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Writing Advice & Discussion > What's the best way to self-publish?

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message 1: by Danielle (new)

Danielle | 125 comments I want to publish as an ebook to start. And I'm looking into Smashwords, but do you have to publish with Amazon KDP separately?
What is the best route to self-publish an e-book?
Any info would be appreciated! Thanks


message 2: by Demi (new)

Demi Idle (demiridle) | 18 comments Yes, you have to publish with KDP separately, and their formatting requirements slightly differ from Smashwords.
Unless you want to subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, it's best to publish with both.
I sell about the same number of copies through Smashwords distribution channels (iBooks, Kobo and Barns&Nobles) as I sell on Amazon.


message 3: by Bryant (new)

Bryant Reil | 27 comments Kindle Unlimited has exclusivity contracts which last 90 days, so just make sure you aren't signing up for one of those if you are going to sell on other sites!


message 4: by Danielle (new)

Danielle | 125 comments Ok thanks, guys. I was reading through Smashwords Terms of Service, and it seems like they are pretty strict on what they allow to be published.
They don't allow books that condone violence. There's violence in my book, but it's a fantasy, and I'm not sure if it's 'condoned' but it might be in the gray area.
Anyone have a mature book and publish through them?


message 5: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Fhe smashwords ToS 9.b. applies to real persons.


message 6: by Danielle (new)

Danielle | 125 comments Alex G wrote: "Fhe smashwords ToS 9.b. applies to real persons."

Interesting, Alex. I'll have to take a closer look then I guess!


message 7: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) I do have some rape and violence in my fantasy, I simply mark it as "adult" on Smashwords. If you'd like to read my experience How to Publish Your Book in English When You're Not a Native Speaker it's a short book (and if you can't affort 99c, PM me and I'll send you a copy in your preferred format).


message 8: by Akshay (new)

Akshay (shelvesofakshay) I've been toying with publishing on Amazon and Smashwords has come up now and again but I have a different query to ask you folks:

In this day and age does a set of short stories sell enough to make it worthwhile putting it up as an ebook or is it all about the novel? I get the impression that shorts arent all that popular anymore and people want novels - unless the shorts are by known authors.


message 9: by Danielle (new)

Danielle | 125 comments Barbara wrote: "I do have some rape and violence in my fantasy, I simply mark it as "adult" on Smashwords. If you'd like to read my experience [book:How to Publish Your Book in English When You're Not a Native Spe..."

Thanks, Barbara. That's good to know. I will check out your book. It will probably help, although I'm a native speaker :)


message 10: by Barbara (last edited Jul 05, 2016 02:32AM) (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) LOL, Danielle, I know, but it still gives tips on how to do it even for native speakers! :) If I made it from Italy, so can you! :D

Akshay, I used to put out single short stories, not anymore. If it's less than 10K, I only put them out as collections. I have a series based on the world, so they're all sort of related.

Collections of unrelated short stories? Maybe. You can always put it out and leave it there. Might bring in some income or not...

I do publish single novellas (10-30K) on their own, but only as ebook. The POD I like doing them only for longer books (collections or novels) - but that's just me not liking thin printed books! :)


message 11: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) By the way Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should is free now
https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2...
It's on my TBR pile, but David Gaughran is a great self-publisher and I'm sure his book is full of great info! :)


message 12: by Bryant (new)

Bryant Reil | 27 comments Akshay wrote: "I've been toying with publishing on Amazon and Smashwords has come up now and again but I have a different query to ask you folks:

In this day and age does a set of short stories sell enough to ma..."

I would imagine, based on my own reading experience, that short stories are better sold to journals and anthologies. I have never bothered to buy a collection of a single author's short stories, but I do like to read collections of mixed authors as it provides a 'potpourri' experience.


message 13: by Michael (new)

Michael Lewis (mll1013) | 30 comments Bryant wrote: "Kindle Unlimited has exclusivity contracts which last 90 days, so just make sure you aren't signing up for one of those if you are going to sell on other sites!"

