I’m back to posting on the Self-Publishing Series since I’ve been working to re-list Wake with retailers again. For the past 90 days Wake has been listed with KDP Select with demands exclusivity with Amazon. Basically, I could only sell Wake for Kindle and computers/phones/tablets that are equipped to read .mobi files.
My experience with KDP Select was a positive one. Altogether ~3000 free copies of Wake were downloaded over a period of three days (March 1st & 2nd, April 1st). Each of my free periods was followed by a spike in sales. I could enrol Wake in KDP Select for another 90 days, but I’ve decided that it’s time to re-list the book with other retailers so that people with epub compatible devices can read the book.
The easiest way for a Canadian to do this: Smashwords.
In the past I’ve used Smashwords and Book Baby to list Wake with ebook retailers. As a non-U.S. citizen I’m prevented from using Barnes & Noble’s PubIt!, which requires a U.S. mailing address and bank account. I listed with them using Smashwords, and later used Book Baby because they offered professional ebook conversion and I’d had a few issues with the Smashwords meatgrinder.
- Professional cover design and ebook conversion services
- Lists with all major ebook retailers
- Costs $99 up front
- Requires minimum balance for payouts
- Free services
- Lists with many retailers
- The only software you need to know is Microsoft Office
- Comes with a free ebook conversion guide
- They convert your .doc file into .epub, .mobi, .lrf, .pdf, etc.
- Generate coupon codes (good for giving out review copies)
- Ghetto-ized by the huge rise in self-publishers
- Not for those without tech-savvy
- Slow process
When I enrolled Wake in KDP Select I opted out of my relationship with Book Baby, so essentially that was $99 wasted. I found Smashwords more difficult to use, but it turned out to be the better (read: financially beneficial) option in the long run.
Here’s how my second round with Smashwords went:
1. I dug my original .docx file out of the bowels of my hard drive. It’s been about 8 months since I looked at the Word file.
2. I combed through my Word file for wonky formatting (tabs, misplaced headers, etc.). I found an entire chapter that was inexplicably in Optima pt 13. No idea how that got there. There were also a few lines throughout the file that were randomly sized beyond 12 pt. I had to make the text size uniform, normalize the style, and make sure indents were formatted properly. For how to do this, see the Smashwords Style Guide.
3. I saved the .docx file as a .doc file.
4. I had published Wake with Smashwords in the past and unpublished it in order to enrol in KDP Select. Smashwords still had Wake on file. All I had to do was re-upload a copy of the file (I also had the option to simply “re-publish” without changing the file. I chose to change the file because last time there were some problems with text size — no wonder).
5. My .doc file went through the Smashwords meatgrinder. I had two errors that would have excluded Wake from the premium catalogue: some text size was still wonky (!!!) and only the epilogue showed up in my table of contents (which Smashwords calls NCX…or NXC, I can’t remember; neither way makes much sense to me).
6. I wondered what to do about the TOC error because my .doc file didn’t have a TOC.
7. I fixed the text size issue again and re-uploaded the file. This time it passed through inspection with no errors. Within 2-4 weeks, Wake will be listed with Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony Reader Store, etc. and is, at the moment, available for download from Smashwords.
When Wake is listed on these retailer’s websites, I’ll send out a newsletter. If you’d like to be notified, sign up here or using the form in the sidebar.
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