Cat Rambo (catrambo) wrote,
Cat Rambo

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Forays Into E-Publishing

One of the things I did with my collection when signing the contract was to retain electronic and audio rights, so recently, spurred by the acquisition of the Kindle, I've finished up the electronic version. It should be available in the Kindle store within 24 hours and it's up on Smashwords as well. Here's my notes on the process, in the hopes they may be useful to others.

Converting to an e-version was simpler in some ways than I'd expected, more complicated in others. I had the Word file, which made life a lot easier, since I could use this utility to convert it to the .mobi format, which is what the Kindle uses. The nice thing was that I could convert it and then mail the file to my Kindle to take a look. Over the course of the project, I ended up doing this at least a dozen times, (which also taught me how to delete an item from the Kindle 3 - select it and hit the left navigation button;  a prompt will ask if you want to delete the item).

The cover, which appeared on the corporeal version and which Carrie Ann Baade has kindly let me use for this, doesn't show up well on the Kindle, unfortunately - next time I'd fiddle more with that, but I am not graphically talented, so I'm going to talk to some folks who are and see what to do with that.

It was nice to be able to fix a few typos that had been bothering me a while, like a missing period in the acknowledgements. I'd also not been happy with the decision to move the after notes to the front of each story since they held spoilers for a couple ("Worm Within," in particular, suffered from the revelation of an unreliable narrator), so I moved them back and expanded on a number of them.

I added an extra story, both to tempt people who might have the hardcopy version as well, and in memory of my grandmother, Nellie, who passed away mid-November, as well as an introduction talking about the e-version.

I moved the acknowledgements and credits to the end of the book, following the pattern I'd seen used in other Kindle books.

Because page numbers become meaningless in a Kindle version, the table of contents was a particular challenge, but I wanted to make it so readers could easily move to a specific story. What I did to accomplish this was mark each story title as a bookmark. At the beginning I included a list of the stories included, and made each title a hyperlink to the appropriate bookmark. There were some issues with text not showing up because it was inside the bookmark (which is comparable to an ANCHOR tag in HTML), but hand fiddling took care of that. 

The Amazon DTP platform is easy to use. I uploaded the file, got a request to fix one thing, did so, and re-uploaded. It's being published right now. However, I did discover an oddity, which is that I have two Amazon accounts hooked to the same e-mail, which apparently can happen if you identify yourself as a new customer rather than a returning one and end up creating a new account by accident. Since I don't have the password for the second one, this is annoying, but I've got a help request in there - we'll see how long it takes to straighten that out. Once I've got that, I can yank the bad copy of The Surgeon's Tale that is stuck up there and put up a good one, if Jeff VanderMeer sends me the necessary Word file. (*poke Jeff* ).

Uploading the Smashwords once I'd done the Kindle version was a piece of cake - took the doc file and uploaded that. Presto.

Pricing - I had thought about 99 cents, just to see how fast those might go, but in order to get the 70% royalty from Amazon, the minimum price is $2.99, so I went with that. Amazon's contract forbids selling it cheaper elsewhere, so that's the same price as on Smashwords. I'll be curious to see what happens with that, and I'm thinking about trying a Google Adwords campaign just to see how well it works.

Promoting it? I'm sending it to some people who've offered to either plug it in their blogs or do an Amazon or Smashwords review. If you're interested, drop me a line. I'd love to hear other thoughts on how to get word of  it out to readers.

And if you'd like a non-electronic copy, it's still there on Amazon in both trade paperback and hardcover. ;)

Tags: e-publishing, elsacam, kindle, publishing, smashwords
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