I learn by doing, so I selected a number of poems I had written and compiled them into a book to experiment with self-publishing. I entered the poems in SCRIVENER, titled the book green and published it through Smashwords and Amazon Kindle Direct. Both accepted the .epub and .mobi files produced by SCRIVENER and I became a published author. ISBNs were provided by Smashwords and Amazon. The process was very simple and cost me nothing.
However, the more I learned about self-publishing, the more and more options came up and after a steep learning curve, I settled on the following strategy:
- Buy your own ISBNs through Bowker so that you own and control them.
- Take the time and effort to register your own copyright. Own your work!
- Get your work edited professionally. If it was worth writing, it is worth editing.
- To Self-Publish, you need a good partner for both print and eBook.
- I use Scrivener to write my books and then download the book into Word Document to send my editor.
- I then edit my Scrivener file to again download to MSWord to send to BookLocker for printing and use Velum for eBook design & formatting.
- For eBooks, my strategy is design eBooks in VELUM and publish directly to the following distributors:
- For print books, using a POD (print on demand) publisher is a must. I use BookLocker for price, quality and ease of publishing.
- Like it or not- marketing and promoting your own work is necessary.
- Join the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).
- Network with authors’ groups locally, nationally and internationally.
- Promote your work by entering it in a Book Contest.
Unlike writers, who still write with paper and pen or pencil, I am grounded in the digital world that makes eBook publishing readily accessible. The digital revolution has leveled the playing field and now spares me the pain of having to submit to publishers and/or agents to get my work published.
Why? I work ‘split screen’ with my research on the left and my writing window on the right. I find I can jam all the research I have done into SCRIVENER and use SCRIVENER in conjunction with PAPERS 2 (available from iTunes apps). With it, I am able to provide citations as I write with two clicks. These two applications enable me to create, organize and write freely and productively. More importantly, SCRIVENER enables me to export my work directly as an eBook in either .mobi (Kindle) format or .epub (for Kobo eReaders, Apple iPad & iPhones, Kobo eReaders, Barnes & Noble NOOKS and Windows phone or Nokia Lumia’s Freda App).
Like Andy Ihnatko, the tech journalist from the Chicago Sun Times said in his review of SCRIVENER for MacWorld, Andy “I’ve dumped Microsoft Word in favour of a hit cult app called Scrivener… Scrivener is a shrewd collection of tools that everyone will appreciate equally, but exploit differently. It’s the perfect word processor for people like me, who write weekly and monthly columns for a variety of publications and websites. To a pal of mine, it’s the perfect word processor for writing a very complicated science-fiction novel in which a large cast engages in complicated schedules and agendas that all have to be tracked and coordinated with each other through the story. To another, it’s the perfect tool for writing comic-book scripts. You see, Scrivener isn’t an oddball niche ‘alternative’ product. It’s poised to start a genuine revolution.”
I do all my proof reading on my iPad by exporting a .mobi file that I email to myself and open with Kindle to read my work as it appears as an eBook. I keep my iPad on my desk next to my iMac 27” Retina with 1 TB Flash Storage.
For creating my own book covers, I use Adobe Photoshop CS6 create layered images and text which I usually finish in FX Photo Studio CK to add antique effects.