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Friday, September 18, 2015

Self-Publishing on Amazon

So the novella's not available yet, but it seems to be legal for pre-order. Here are some impressions from the process.

There is a lot of data to read. Mostly tips about how to maximize the exposure of the book, how to enter information in correctly. As far as I could tell, everything was pretty cut and dried. It's pretty sophisticated, but also user friendly. Plus I've been following Scalzi's blog and other news about Amazon's self-publishing notoriety to know what pitfalls to avoid and which to jump into. But that doesn't mean there wasn't lots to read.

One more thing I ran into that there is only the choice of making it available immediately or setting a pre-order at least ten days in advance. Now I wasn't ready to publish the book right then and there. I hadn't done any promotion for it (although really, who am I kidding) and I still wasn't 100% sure I was ready to make the selections that I did. There didn't appear to be any "draft" status, unless you chose pre-order.

So I chose pre-order and I chose to not make the version I uploaded final. Even though I had already meticulously formed the book into an ePub using Calibre, and checked it out on the Amazon viewer to be all right. This began a bunch of confusing e-mails where it said my book wasn't ready to be finalized yet, and that if it wasn't finalized, I'd lose the ability to make pre-orders for a year. But I couldn't figure out what wasn't finalized. I had completed everything, even the tax forms. But it took a long time for the book to update. It said I would have to wait twelve to twenty-four hours for the changes to show up. And by then I'd forgotten what I'd changed.

But finally I saw that I had to select "this is my final version of the book". Once I did that, I got a congratulatory e-mail that basically said "You did it! Your book is ready to be published. See you on September 25th!" I wanted it on a Friday because... I don't know, Friday felt right. People buy stuff on Fridays, getting ready for the weekend. Especially ePurchases. Maybe searching for products you might like to purchase while a bottle of wine lays empty next to the monitor.

My hope is that this sells better than Merm-8 did under Musa. It's cheaper, it's audience is clearer, it's higher concept and based on a tested formula. So I'll hopefully see you in a week, little dwarves. In the meantime, promotion!

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