Saturday, 1 September 2012

Read My eBooks: Adventures In Self-Publishing

I've always been creative. Stories, songs, plays, then web and graphic design... I've been messing with all of them on an amateur and professional basis for years. Recently, I had a go at writing eBooks. This is what happened.

Well it's been a bit slow on the business front so I went back to my creative writing roots and dug up two entries for a Titanic competition. I've got a few more. Anyway, it's been an education because, as a Pirate Party supporter, I've been urging people to gain revenue from sharing their work instead of chasing infringers for royalties. It's a bit scary and precarious if this is your primary income source, I can tell you.

The books

Smashwords is free, and since I haven't got money to spend on the marketing, etc., I'm doing it all myself. Smashwords provides all the basic information you need for how to self-publish and how to format for self-publishing. It also tells you how to market your books for free. They allow you to set your own pricing. You can make your ebook free or sell it.

Once you've written and uploaded your ebook, add your cover art. If you can't make your own, Smashwords provides a list of artists you can pay to do yours. I did my own cover art and am learning about the dos and don'ts. When you've done that, add your blurb and get on with your marketing.

The covers

eBook covers for Canterville's Quest and The Marconi MenSmashwords provides details of dimensions for the cover art so you can do it yourself or instruct an artist. I've learned that since the thumbnails aren't terribly big your artwork needs to be legible at smaller resolutions. Look at the above images. Canterville's Quest has a tagline that's easy to read even at the small thumbnail size depicted above. What's wrong with The Marconi Men? The tagline is tiny. It matters; in the first few days Canterville's Quest got about 20 views and The Marconi Men struggled to get into the tens. I've changed it so the title and the tagline are bigger and legible at smaller resolutions. Even at 100px I can still read the title and tagline on this cover.

The content

The books themselves are, of course, about Titanic. Canterville's Quest is about a theatrical television medium who wants to stage a live seance at the site of the sinking of Titanic despite the protests of descendants of victims and survivors who think it's crass and vulgar. The Marconi Men is about the wireless operators on Titanic and how they used their new technology to save the survivors of the sinking. Okay, I'm a Titanic nerd. I'm hoping that the change of cover will raise the viewing figures but really I've got to get some actual sales.


I took advantage of the 20% sneak peek feature that lets people try before they buy and people have been trying.

I'll let you know how it goes; I've got a few more ideas for eBooks including a story from ancient Rome called Vulcan's Yawn. What is it about me and disasters? If it's not that it's horror, sci fi or fantasy. Anyway I've given out freebies and asked people to share the links for my ebooks. All I can do is talk to people in the same boat and do mutual recommendations. And share, share, share on Google Plus, Twitter, and Facebook.

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