Is this true? I thought that Kindle Select ties you to Amazon for at least 90 days of exclusive digital service, but IIRC, Kindle Direct allows you to publish elsewhere digitally AND allows you to opt-in to KU. Maybe I am misremembering... or the terms have changed.


message 14: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) Michael, it's two different things. You sign up with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and when you upload a new book they ask you if you want to be Kindle Select (or KU) i.e. 90days Amazon exclusive. If you don't tick that box (which I did only once and never again) you're free to publish everywhere - Amazon, Smashwords, Apple, B&N, whatever...


message 15: by Michael (new)

Michael Lewis (mll1013) | 30 comments Barbara wrote: "Michael, it's two different things. You sign up with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and when you upload a new book they ask you if you want to be Kindle Select (or KU) i.e. 90days Amazon exclusive...."

Right you are, Barbara. I went back and looked at the KU requirements on Amazon, and read the following: "To be included in Kindle Unlimited (KU), you must meet the KDP Select requirements and enroll your book in KDP Select."

Thanks for corroborating.


message 16: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Danielle wrote: "Thanks, Barbara. That's good to know. I will check out your book. It will probably help, although I'm a native speaker :)"

since we are talking books, i'd recommend these 2 books that I bought within the last few months:

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World - Hyatt is a non-fic blogger but his method would work for fic non-bloggers.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion - Hyatt recommends this book. if you can master and apply the 6 principles effectively, then you're well on your way to successfully promoting your book. the 6 principles are reciprocation, commitment & consistency, social proof, liking, authority, scarcity.

to get the lay of the land of self-publishing, i'd understand the statistics and analysis of the following May 2016 report that crunched 1 million amazon titles:

http://authorearnings.com/report/may-...

(according to the report, in q3 2015, amazon held 71% of the US ebook retail market.)


message 17: by Martin (new)

Martin Rinehart Barbara,

I read Gaughran's second book, Let's Get Visible, and a half dozen others. See my Book Marketing shelf. Reviewed them all (online, here) and wrote one-page summaries which I'll be happy to share or post on my website if anyone is interested.

Executive Summary: If you only have time/determination enough for one book, Platt & Truant (Write, Publish, Repeat) is my first choice if you can tolerate a little youthful vulgarity; Susan Kaye Quinn (Indie Author Survival Guide, 2e) is the one if you have to leave it where the kids may find it. If you're serious about getting read, both the above plus Joanna Penn (How to Market a Book).


message 18: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) And then have a look at Dean Wesley Smith's posts on the sacred cows of all publishing (indie and trad)! :)
http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/killin...


message 19: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Martin wrote: "Executive Summary: If you only have time/determination enough for one book, Platt & Truant (Write, Publish, Repeat) is my first choice if you can tolerate a little youthful vulgarity; Susan Kaye Quinn (Indie Author Survival Guide, 2e) is the one if you have to leave it where the kids may find it. If you're serious about getting read, both the above plus Joanna Penn (How to Market a Book)."

thx, Martin! i put them on my short list.


message 20: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn McBride (carolynmcbride) | 12 comments Martin wrote: "Barbara,

I read Gaughran's second book, Let's Get Visible, and a half dozen others. See my Book Marketing shelf. Reviewed them all (online, here) and wrote one-page summaries which I'll be happy t..."


Great recommendation. Even though I'm not Barbara, I appreciate your sharing. Thanks!


message 21: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn McBride (carolynmcbride) | 12 comments Barbara wrote: "And then have a look at Dean Wesley Smith's posts on the sacred cows of all publishing (indie and trad)! :)
http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/killin..."


Great resource, thanks for the heads-up. We all learn something from each other, right?


message 22: by Martin (new)

Martin Rinehart Right, Carolyn. I guess there comes a point where you realize that writing is not the goal. Being read is the goal. Here's what Amazon's got for competing titles (a moment ago):

Action & Adventure (253,014)
African American (32,087)
Ancient & Medieval Literature (20,632)
British & Irish (139,083)
Classics (317,654)
Contemporary (308,561)
Dramas & Plays (178,344)
Erotica (312,188)
Essays & Correspondence (76,398)
Foreign Language Fiction (448,586)
Genre Fiction (632,787)
Historical Fiction (149,974)
History & Criticism (307,652)
Humor & Satire (65,188)
Literary (774,182)
Mythology & Folk Tales (55,151)
Poetry (409,857)
Short Stories & Anthologies (188,988)
United States (239,445)
Women's Fiction (65,988)
World Literature (61,480)


message 23: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn McBride (carolynmcbride) | 12 comments Martin wrote: "Right, Carolyn. I guess there comes a point where you realize that writing is not the goal. Being read is the goal. Here's what Amazon's got for competing titles (a moment ago):

