatting  was much easier and only one version is live at any given time. As of yesterday, My Dangerous Temptation Preview went live.  The formatting looks professional and clean.

I created my Author page on Amazon with little static. {I had to learn how to enter my RSS feed for my blog, because I normally don’t mess with RSS feed.}

Book preview went live on the biggest book selling site in the world, practically overnight.

Down side:  Amazon forced me to list a minimum price of .99 for the preview, because it’s a new book, and I cannot change the price for at least 90 days. Being a “preview” I didn’t want to charge for it period. However I had a friend of mine point out that people get five entire chapters for that price, so they can’t complain and neither should I.

Despite following Amazon’s instruction for how to embed the TOC into my existing file which was formatted to Amazon’s specifications, every time I got to the last step, everything for the TOC vanished!

After repeating the process for six and a half hours, growing more frustrated every time the TOC information vanished. Eventually, I got fed up and walked away from it.

I talked to my husband {who used to create professional webpages for companies like Excel Solutions Incorporated} and he said: “Calm down. After the kids go to bed, we will look up some videos about it online.”

I stared at him a moment, sighed and said okay.

After the how to video pointed out a key step {that Amazon’s instructions didn’t include} I had the TOC embedded within five minutes.

Lesson two: Next time instead of driving myself nuts, I’ll either go to my husband, or find a “how to” video online.

In conclusion I’ve had some ups and downs and I’m sure there are many more to come as I continue my journey. I have good days and bad days like everyone else and I learned some valuable lessons, that will hopefully keep you from making the same mistakes I made.

Have any of you gone the self publishing route? Why or why not? What are some of the best and worst parts you’ve experienced so far? if you’re waiting to get traditionally published, what are some of the best and worst experiences you’ve had?


About kittyb78

Catrina Barton is a licensed Kung-Fu Instructor of the Black Dragon style, and draws on that experience to make her fight scenes both realistic and action packed. She enjoys being surrounded by the stark beauty of mother nature. Whether it's a moon-lit starry sky, or a picnic by a peaceful waterfall cascading from the mountain side. Growing up no matter where she was physically, she always had at least one book in her hands and spent every free moment lost in a book. It's only natural that as she grew up, her passion for reading grew into an even stronger passion for writing, especially Young Adult Paranormal Romances. She is a proud member of many writing and marketing groups, and an active participant at Critique Circle and several other crit groups. Favorite personal quote: "An author cannot grow without both constructive criticism and encouragement."

10 responses »

  1. Zen says:

    I did try the self-publishing route! I contacted a number of agents but all I got was rejections, so eventually I went for self-publishing. I’m still hoping that maybe some day a publisher will see my book and ask to publish it for me. Formatting is tricky, I’ll give you that much! Since I was going for both paperbacks and ebooks, it was double the formatting experience and it took way too much time. But I’m pleased with the end product and happily published!

    Also… this will sound weird, but were you by any chance on a forum named The Muse Bunny?

    • kittyb78 says:

      Yes I was there right up til it closed down. Same pen name there as I use for my blog. Why?

      Self publishing seems to be an individual choice. I too hope that someday a publisher might contact me, but I don’t see a real reason for agents to represent authors these days.

      Thanks for leaving a response. 🙂

      • Zen says:

        I thought I recognized your name! I was the admin there. =D
        And well… agents benefit a lot if the authors they’re representing get famous. I guess they’re all hoping for that!

  2. kittyb78 says:

    Nice to hear from you again! 😀 Lots of us miss TMB, but will always be grateful for our time there. 🙂

    I suppose they are and this is just my opinion, but I think these days agents are for glorified bragging rights 😛

  3. Emma says:

    I hate the way you can’t view your ebook before it goes live. It’s always a panicky moment.

    • Kitty says:

      Hello Emma, thanks for taking time to leave a response. 🙂

      It is rather nerve wracking, huh?

      Hopefully that will change in the near future so less marred copies are floating around out there. XD

  4. Andrea Miles says:

    Followed you from She Writes. I am planning to self-publish so it is very helpful to read how it went with others. Thanks for posting your insights! And good luck to you!

    • kittyb78 says:

      Hello Andrea, so glad you stopped by. I figured if even one person learns from my mistakes, then publicizing them on my blog is worth it.

      I hope you’ll continue to check back, because I plan on doing a coverage of the entire process. Thanks for taking time to leave a comment. 🙂

  5. Diva says:

    thanks for the article…very nice and interesting keep posting more…

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