The Trials and Tribulations of Self Publishing an ebook -- Part 2


OK, now I have been through 43 drafts--yes I numbered them-- each time converting the word processor files to epub and loading them into my tablet for inspection. Each time I found something that needed to be changed until the 43rd try. So I am ready to check out publishers. There are a couple ways you can go about this. First there are aggregators who will publish the book on your behalf--for a cut of course. Sometimes they are just wide spots in the road on the way to the big guys--amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple-- and sometimes they sell directly themselves--or both.

But in the ebook world you can also deal directly with the "big guys" yourself. As you check out the various options you find that most are interested in inexpensive "word" books--novels and the like. In one way or another they discourage or even prohibit publications of a book like Mastering Cone 6 Glazes. For example, Smashwords has a limit of 5 megs on the .doc file you submit--and they will only accept .doc files. This caused me two problems. MC6Gs in .doc format is over 10 megs and, as much trouble as I had to getting a word processing file to turn into a decent epub file, I was not about to trust an unmonitored computer to do it for me. That is apparently how Smashwords does the conversion of .doc to .epub. Stick it in one end of a computer and market what comes out the other. OK for novels maybe, but not for graphics-intensive books.

Then there was the matter of commissions. Some publishers cut the commision percentage in half if the book was listed for over $9.99. That means the author gets the same amount of money for a $20.00 book as he does for a $9.99 book. How is that fair? The final straw with one publisher was a "delivery fee" to send the book from their server to the buyer of $0.15 per meg. In epub format MC6Gs is 20 megs. That is a $3.00 delivery fee. So when I boiled it all down, only Apple seemed interested in publishing a book like MC6Gs as an ebook. Maybe the others will come around, but for now Apple is the clear choice.

So what next. Would Apple actually deal with an individual like me? It turns out they will. Of course there are pages of forms to fill out, and lawyerese to read and agree to. But they really weren't too bad. I think I still retain the right to visit my first born child on alternate weekends. No, seriously there really was nothing I would call outrageous. I submitted all the forms and a few days later my acceptance as a publisher came back by email. When time came to submit the book it was an easy process. After worrying about whether or not it would be accepted, the acceptance was almost immediate.

So now it has been published for a little over a month and we have sold a few copies. Our first royalty check is due to be deposited directly to our bank account in a few more days. It really has been a positive experience and I would encourage others to try it. Why not bypass all the bureacracy and get all of the reward yourself?

© Frog Pond Pottery 2012