Saturday, 10 March 2012

Publish to Promote: The EAFOL Self Publishing Workshop



This is for those happy souls who attended my workshop on self publishing and promotion at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.

For a start, here's a link to the PDF of the presentation I promised y'all. It's over here for your downloading.pleasure.

Here's a blog search for articles on self publishing I've posted in the past.

Here's a link to the 'How to write a book' post I mentioned.

Here's a sniffy post on Territorial Rights.

Significant things I mentioned were editorial services from Bubblecow - Mr Gary Smailes runs this respected editorial shop and you can ask him about the name, not me. My editor on Olives was Robb Grindstaff.

Amazon's Kindle site, Kindle Direct Publishing is simply www.kdp.com and the conversion software you need is MobiPocket Creator. For booky books (and for the record, esteemed moderator Paul Blezard made a rare slip with his Russell Brand gag, Brand's biography was 'My Booky Wook') you can use Createspace (www.createspace.com) and for other ebook formats, www.smashwords.com. These aren't by any means the only options and do feel to explore (and recommend in comments) other platforms. They're simply the ones I used.

Do, of course, feel free to buy a copy of Olives and check if the quality of self published books is 'up to it' - and if you think it's not, by all means feel free to let me know, I have no problems with having that discussion, honestly!

I'll happy respond to questions in comments or at @alexandermcnabb, of course. Thanks for being there, paying all that money and not throwing tomatoes and things!

Alexander


7 comments:

Tamara Pitelen said...

Hi Alex, I was at your talk at the EAFOL on Friday night, I really enjoyed it, thank you!
I self-published a book last year and the prompt came from this blog I read by US author James Altucher, I found it brilliant, thought you might be interested...

http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2011/05/why-and-how-i-self-published-a-book/

... more grist for your mill re the digital publishing revolution and death of tradition of traditional publishing as we know it... although since I'm a print magazine editor, not sure how my own future will pan out.

Thanks again for a great talk. Tamara Pitelen

akisdad said...

Hi Alex,
I was at the presentation too, it was excellent and that seemed to be the general opinion. I think most of us wanted it to go even longer.
I do want to ask about getting books on shelves here via CreateSpace and Lulu etc. Is that impossible or just too difficult ot work?
There are a group of us down here in Al Ain who are all either just starting with self-publishing or about to. We are hoping to use the fact that we are a group, with different genres, lengths etc, to help us approach bookshops to see if they would like to support local writers (and get publicity for doing it - we've got one mag that says it will do a piece on us so far). We've thought so far that we'd be able to get paperbacks through Lulu and work out some deal with the bookshops. Possibly them ordering the books for us, or acting as a postal address, us paying up front and then them repaying on any sales.
Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
Bob Studholme
ps.
I remeber reviewing Olives on Authonomy a couple of years ago. I liked it then and I'll order it through our local Magrudy's then give a copy to our local community library. The libraian is a friend, so she'll boost it for you.

Alexander McNabb said...

Thanks, Tamara & Bob!

Bob, it's hard to see how you could effectively use CS or Lulu to support physical book distribution here in the UAE. At the author's price (depending on pagination etc obviously), a CS book will cost you something like $5 plus shipping and for publishing to work you're looking at a landed cost of something like 10% of cover price, which won't really work. This is why I ended up printing my own edition and that's what I'd counsel you and the group to do - (even go as far as to formalise your association and create a company to 'own' an imprint) print your own books locally.

I'd talk directly to a distributor rather than try and cover off bookshops one by one and would heartily recommend Jashanmal. If you want to drop me a quick mail at my first name at my first and last name all as one word dot com, I'll introduce you to the gang at Jashanmal and they can perhaps start the conversation with you as to the best route to go with this idea.

Meenu Mehrotra said...

Hi Alex,

I attended your workshop and it was very exhaustive,informative,extremely useful & loads of fun.
I have self published with Createspace & the book will be out in a few weeks on Amazon. The book is also being published in India by an Indian publisher and will be out next month. Wondering how to get the book here so I will be writing to you separately. Thanks for the interesting talk. Cheers! Meenu

Meenu Mehrotra said...

Hi Alex,

I attended your workshop and it was very exhaustive,informative,extremely useful & loads of fun.
I have self published with Createspace & the book will be out in a few weeks on Amazon. The book is also being published in India by an Indian publisher and will be out next month. Wondering how to get the book here so I will be writing to you separately. Thanks for the interesting talk. Cheers! Meenu

Pam said...

Thanks for posting all this information, very helpful for those of us who were not able to attend. I just finished reading Olives, which I bought via Amazon. I found it interesting and a good read, but I noticed a few things that I didn't like (the skinny margins, irregular line spacing, blank pages). I also found a few noticeable editorial oversights (typos, mainly). I'd be surprised to see such issues in a book from a traditional publisher and wonder if you were entirely satisfied with the final product. I imagine cost could have been a factor.

Alexander McNabb said...

Hi Pam

The wonderful thing about the Amazon edition is that it's 'alive' and so the 'literals' that crept in after the edit (one hint - don't mess with the MS after your editor has gone through it) got fixed, and the irregular line spacing has gone now, too. This was a slightly heavy-handed fix for 'widows and orphans' that MS Word is so very bad at managing compared to professional formatting software and the version currently on Amazon fixes this - I hand edited the MS to remove the worst without resorting to changing line spacings.

The revision went 'live' a couple of weeks ago, so you likely bought a pre-revision version.

'Traditional' publishing often benefits from reader feedback to the hardback before the paperback edition hits the streets, BTW!

I'm puzzled by skinny margins, but Createspace's trimming can at times be a little 'off'. Generally, the margins should suit the POD format.

Cost was never a factor for me - I invested what it took to do. I have learned a great deal (and passed on as many of my learnings as I can on the way) and yes, I am generally happy with the end result, particularly after the 'clean-up' of the Createspace (Amazon) edition.

Consider this - I have bought e-books on Kindle from mainstream publishers that contain simple and annoyingly easy to fix formatting errors and 'literals' introduced by sloppy implementation of e-publishing. I have also read books from mainstream publishers with sloppy editing errors still in them.

With the tools of 'online' publishing to hand, I can get over my rookie errors and hone the product my readers get based on their feedback. That's yet another amazing element of this route to publication.

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