Thursday, March 5, 2015

Watch out for that steep learning curve

Holy moly. I've just spent the entire morning trying to figure out how to format a short story for Kindle. Long story short story (haha), I did it. Well, I did it and then had help from a good soul on KBoards (hiya, Peter!) who reformatted it for me so I wouldn't embarrass myself. All this for a 5,000-word story. Could you imagine if I had to format a novel? Oh wait, I will soon.

Many months ago, I decided I was going to self-publish all future work. The level of control was too tempting to ignore. There's so much I wanted to write -- YA mystery series, adult cozies, historical fiction -- that the only foreseeable way to do it all was to publish it on my own. I was excited about the prospect. Energized. I can publish all the things! And I can, but damn, at this rate it's going to take me a lifetime.

So here I am trying to dip my toe into the self-publishing pool with a YA short story that received its final rejection ("Strong writing, but we don't publish YA") only a few days ago. So far, I've made a cover (I wouldn't normally do this, but I'm low on funds), paid for editing (this I do recommend), formatted the story (pain in the A$$, but it's done), and brainstormed a list of keywords (whole 'nother lesson) for Amazon. I'm going to enroll the story in Amazon KDP Select and hope I can get some borrows from the Kindle Unlimited program.

I don't know what the market is for short stories on Amazon. All I know is that I love this short story (titled One Night Is All You Need) and I want it to see the light of day. I think it shows off my writing style and it's another avenue for readers to discover my work. It's certainly not getting any love sitting here on my Macbook. Not only that but it's a mini lesson to prepare me for how to do the big stuff, like my novella that I hope to release this June.

Anyone who knows me knows I fear logistics. Writing is my thang, not formatting. But that comes with the self-publishing territory. So if you want to go indie, you have to learn to do it all or pay people to do it for you. Right now, I want to do it myself. I like building this unique skill set, even if it takes me all morning to learn to do something that's probably a five-minute task.

Who's swimming in the indie pool? How's the water? Any tips or tricks for this newbie?

-KGG

18 comments:

  1. Yay, Kimberly! Alas no advice on self-pubbing--haven't dipped my toes in that arena yet--but wishing you much luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I uploaded the short story today. I keep refreshing my Amazon page waiting for it to get out of review. And it's only a short story, but I'm anxious.

      Delete
  2. Ug, formatting drives me bonkers. Since I also do paperbacks, I format for that first in my Word template. Then after that looks the way I want, I save it and then I BLOW IT UP! Literally - strip it down by copying it all into Notepad and then into a fresh Word document. Then I add all the formatting back in for the Kindle. This seems to work best for me, although there is usually still some sort of error - in my most recent there is a random blank space between two paragraphs I can't get rid of. I blew it up again (because I'm a perfectionist) and it just moved up a couple paragraphs... But like you, I want the control and the ability to learn something new, so I fight through it :-) You'll get faster with it - I promise!

    And, I can't wait to read your short story!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Carrie. I uploaded it today! Can't wait for it to be live.

      Delete
  3. awesome, wish I had advice but all I can say is congrats! there is nothing like total control in this whacko biz lol

    ReplyDelete
  4. Boy, you ain't kidding! I did all my formatting for my paperback version, and thought I would just be able to upload the same pdf for the Kindle version. Wrong wrong wrong. Soooo frustrating. I ended up with a very clean, readable product for Kindle, but it lacks all the cute fun girly things I was able to add into the paperback version. I hear there is a way to embed these things with HTML, but I do not write in HTML so alas... a clean, readable, perhaps a tiny bit less exciting version. For Book Two, I may enlist some help for this part of it, but I didn't know that going into Book One. But I'm okay with it. The words tell the story, not the cute chapter breaks, right? Wow, I think you hit a nerve LOL. All that to say, I hear ya. And good luck with it!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I keep hearing good things about Vellum for formatting. I have more books planned so it might be worth the investment. Especially since I really don't know how to do this stuff. And I get frustrated easily with technology.

      Delete
  5. Well, I love that you're doing all this before me, so that you can be my go-to-girl! =) Though, honestly, you know how bad I am w/tech. The idea of formatting scares the schnizzle out of me! But woo-hoo on the short! Now we've just got to get it on Our Books tab.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love writing short stories. I might do some more (when I get some free time) and put them up.

      Delete
  6. Congratulations on dipping in and very best of luck with the short story! I have also just finished a YA short story and might publish it independently as well (I've self-published a middle-grade novel last year.). As for formatting, I'm terrible with technology and will pay a real professional to do it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'll either check out Vellum or pay someone when I release my novella. I have a slightly bigger budget for that project.

      Delete
  7. You're brave! Good luck! I'm very lucky that one of my critique partners also does my formatting for me. She's a genius with those things. Yet I recently published a few shorts that I formatted. VERY basic formatting. Step by step, we'll get there. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think I would like to published my short stories in e-book form. I keep trying to force some of them into one big book, and I don't think it's working. lol

    ReplyDelete
  9. A few years ago, I released a short story as bonus content for one of my traditionally published series, and the formatting was by far the most stressful part of the process. (There might have been a few tears during it all.) I think there are more programs out there now that help with that aspect of it, but I'm not sure I'm quite ready to brave it again anytime soon. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Good luck! I've heard horror stories about formatting, I'll admit. If I ever go this route, I'll have to find someone to help me out. I'd probably end up chucking my computer out the window otherwise :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your last line - "even if it takes me all morning to learn to do something that's probably a five-minute task" - reminds me of a sewing class I took once. A student asked how long it would take to make an apron, which was one of our first projects. "Oh, maybe an hour," she said. "If you only have to do each step once. Which is why I'm budgeting two weeks for it."

    Everyone should have something energizing in their life, though. Even if it comes with craziness too.

    ReplyDelete

 
Blogger Template by Designer Blogs