Sunday, June 26, 2011
Sticking My Toe Into E-Publishing
The Holidays From Hell series will follow protagonist Zelda Bowen, a 30 year old single woman living in the suburbs of Los Angeles, from one holiday to another with her dysfunctional family.
I first conceived the idea for the Holidays From Hell series on a plane ride back from Birmingham, AL in February. I had gone to Birmingham to attend two back-to-back events - Murder in the Magic City and Murder on the Menu. While there, I got to know author CJ West, who has self-published his books. I had been following all the hoopla about e-publishing for a while, but CJ really lit my interest in it. With several series already under contract to a publisher, I didn't have time to write a novel for e-publishing, but I did have time to write a short story here and there. I also didn't want the story to be disconnected, just words thrown on a page standing all alone in the world. Thus, the Holidays From Hell series was born.
As with my novels, I had lots of help. Several friends read the story, gave comments and found the typos. It went through several drafts, just like a novel, before I handed it off to my manager, Diana James. Diana formatted it and got it up on Amazon. She and I collaborated on the cover design, but she did all the graphics. I love the cover. I had wanted something simple and clean, whimsical and a clear brand for the series. I think we succeeded.
One of the biggest problems with self-publishing of any kind is the lack of quality control. It's the old garbage in, garbage out syndrome. Would-be authors get excited over the idea of doing it themselves, write something in a flurry and upload it without giving much thought to the finished product. In the end, those stories and books are full of typos, grammatical errors and poor story construction. The author just killed their first chance at making a great first impression. Even worse are those who attack reviewers for honest opinions on the work in question. They not only killed the work, they have now killed their career. All because they didn't take the time to put out a professional product and behave professionally when it came under scrutiny.
E-books and e-publishing are here to stay. Many authors are leaving their traditional publishers and heading into it almost daily. It offers authors more control and a lot more income than they enjoyed before. But these authors are professionals. They know what works and what doesn't. They aren't sending their work willy-nilly into the black hole of self-publishing. They are hiring editors, formatters, cover artists and proof readers. Although putting a book up on Amazon is free, doing it properly is not. Just a word to the wise, folks.
For a great view into the world of e-publishing check out Lee Goldberg's blog. I spent quite a bit of time chatting with Lee this spring about this topic. Lee used to throw mud on anyone self-published. He's now self-publishing his out-of-print books with glee and sharing the information with everyone.
So far THE RABBIT DIED has enjoyed steady sales. I hope that continues, setting the stage for the 2nd story in the series, MOTHER MAYHEM. View and buy THE RABBIT DIED.
For now I will continue to e-publish my short stories, but in the future I plan on bringing out a novel in this format. It won't happen this year, but maybe in late 2012. I will keep you all posted.