Sidetracked from the Nontraditional Path

Posted: February 21, 2011 in Small Presses

My intention this week had been to investigate the option a little more thoroughly, and I did start doing that.  But my heart wasn’t really into it.  Epublishing with Amazon looks so easy and free, it feels like I should just start converting and uploading my manuscript using the steps I outlined last week and report how things work from there.  And I might have done just that this week, except for an unexpected opportunity that recently presented itself.

A guy I met at a writing class at the University of Washington (hi, Stasa!) who is also a Facebook friend recently posted a request for people to “like” a page he created for his new publishing company called New Libri. I did that, because it’s a great idea.  New Libri’s intent is to be an independent publisher that not only puts its imprint on quality printed books but can offer writers just about any publishing option they want.  They offer everything from traditional publishing (they pay costs, you get royalties, but you’ve got to meet their standards) to collaborative publishing (shared costs, but bigger royalty to the writer and you still have to meet the quality guidelines), to self publishing help (for a fee they offer several services to get your work printed or ebooked under your own imprint).

Stasa and I started exchanging emails and I told him about this blog and my interest in possibly ebooking it myself, and he remembered excerpts of Painted Black that I had brought to class where we first met.  The long and short of it is, he asked if he could look at Painted Black for consideration under their traditional publishing model and I thought why the heck not and sent it off earlier this weekend.  So until I hear back from them, I really don’t know what direction fate might take me to make Black a sellable, published commodity.  Which means it really doesn’t make sense to even try uploading it to Amazon for the sake of experimentation.

Still, I’ve done all this darned research so far, and I have a blog to get out, and there’s this whole extra day in my life thanks to the President’s Day holiday.  So I started thinking about my first Jo Sullivan novel, written so many years ago it should be called a prequel to Painted Black. The style is a bit different and maybe even not quite as good, but when I pulled Teach Your Children Well up to take a look at it again, I started remembering how much I really like it.  I tried hard to publish this way back when and wrote and rewrote it so many times it’s a little confusing to even figure out which file is the most recent one on  my computer.

I decided to read it completely through to see if the whole sounded as promising as the beginning, and as I did so, started wishing I could read it on my phone so I don’t have to sit all afternoon at this computer.  My first thought was I could upload it to Amazon DTP just like I considered doing to Black, but that looked like too much work just so I could read it while relaxing in bed tonight.  Then I remembered how easy is supposed to be.  Create an account, my earlier research had said, then upload a pdf and tada! epublishing accomplished.

It took a little more than that before I was satisfied, but it truly was that easy at first.  I didn’t even have to create an account or put it in pdf format.  Scribd let me sign in with my Facebook account and upload a Word document directly off my hard drive.  It happened so quickly I wasn’t expecting it and had to quickly make it a private document because it is not yet ready for public consumption.  Yet even in that short time, somehow I see that two of my Facebook friends found me and “Followed Me”  (Not sure how that happened, Carey and Charles.  If you read this, let me know.)

So I played a bit more, creating a cover, changing fonts, and then pdfing it so it would keep the fonts I picked instead of converting it into something more standard and boring.  Then I tried sending it to my mobile.  I had the option of downloading it to several eReader devices, but since I don’t have a device, just an Android smart phone, I tried sending to myself via text messaging. …….Nothing, even though I tried several ways of entering my phone number.  Then I emailed it to myself.  That did work, but it only let me send it as a text file and boy was that a mess.  No formatting whatsoever.  Paragraph and page breaks gone, header and page numbers mixed in with the text.

So, since I have the Kindle app on my phone, I thought I would see what would happen if I tried sending it as if I did have a Kindle device.  That did work, but the option I chose was to email it to myself again.  At least it let me choose to email it as a pdf so when I got it on my phone and opened the attachment, my formatting is there, fonts, cover image, headers and page numbers.  It won’t flow my text if I zoom my screen, though, so I have to swipe side to side it I want to increase the font size.  And it’s a little slow to refresh the screen as I move from page to page.  I bet if I had more time, I could experiment with sending it to my Amazon Kindle account and see if that would actually let me download it with my app and act like a normal Kindle ebook for reading.  Maybe I’ll play with that next time and let you know what happens.

For now, this is all the ebook news you’re going to get this post, so I hope you’re not bored or disappointed.  I’ll keep you informed how the New Libri thing works out, and maybe post a new page to let you take a peak at the first chapter of Teach Your Children Well.  Who knows, if I get through proofreading the manuscript and decide I like it well enough, I might even let you buy it off Scirbd or figure out how to publish Kindle and Nook versions.  We’ll see, anything is possible given enough time and caffeine.

  1. TheGoodSon says:

    Definitely give your friend some time to consider publishing before you go and self-publish. Now that you know all about self-publishing you can do it whenever you want to. I would love to read the first chapter of your latest book. My friend Vicki said she read a chapter from one of your books (I don’t know how she found it), I think the black one, and she said she loved it so there is definitely some interest out there for your style of writing. If you’re really interested in e-reading you may want to consider getting yourself an actual Kindal or ipad, reading lots of stuff on your phone can make you cross-eyed. I know since I read CNN news on mine all the time. You can do it Ma, all you need is a bit of luck to get started.

    • Deb Borys says:

      Actually, you can read the first chapters of both Paint It Black and Teach Your Children by clicking on the links at the top of the blog. The link called The Book is Black, and the other link is called The Prequel. That’s probably where Vickie read it from. I post to Facebook every time I add a new blog post so she would get that since we are Facebook friends.

      Love your login by the way — The Good Son — although your brother might not like the implications that points to him. 🙂

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