Self publishing - A Personal Story of How I Did It


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An easy to understand short tutorial on how I self-published my books using Smashwords, Amazon, and CreateSpace. Anyone can do it!

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Self publishing - A Personal Story of How I Did It

  1. 1. Self Publishing A Personal Story of How I Did It
  2. 2. <ul><li>Do you have a book you would like to have published? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you thinking of writing a book? </li></ul><ul><li>This presentation will explain how I self-published my first book and how well it has been working for me. It will not help you to write your book, nor will it delve into how to market your book once it has been made available. You will be amazed as to how easy it is to become a published author. </li></ul><ul><li>Interested? Then keep reading. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>My name is Doug Farren. I self-published my first book in May of 2009. Since then, I have published a total of six books. All of the books, except one, are available in both printed and e-book format. By far, the largest number of sales have been generated from the e-book version. </li></ul><ul><li>Why self-publish? </li></ul><ul><li>First and foremost, why not? I hold all rights to my books and I am not locked into any sort of contract limiting me to how I may distribute them. If you are asked to sign a contract with a publisher to have your book published, think long and hard about that decision. Why? Think about this - If someone decides to make a movie of my book they must work with me. I control how much I make on the deal. Not so if I’ve signed away my rights. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>When NOT to self-publish </li></ul><ul><li>If you are absolutely convinced that you have created a masterpiece, then by all means, seek out the services of a reputable agent and try to get your book published through a large publishing house. If it’s that good, they will pay you for the book as well as royalties. In my opinion, you should NEVER have to pay to have your book published. </li></ul><ul><li>Self-publishing is not a good idea for certain genres. Children’s books, for example, are probably not going to sell very well in the e-book market and, unless you have a buyer for the printed version, the printed books will be too expensive when compared against similar books available from a large publishing house. When in doubt – do some research. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>My Results </li></ul><ul><li>I work a full-time job that often involves many hours of overtime. I have little to no time to market my books. As such, my books are placed into the public domain and I hope for the best. Is this a good strategy? Heck no! But, even so, my sales have been fairly steady since I started publishing them. How good? I would say that, on average, I am making about $150.00 per month. I receive royalties monthly from one company and quarterly from another and the amounts vary with the seasons so the above number is an average. Sales might be better if I had the time to market the books. But I’m not out to make a living as an author. I just love to write. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>My Books </li></ul><ul><li>I have published two series and (as of now) I am working on a stand-alone. The Galactic Alliance Series is a set of three science fiction novels. Most people refer to them as ‘space opera’ stories. They involve high tech weapons and space warfare. I have a free e-book only book that goes along with this series. </li></ul><ul><li>My latest is the Dragonverse series. There are currently two books in this series with more planned. The books are classified as science fiction fantasy. </li></ul><ul><li>The e-books sell for $2.99. Each book, along with links to them, will be discussed at the end of this presentation. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Self-Publishing Companies </li></ul><ul><li>My e-book publishing career began at Amazon’s Kindle publication site: (Click to visit the site) . Uploading a book was a piece of cake. </li></ul><ul><li>My paperback books are created at . You will have to do some up-front work to get a clean product but once you do it your second book will be easy. </li></ul><ul><li>I also highly recommend . This wonderful site will convert your book into multiple e-book formats then upload it to most of the major e-book distributors such as Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Diesel and Kobos. It gets your book into the international market as well. