Self-Publishing Attempt: Under the Floorboards

Under the FloorboardsI’ve just published “Under the floorboards” to Amazon, Smashwords, and Draft2Digital. It’s a short story about a supernatural event in a small town in the Philippines, a country filled with superstitions steeped in animism and folklore.

Anyway, I’ve read dozens of articles on which retailer to choose, how to distribute ebooks, etc. I decided to try all three bigwigs.

Considering that Under the Floorboards was going to be free, I read this article by Mark Coker on how to make your book perma-free.

Basically, the point is:

  1. Price your book on Amazon at $0.99.
  2. Go to Smashwords/Draft2Digital/Other Retailers and price them at $0.00 or FREE.
  3. Then go to your book page on Amazon (NOT in your Amazon Author Central Page, but your book’s page on the market). Scroll down to the Product Details till you see the “tell us about a lower price”.
  4. Put in the link for iBooks or B&N (the bigwigs, ya know) and the price.
  5. Wait.

It’ll take some time so don’t sweat it and get to work on your next book. I know, easier said than done, but considering there’s nothing I can do about it now, I’ll just to get back to work.

Book Cover size for Kindle, Smashwords, and Draft2Digital retailers.

For KDP, I’ll use 4500 x 3000 (or 1.5). For Smashwords and Draft2Digital, I have 2400×1600.

I’m basing this one on articles here and here.

Formatting

I was afraid of the Smashwords Meatgrinder. Everyone kept talking about how scary it was, and I expected it to last for hours – as in maybe five to eight! So, I started to format “Under the Floorboards” for Kindle. What saved my sanity, though, was this article by Chris McMullen.

Turns out that everything had to rely on the styles. Once I got the hang of it, I started using the Word Styles for nearly everything I wrote, from reports to drafts.

What I did was upload it to Draft2Digital first because they produce epub, mobi, and pdf. And I could download and preview the files before publishing.

They turned out fine, but the epub didn’t separate the chapters into different pages (even though page break had been applied). So now I know why all the books I read on my Moon Reader was like that.

So, I sent Draft2Digital’s mobi file to my Kindle for a preview. It turned out fine, and looked just like the Kindle books I read (if you want a more creative book template, though, I suggest hiring a professional or using a different service as Draft2Digital’s conversion is just simple, but okay, with the Styles intact).

I uploaded the mobi file to KDP and viola! It was published.

Next, I had to wrestle the Smashword Style Guide. Basically, before I could publish, I had to read that and use this template. Fortunately, most of the stuff Mark Coker talked about relied on Word Styles. When I finished formatting my story, I followed the instructions on Table of Contents and Bookmarking. Then, I published it on their site.

I downloaded the epub and pdf files for comparison and found that I liked the Smashwords pdf better than the Draft2Digital one, as the former looked less cluttered. I downloaded the D2D and Smashwords epub and read them on my Moon Reader. They both looked the same.

Pricing

After my short story went live on Amazon, I joined Amazon Author Central (you need to have a book go live in Amazon to get an account here because you need to “claim” a book).

The problem was that its page listed it as $2.99, when I actually listed it at $0.99. When I look at my author page on Amazon, it says $0.99! So I sent a message saying that there was a problem. I’m waiting for a message any time today or tomorrow.

It’s still being reviewed at Smashwords, but on D2D, it’s now available on iBooks | Kobo | Scribd. Other sites are still pending, though.

So that’s what happened on my first publishing attempt. I might learn some more the next time I publishing something.

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