So, as you know, I’ve published my first book. Now I’m trying to add some insight as to how the process worked. First off, if you’re looking for an easy route, there is none. There are a few ways to publish a book these days, but the paths to being successful with the book are as varied as the different varieties of cheese at a supermarket. There’s self-publishing, which is what I’ve done with this one, traditional publishing, the pinnacle of what most writers aspire to, and then there is the hybrid route, which is a mixture of the two. Everybody has to find their own path. I’m a DIY kind of guy and thought for my first book, I could try to publish it. I also wanted to see if I could do it without spending a bunch of money. I feel I’ve succeeded in both ventures. Now, mind you, I’m also a perfectionist. At least when it comes to the writing. I could have put the stories out the way they were originally presented in the publications they first appeared in. But I felt they needed more. I’ve learned quite a bit about writing and voice since those stories were originally written. So, I applied what I’ve learned, and what you are now reading is the result. I knew from the beginning, this collection would be fine tuned and my hope is, to my readers, it pays off. I’ve also learned along the way, you can fancy up a turd all you want, but in the end, it’s still a turd. This book is about giving my babies the tender loving care they deserved and putting out the best product for my readers. It may not have cost me a bunch up front to actually publish the book, I kept in mind, the real value is in making the stories worthy of paying money to read.
To me, that is the pinnacle of success. I could put a sub par product out there and get support from family and friends, that’s not a bad thing, to have those connections, but I want this to be more than a local success. I want this to go out to people who have never heard of me. So, above all else, the writing has to be good. I spent hours rereading these stories out loud. It was a joy to get back in touch with my old characters and fall in love with the stories again. I hope you enjoy it as well.
Then there is the technical aspect of things. Whether to use Word or Scrivener, how to compile your stories into an eBook, how to compile a paperback? I’m not saying I wasn’t intimidated by those things. I was on the fence about buying Scrivener for a long time, until I wrote my first rough draft of my novel. Word is great for short stories, but novels not so much. Scrivener also has compile features for every type of eBook and paperback you could put together. It makes the process much easier, as everything is in one program. I’ve fallen in love with it, but the decision is up to the writer and what works best for them. I use both Word and Scrivener, but Scrivener is the only way to get a rough draft to a novel format. Use it, you’ll see. Now that I’ve compiled a book with it, I can’t imagine going a different route. I did have to read many tutorials on the how to aspect of Scrivener. It has so many features, it’s hard to get around them all. But once the learning curve is over, it gets much easier. I used to be scared of tech, but not anymore.
Another decision is to do your own artwork for the cover, or hire it done. You can also use the free covers given to you by Amazon or the service you are going through to sell your book. I love to draw. So, the decision to do my own cover seemed natural to me. The best part of this is, I’m learning to produce digital and graphic art. My covers will become even better and crisper down the road. I love that I’m able to combine two things I love, writing and drawing, to make a great product.
Back to who to use to publish your book. Before I made the decision to go with Amazon, I sent IM’s to many of my self published author friends. Some of them use different services now, but they all started with Amazon. It does have the biggest distributorship, and gives reports of how well your book is doing. The others may do this as well, but if you are just starting, for the price and ease of doing, Amazon is hard to beat. I may change my mind later, but for now I’m there. Ultimately, I would like to find a more traditional publisher, as most of the stories in my book were originally put out. But for now, I’m going to put my stuff out there, because I want readers. Whether you are self publishing or going the traditional route, it always helps to have a following. Whether its putting out a book or giving away stories on your website, readers mean everything. If there were no readers, then there would be no reason to do this. The best high in the world is to have someone say they loved your book and as an added bonus, they couldn’t put it down.
I hope this helps a little to writers who are trying to decide what way to go when publishing something and to the value I place on my readers.