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Before You Go Too Far </li></ul><ul><li>Please read the following before you jump in and try to upload your first book. </li></ul><ul><li>Although this presentation is not about writing, anyone publishing a book should thoroughly proof-read what the world is about to see. </li></ul><ul><li>Carefully read the submission requirements for each of the places where you will be uploading your book. Each one has different requirements. Smashwords is the strictest and they have a style guide available for free. READ IT! </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t expect instant results. Have patience. You may not see any sales for weeks. </li></ul>
  9. 9. CreateSpace <ul><li>CreateSpace is affiliated with Amazon. This is my source for the printed version of my books. The starting point will be choosing the size of the book you want to produce. Everything else will center around this choice. I picked the 5.25” X 8” format. To create your book you will need the following: </li></ul><ul><li>A PDF version of your manuscript exactly as it will appear between the covers including page numbers. The size of the PDF should match the size you chose above. </li></ul><ul><li>A 1.5” X 1.5” picture of yourself (optional on some cover choices). </li></ul><ul><li>A JPG image of your cover. </li></ul><ul><li>The text that will be printed on the back cover of the book. </li></ul><ul><li>A description of the book that will appear in the book’s ad when it is published. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>CreateSpace Cover Art </li></ul><ul><li>I create all of my own book covers. Be careful to follow the CreateSpace guidelines especially those regarding how close to the edge the text can be. I use Microsoft Publisher to generate the cover and I use a ruler to ensure my text is at least ½” from the edges. Make sure you output the cover as a 300 DPI JPG. </li></ul><ul><li>CreateSpace accepts a more complicated cover art format for those who are familiar with such things but I’ve found that the JPG approach works just fine for me. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>How I Created My Latest Cover </li></ul><ul><li>I am not an artist. My sister, however, is. I asked her to draw me a dragon. She sent me several versions and I finally settled on the one shown at the right. I scanned it into the computer. </li></ul><ul><li>I must also admit that I am still a novice at Photoshop Elements. The entire cover could most likely have been done in this program. Instead, I use a 2-step process. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Step 1 involves Microsoft Publisher. Using Publisher I can very quickly create the bulk of the artwork for my covers. I always change the size of the page to match the size of my book. </li></ul>After importing the dragon into Publisher, I told it to treat the white part as transparent. The results are shown at the right. Notice there is a discernable white outline around the entire dragon. I’ll tell you how I removed this in a few slides.
  13. 13. <ul><li>Now I needed some background. I have an extensive collection of photos on my computer. Many have been scanned in from old prints I held onto for years. After a bit of reflection, I knew exactly which picture I wanted. </li></ul>I took the picture at the right in 1981 at the San Diego zoo while in the Navy. This will become the background for the book cover.
  14. 14. <ul><li>After cropping and carefully resizing the background picture I manipulated the size and orientation of the dragon until it was exactly the way I wanted it. I then created text boxes for the text. Note the white stripe at the top of the cover. </li></ul>This was due to the cropping of the background image. Also note that the distance between any part of the text and the edge of the cover is always greater than ½”. If this is overlooked CreateSpace will reject the cover. It’s hard to see, but the dragon is still outlined in white. Now for the real magic.
  15. 15. <ul><li>After the cover is complete in Publisher the result is saved as a high-quality JPG. Step 2 involves using Adobe Photoshop Elements to clean up the cover. The white is now gone having been smoothly filled in using the color </li></ul>from the top of the imported photo. The white around the dragon was painstakingly removed with the smudge tool. I also removed the spire from the top of the tower since it looked like it was a UFO floating in the air on the final cover. The result is a clean JPG image that will become the cover of the book.
