By Kaye George
I discussed small press publication when I was here two weeks ago and will spill what I know about self-publishing today.
When I got my first small press contract, it was for trade paperback rights only, and excluded e-books. This was in 2010, for 2011 publication, not that long ago. The book publishing business has changed so much in such a short period of time! But even then, I had an e-reader and knew e-books were the new hot thing. So I was thrilled that I retained those rights. I had a few months before my book would come out and I knew I would self-publish the e-book, so I did a trial run.
Over the years, seeking publication for a mystery novel, I had had a few short stories accepted in print and online magazines, some of which paid me a bit, most of which didn't. One story garnered an Agatha nomination. The thought had been rattling around in the back of my mind to collect them someday, and the time had come. I got permission where I thought I might need it, although many publications had gone out of business. I especially wanted the illustrations for the stories that had been illustrated, and was able to get permission for some of them.
Looking over my stories, I realized some were light and fluffy, some were rather dark, some were barely mysteries at all. What would I use to unify them? I puzzled over this for awhile, then my eye was caught by photos of a patchwork quilt that a good friend made for my first baby years ago, and which I was giving to my daughter's son. I had taken photos of it before I gave it away. That was it! My stories were a patchwork. I used one of my photos for the cover and published it as an ebook. Knowing I would do this again for CHOKE, I took careful notes. Then, because I knew others would have to go through all of this, too, I published a short booklet of my notes (The Road to Self-Publishing). The process was trial and error for me that first time. It took a bit of persistence to get the e-books done, but not as much persistence as it had taken to get a novel accepted by a publisher--by a long shot!
When the time came to do CHOKE, I knew, from my experience, that I would do Smashwords first, then Kindle and Pubit. After I formatted for Smashwords, I had a file almost ready to go for the others. I excluded distribution to Kindle and Pubit on the Smashwords sites. I'd heard that books are easier to find in those two places if you specifically publish there, rather than just let the Smashwords versions migrate. I think that has worked well.
I've published several other things since then. A short story anthology that three of us from Austin did (ALL THINGS DARK AND DASTARDLY), SMOKE (the sequel to CHOKE), and a few separate short stories.
It's been a few months since I did an ebook, so my booklet is probably out of date and needs additions. I've updated it every time I've published something. But I'll be doing BROKE very soon and will tweak it where it needs it.
Links to all of the above can be found on my website, http://kayegeorge.com/. While you're there, go ahead and listen to the free short story on the home page. Or sign up for my newsletter--hint, hint.
Image of book from Free Brown Clipart
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