Sunday, May 8, 2011


By Earl Staggs

I haven’t written a word for three weeks. And it’s painful.

When you’ve been writing fiction as long as I have, it becomes normal to create something new on a regular basis. There are so many story ideas floating around between the ears, there’s an irresistible urge – make that a need – to crank them out and see how they fly.

But for the past three weeks, all my available time has been spent wedging my way into the ebook evolution. With traditional publishing on its way to who-knows-where, I feel every writer should explore digital self-publishing. With what has happened Kindle-wise, Nook-wise and otherwise with incredible speed over the last two, three years, it’s like the world is passing you by. I’m tired of reading all the success stories of authors who have digitally published their work and are selling them with ease.

Well, not exactly with ease. I’m also reading about how much time and work are required to let the new world of readers know you’re out there. It’s not as if all you have to do is publish an ebook and the world will beat a path to your door.

But that’s the next stage. The initial stage is to format and publish something in digital media, and that’s what has devoured all my time and energy for the past three weeks.

I decided to enter the new world with a collection of some of my published short mystery stories. It wasn’t hard to find instructions on how to publish via Kindle and Smashwords. Amazon’s Kindle, of course, is the Godzilla in the field, selling more than ninety percent of ebooks worldwide. Smashwords sets up your book for ebook readers other than Kindle. Smashwords advertises it also puts you on Amazon for Kindle owners, but that’s not true at the present time.

So I dug in. Getting a manuscript ready for digital publishing is probably easy for those well-versed in computer lingo. I’m not one of those. I felt as if I’d moved to an alien planet where they speak a strange language. It was a step-by-frustrating-step process for me.

But I hung in somehow, and I’m happy to say my collection, cleverly titled, SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, is now live on Kindle and Smashwords.

My next project will be to tackle CreateSpace, which will make my collection also available as a print book for those who do not have an ereader. I have no idea how difficult that will be or how long it will take, but I’m going for it.

My biggest hope is that all those story ideas screaming to be written will be patient and not fade away. I want to get back to writing. I miss it. A lot.

Earl Staggs

"The Day I Almost Became a Great Writer," a short story good for a few laughs at


Jean Henry Mead said...

Good for you, Earl! I haven't written a creative word in three weeks, either. We went on a long-awaited two-week vacation and then came home to move because our house finally sold. I'm also on a virtual book tour. I can't wait to get back to writing.

As for taking part in the the ebook revolution, my husband managed to place one of my out-of-print books on Kindle for me, which took the better part of a week. He plans to do more when all the packing boxes are emptied. :)

Helen Ginger said...

Way to go Earl! The whole process of putting up your own ebook just sounds so intimidating. I'm so glad you got it done. I hope you wrote down every step so you can teach me someday.

J D Webb said...

Go get 'em, Earl. We are living proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks - it just takes longer.

Morgan Mandel said...

It's not easy, but it can be done! When I published Killer Career on Smashwords, I went step by step so it wouldn't be so intimidating. I had someone else set up my kindle version, but will try it myself on Forever Young, my next one.
Congratulations on taking the plunge and doing it all yourself!
Best of luck to you, Earl!

Morgan Mandel

Earl Staggs said...

Jean, you've sure been busy. I hope your vacation was great and your new home is your happiest ever.

Your husband is handy to have around at Kindle time. When he's finished unpacking, send him over to my house.

Earl Staggs said...

Helen, I'm happy I got it done, too. Write down every step? Now why didn't I think of that?

Earl Staggs said...

You're so right, Dave. It may take us longer to learn new tricks, but we get it done. I don't think we need to worry, though, until we reach the stage when we can't remember the old ones.

Earl Staggs said...

No, Morgan, it's not easy for a first timer, but that doesn't stop those of us who are determined, does it? After all. it didn't stop us from the intimidating task of writing a novel.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I've left the Kindle business up to my publishers--and they've been doing it for me ever since the Kindle appeared. Promoting your Kindle books takes up lots of time too.


Earl Staggs said...

Marilyn, the main reason I did it myself was so that I could control the selling price -- and everything else. Now if only I could control the passage of time so I'd have more of it for promotion, I'd have it made.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I ahve not written either--but for other reasons.

I think some of the success stories are not at the level they are cracked up to be. Big name authors with reading bases may be doing very well. But, I suspect that some lesser known folks claiming huge sales are not nearly as successful as they claim to be.