  16. 16. <ul><li>Putting it all together </li></ul><ul><li>Now that you have all the pieces, it’s time to build the book. CreateSpace has a very nice interface that walks you through the entire process. As long as you have everything I mentioned earlier handy the rest is easy. In fact, if you don’t feel like creating your own cover, CreateSpace has prebuilt a large selection of covers for you. The advantage of building your own cover is that you can use it for the e-book versions of your book as well. Why have the e-book cover and the printed cover look different from each other? </li></ul><ul><li>The next slide covers the basic steps to build your book. </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Select the size of your book and the page color. </li></ul><ul><li>Choose the cover style you want. You can ignore the artwork if you will be using your own. Just make sure the layout is as you want it. </li></ul><ul><li>Enter the title and spine text. </li></ul><ul><li>Enter the back cover text. If you have this handy just cut and paste. </li></ul><ul><li>Import a photo of yourself if needed. </li></ul><ul><li>Import your cover. </li></ul><ul><li>Choose the colors for the spine and back cover. </li></ul><ul><li>Import your novel. </li></ul><ul><li>Give them a couple days to look things over. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>CreateSpace will offer to upgrade your membership to a ‘higher level’ for a fee. I did this with my first book but since physical book sales simply don’t happen I’ve never taken them up on the offer for any of my other books. I’ve never had to renew that membership either. If you plan on buying a lot of printed books then run the numbers to see if you will break even with the upgraded professional membership. I did sell enough of my first book to break even since the cost of the books is reduced. Don’t count on royalty payments in your calculations. E-books are quickly taking over the printed book market. </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>If everything is okay, you will be notified by email. If there are problems you will get an email telling you in pretty good detail what the issue is. You will have to fix the problem before you can proceed. Once the project is accepted you have the option of ordering a proof copy. You can skip this step if you like but I don’t recommend it. Order your proof and take a break. When it arrives in the mail, take a close look at it. Have a friend look at it. If you need to make changes, then now is the time to do so. If you are satisfied, log into your account and approve the book for sale. </li></ul><ul><li>That’s it! You’ve just published your first printed novel. Now let’s get it into e-book format shall we? </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Amazon Kindle </li></ul><ul><li>My first e-book was published for the Amazon Kindle. This was before I heard of Smashwords. Even though Smashwords uploads to Amazon, I still publish directly to them out of habit. </li></ul><ul><li>Publishing using the Amazon site is easy. After creating an account you simply enter some basic information into their system, upload your book using one of many formats (Microsoft Word-97 seems to work best), upload the JPG you created for the cover, and submit. The conversion takes only minutes and you can verify it converted okay using an online Kindle emulator. </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Amazon will ask what percentage of royalties you desire. Read the differences between the two. I really don’t know why everyone isn’t in the 70% royalty bracket. </li></ul><ul><li>Pricing </li></ul><ul><li>To get the 70% royalties, you need to price your book at a minimum of $2.99. Going lower will mean you will need to generate a lot more sales. A lower price might just do that but a lower price can also indicate that a book is only worth $0.99. A price of $2.99 is reasonable for a standard-sized novel worth reading. If you’re unsure, or the book is small, or you just want to try to generate a lot of sales, try setting it low. Of course, setting the price too high could limit your sales. </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Smashwords </li></ul><ul><li>I love Smashwords! With a single upload, your book is made available to most of the largest e-book distributers. The owner is very involved in the company and has personally replied to all of my e-mail queries. The company is very active in the e-book industry. Read the site updates daily for very good information concerning the site and epub in general. </li></ul><ul><li>Publishing with Smashwords is a bit more difficult than with the other two I’ve already discussed. But, it is well worth the effort. I generally produce 3 versions of my book: one for CreateSpace, one for Kindle, and one for Smashwords. </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>I use OpenOffice as my word processor mainly because I run Linux on my netbook (a Cloudbook) and I can output directly to PDF if I need to. Smashwords, however, requires your submission to be in Microsoft Word-97 format. No problem – I just save it in that format directly from OpenOffice. </li></ul><ul><li>Before you try to publish with Smashwords read the Smashwords Style Guide. Click here to get the latest version. If you don’t read the guide then don’t try to upload. You will have to ensure your novel is formatted properly by following this guide. </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>Once your manuscript has been properly formatted you can create an account and then publish. Publishing with Smashwords is just as easy as publishing with Amazon. Follow the directions on the site and enter all the required