Getting Started: The Process

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One of the major “points” of creating this website is to educate and empower languishing writers that publication takes many forms in the digital age. Chief amongst these new forms is the ebook. On the market right now are competing devices that enable readers to buy, download, and read books. This presents interactivity and immediacy that the market has otherwise never seen before.

A great debate about physical books versus their electronic counterparts elicits a variety of responses from readers. For the sake of my sanity, I’m going to assume that you’ve come to the decision to launch your book electronically. This is a good idea, as it was only a few months ago that electronic books actually started outselling physical books! Whatever your motivations may be, an enormous demand for material has been unleashed by the advent of ebooks and their reading devices.

What does publishing your novel entail? There are three major steps: writing your book, converting your book, and finally selling your book. I will cover each major step in separate posts. So buckle up—this is going to be a fun ride!

For step one, you’re going to need a word processor. Chances are you have one already. Most people use Microsoft Word; I like Apple’s Pages because it’s nicer to look at and does the same damn thing. You’ll want to get your whole novel into a single file. At one time I experimented with broken up sections in a folder. Eventually, it drove me mad, and I compiled them into a single document. With this software, and I can’t emphasize this enough, actually finish writing and editing your novel. Sit on it for a good month or two (or years, like I did) and return with a fresh perspective. It is imperative that the novel be at the end stage, utterly finished, to prevent you from jumping back and forth between steps and giving yourself a headache. Don’t gussy up this main file either: ebooks ultimately rob you of the ability to dictate how (ex: fonts, colors, etc.) and where (alignments, indents, etc.) readers see stuff, so let go of your attachment to that Bank Gothic font. You’ll kiss it goodbye in the finished product. The aim here is a simple one: create a singular document with chapters (or however you segment your book), that tells your story in a manner as finished and shined as humanly possible. Congratulations! That’s the hard part.

OR IS IT?

The second part is where I stumbled. I had a finished manuscript, ready for publication online, and that was where stuff went to hell. To give you some background, I’m incredibly literate in computers. I’ve worked in technology for nearly 5 years and whenever my parents have computer issues, I’m the one that gets the  phone call. I’ll immediately confess that my secret is to generally resort to Google and pray that the Search-Engine Gods know what’s up. Back to the process, though: with my novel finished I needed to get it converted into an ePub file format. ePub is the dominant ebook file format that the “Big 3” (more on the Big 3 later) require your ebook to be in when it comes to submitting your product to their stores. In another post, I’ll dedicate and chronicle which software I wound up using (I’m on a Mac, and boy was it a search…) to create my ebook with relative ease (by relative, I mean I read the instructions first). This phase will determine how your finished book appears to the reader, and will likely be the second most important component after actually, you know, writing the book itself. This step also has the potential to be the most confusing. I’m going to assume that, like me, you want to launch your title on the Big 3 (iBooks, Kindle, Nook); that decision significantly reduces the number of contenders for making ebooks.

The last step is to upload and sell your book across the different vendors. I don’t know if this step counts as a step since it entails creating accounts and uploading your finished files. Luckily, this step is mostly self-explanatory as it involves following the instructions outlined by the different vendors. By the end of step two, you will have one file that you can submit to each seller.

In addition to these major points, I’ll cover a wide variety of topics from ereaders, to software, and maybe even take questions from inquiring minds. So that should give you an idea of what I’m about. Most importantly, you’ll be following me in real-time. My novel is finished, but I’m learning and sharing about this process as it happens to me. In the end, I hope to be staring at a finished book, and perhaps you’ll have read it?

Haha, I can hope, can’t I?

Brendan

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