That's a lot of competition! I think so far through this process (besides fighting with Amazon to upload the correct cover of my short story, which it still won't do), I think the hardest part has been finding my readers. Scouring Twitter for spec fic is all well and good but it seems to be populated more by the speculative fiction writers than the readers. Facebook for spec fic seems to be an exercise in futility as well. I'm learning all I can about marketing my own work. The sound advice I've seen so far seems to be 'build an email list, connect authentically and keep writing'.
Is this your experience as well?


message 24: by Martin (new)

Martin Rinehart I have no experience with marketing books, Carolyn. I'm reading all I can.

I've got three unmarketed software titles out there, and no one buys them. No one. Even in fairly uncrowded waters. (I guess I do know thing one about marketing books. They don't sell themselves.)

You have correctly summarized the books I've read. 1) Twitter, Facebook, et al are next to useless. 2) Building your 'platform' (email list) is the base for any marketing. 3) Keep writing (so you have lots of product to offer your fans.

One way or another, implicit or explicit is 0) make sure your product is good. Professionally edited. Professionally covered, too.


message 25: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn McBride (carolynmcbride) | 12 comments And covers is where I stumble. Right now, I can't afford to have a cover made. Amazon isn't correctly showing the one I made, so I think I'll just keep chipping away at what I can do to improve.
Onward and upward, right?


message 26: by Martin (new)

Martin Rinehart I made a cover I thought was pretty good. (I'm no artist. Anytime I can make something look decent I'm amazed.) Then one of the books I read reminded me that most people will first see your 6"x9" cover 160 pixels tall, as a thumbnail on an Amazon page.

O, stuff.


message 27: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) you might want to check the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide and/or join the group of Smashwords authors here on Goodreads. (NOT to market your books, but to find marketing tips from other indie authors)
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Unless you want to be Amazon-exclusive, of course. As for marketing tips, I guess writing the next book and putting it out there is an excellent technique. You'll flood the market with your name and eventually float up! ;)
Another marketing technique, if you can write short stories, send them to traditional markets. If their readers like them, they'll come looking for everything you've written. Free publicity! ;)
As for social media... I have Facebook and Goodreads, and neither has brought in readers... not even mighty Goodreads... maybe I'm in the wrong groups here! ;)
Oh, and a no-no: Don't try to sell your book to another writer! If I want to read your book, I'll check it on my own! ;)
Happy writing!


message 28: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn McBride (carolynmcbride) | 12 comments Barbara, what you've said about trying to sell our own books to other writers is spot on. I feel the same way.
I'll go check out the Smashwords Marketing guide, I might just learn a thing or two! Thanks!


message 29: by Martin (new)

Martin Rinehart A quick note re Barbara's Dean Wesley Smith recommendation.

Tim Grahl stresses the importance of answering emails from your customers. I sent him a note re a 'not' that should have been 'naught.' Didn't get even an auto response.

Smith does not stress answering emails. (Perhaps he didn't think it needed to be said?) I sent him a note yesterday re a broken link and his 'thank you' was in this morning's email.


message 30: by Martin (new)

Martin Rinehart Thank you re Smashwords, Barbara. On my 'to read' shelf.

You said, Don't try to sell your book to another writer!

Could you clarify 'sell'? Did you mean exchange product for money or did you include product for free (beta, ARC)?


message 31: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) Yes, Dean always answers his emails! ;) I did a few online workshops (and a couple offline as well) with him and he probably didn't stress it because it's obvious to him - as it is to me... :D
By "selling" to another writer I meant "marketing" to another writer. I was at Chicon in 2012 waiting for my panel and this volunteer asked me "you a writer?" and I warily answered "yes" and he went "So am I!" and dropped his bookmark/postcard/book junk thing on me.
No. You don't do that. You don't tell another writer "buy my book". You don't even do that to regular readers for that matter - as a reader I'd be quite pissed off if a writer showed up unannounced telling me to buy his/her book.
Be yourself, mention your book(s), but don't push the sale! :)


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