information. Smashwords uses a sophisticated program called Meatgrinder to convert your novel into the many formats e-book readers require. This process can often take many hours or a couple of days. Because of the popularity of Smashwords the company has been constantly upgrading their servers and the Meatgrinder application to improve response times. I have never had a problem with slow response from the site. </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>Once your book has been processed it will be uploaded to the other sellers within a few days. Do not opt out on any of the distribution channels! Make sure you get an ISBN assigned so you can put your book in the premium catalog. </li></ul><ul><li>Smashwords has one other very nice feature – coupons. If you have a reviewer willing to review your book, you can create a coupon so the reviewer can download a free copy of your book. Believe me – the reviewer will not pay to buy a copy. Be sure to check into this feature. </li></ul><ul><li>Smashwords has many success stories with one author netting over $100,000 in sales a month. </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>Future Thoughts </li></ul><ul><li>You own the copyright to your book. You collect the royalties. What happens if you pass away? Did you know you can pass your copyright rights to a designated heir? Make sure your will reflects the fact that you are collecting royalties from book sales. Designate a person who will receive these royalties upon your death and don’t forget to leave your username and password to your accounts somewhere where they can be found after you are gone. It might not be much or it might be a lot of money but no matter how much it is, someone should benefit from your efforts. </li></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>Thank You! </li></ul><ul><li>I hope this presentation has been helpful. If you have any questions that you would like to direct to me my email address is: [email_address] . </li></ul><ul><li>Please continue on with this presentation to see a summary of the books I have written so far. </li></ul>
  28. 28. The Galactic Alliance Series <ul><li>Earth has developed a stardrive. The stars are now ours. The problem though is that others have gotten there before us. Facing isolation within our own star system Earth bites the bullet, forms a united government, and joins the Consortium. Humans, however, have a knack for getting into trouble and it doesn't take long before things start to unravel both on Earth and in deep space. </li></ul><ul><li>This is the amazing story of Jay Kauffman (the creator of the stardrive), CAIN (his machine partner), and the human race as technology drives us farther than our cultural development has prepared us for. But, it's not just about Humans. In the end, it seems as if we have something of our own to teach the members of what will become the Galactic Alliance. </li></ul><ul><li>Translight! is the first book of the Galactic Alliance series. </li></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>The Galactic Alliance was created in the wake of the Human / Alliance war and its members have lived together in peace for five decades. The Chroniech, however, have other plans. On the way to investigate another recent attack the Komodo Dragon, under the command of Captain Ken Stricklen makes an unbelievable discovery. Knowing the implications of what the Alliance has found, the Chroniech mount an all-out effort to secure it for themselves. In order to save the Alliance from certain destruction the Komodo Dragon embarks upon an incredible journey of discovery that takes them into unexplored space. Can the Alliance survive the advances of the technologically more advanced Chroniech? The Komodo Dragon seems to be their only hope. </li></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>Imprisoned by the Kyrra within a hyperdimensional barrier that warped space into an enclosed universe, the Chroniech applied all their intellect to finding a way out. After fifteen years they succeeded. Confident in their ability to break through the barrier, the Chroniech had been building warships as fast as their shipyards could produce them. With the barrier breached, the unstoppable invasion force descended upon the Alliance with one goal in mind – extermination. </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>This is a free publication ($0.99 on Amazon because you can’t put a free book there) that explains the technology of the Galactic Alliance. It also explains how I came to be an author and how the Galactic Alliance series was written. As an added bonus, it includes all of the drawings I made back in the 70’s when I thought I could draw spacecraft. Not an incredibly professional publication but one that I don’t mind giving away for free. </li></ul>
  32. 32. The Dragonverse Series <ul><li>Dragons and wizards walked the Earth in the distant past. The memories of their short time here reverberate today in the form of myth and legend. The truth, as some are aware, is that dragons still exist. Terry Cashington's life is forever changed when he learns this truth and makes contact with a dragon. This is the story of how his journey began. </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>Revenge has ruled Ishnef's life ever since Terry and his bound dragon, Glahmelia, had killed Omen - an abomination which she had created. The peaceful town of Inshlo thought things would return to normal following Omen's demise. Little did they know that revenge would drive Ishnef to create an even more powerful creature. Terry and Glahmelia face the greatest challenge of their lives as Ishnef seeks to avenge the death of the only person she had ever loved. </li></ul>