Wanted: Sense of Humor

I digress this week from my normal Tuesday blog. Rather than focus on my book and the research that went into it (the fun stuff!), I’d like to approach a topic that writers may have some experience with: self-publishing. Until about six months ago, I had still hoped to obtain an agent and a publisher and go the traditional publishing route. Well, it was not to be. So I decided to publish myself. Here’s my story.

I started with a company called BookBaby at the recommendation of another author. It seems BookBaby will convert your Word doc to an e-version and send it out to nine different vendors. Never mind that hardly any books sell outside of Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

So that’s where I went. I signed up to get three books (two coming in the near future) distributed in online versions to the nine vendors. The cost was about $545 for all three. For an additional fee, BookBaby will also design a cover for you. Here, I must admit, they did a great job. The cheaper cover design was $150 for each book (more expensive is $279). Okay, not too bad.

BookBaby also assigned an ISBN number (for $19) and steered me towards a certain pricing structure. I actually just guessed at this, based on other e-books.

The process was fairly easy since BookBaby converted the Word files, sent them back in an e-version for me to proof on my Nook. When I gave the okay, voilá, up it went. BookBaby also lets you know when the vendors will get it online. And, after about 60 days will track your sales on a BookBaby dashboard on your account.

Amazon is the quickest to bring it online– about 3 days. Other vendors range from two weeks to twelve weeks. Great, so in a few days, I’m on Amazon! However, there’s something missing: my bio. Evidently, the vendors don’t take the bios from BookBaby. Why? Who knows? So, I do some research and find out that Amazon has a site called Author Central (how are you supposed to know this?) where you can upload bios. They were quick to add it to my book page. Author Central is also the place where you sign up to get paid for the books that sell. Oh right. You get paid! I forgot. So I signed up and now I can check my Author Central dashboard to see how many books are sold. Then wait for the money to pour in.

Now, Barnes and Noble. Another story entirely. B&N still has a bricks and mortar mentality and they don’t hire the best tech people. Trust me. First I had to find the equivalent of Author Central, something called PubIt, not even close to being as easy as Author Central. But here I signed up to receive payment and submit my bio.

My e-book went up online at B&N for about two weeks. Then it disappeared. That was three weeks ago. Since they don’t have people to talk to like Amazon does (24/7) all I could do was email the address they listed on their site. When I finally got a response they told me to talk to BookBaby. BookBaby told me B&N was working on some format issue and should it have back up Friday. . . and Friday. . . and Friday. Still not there as of this writing.

Wait. There’s more. . .

What author doesn’t want to hold a print version of their book? If you think the B&N e-book has been a struggle, wait until you hear about the POD version!

My next self-publishing experience relates to print and POD and my experiences with both BookB aby and Amazon’s company, Create Space. This will be the focus of my next blog. Tune in next Tuesday and weep.