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Posted: April 24, 2011 in Self Publishing

First a quick word about what’s happening with my novel, Painted Black.  It looks like I will be signing a contract with New Libri to publish my book.  I will have a meeting probably this week to go over some final edits.  They will be epublishing first and should be offering paperback versions later using Print On Demand (POD) through Lightening Source which is associated with Ingram Distributers.  I’ll post an update once I have more info.

Now, on to the experiment of self epubbing my short story Peeling the Onion.  First off, apparently not even friends and family want to pay .99 cents for it, since not one story has sold.  There could be several reasons for that, and I’m hoping you guys will help me figure out what it is.  There is a list of possible reasons below and also in a poll on The Critics page of this blog.  If you could take a moment to comment, email me or fill in the poll, I would appreciate it.

  • I don’t have an e-reader and can’t figure out how to read the electronic version online
  • I don’t want to pay .99 for a short story
  • It doesn’t sound like the kind of story I would enjoy (Be honest–it’s okay with me I you don’t like the story. I realize I’m not writing to everyone’s style.)
  • Just haven’t gotten around to it yet
  • Other (you tell me)

Remember, this is an experiment for me.  Your answers will help me determine if this epubbing thing is something I should continue or let go.  Don’t hesitate to be perfectly honest with me.  I won’t hold it against you.


For those (few) of you who are interested in the actual process of e-publishing, I’ve done a little more experimenting if you would like to read on.

You may remember I said Smashwords is a little more particular about the format of what you submit and that I did not take the time to read and follow all their guidelines before putting the story online with them.

Because of that, while my story is available to purchase from the Smashwords site, it did not get distributed to all available venues such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and Kobo since they have particular criteria before acceptance.  For this, you need to submit your book for Smashwords’ Premium Distribution, which is also free.

I had two errors on my initial upload that prevented this.  My copyright wording was not sufficient and I had my title font larger than the suggested maximum of 18 point.  Both easy enough to change.  The copyright basically needs to say your ebook is a Smashwords Edition, either by saying “Published by Debra Borys at Smashwords” or “Published by Debra Borys <next line> “Smashwords Edition.”  This is in addition to your “Copyright © 2011 Debra Borys.”

Another issue is I need to assign an ISBN number to the work.  Not having one does not keep it from being accepted to the Premium catalog, but Apple, Borders and Sony require one and since Apple is high on the list of “IN” markets, you want their acceptance.

The ISBN must be specific to the electronic edition–you cannot use the same number as a hard copy edition.  You also cannot use it for more than one type of electronic version.  For instance, you need one ISBN for a mobi file for Amazon and another for the epub version, etc.  Smashwords has both a free and a paid version of ISBN available for you to choose from.  You can also add an ISBN you may have obtained elsewhere.

The free version lists Smashwords as the publisher in the official Bowker database and “in no way limits your ownership of your book, and in no way makes us [Smashwords] your publisher.”

The second version costs $9.95, which they will take from any royalties you receive so there is no up front payment required.  This will list you as the publisher in the database and Smashwords as the distributor.  Smashwords recommends using the free version and says there is no advantage to having this type.  It is basically a vanity ISBN.

I will be getting the free ISBN of course, but have to wait until the review period is over.  I did not get any error messages when I resubmitted, so my formatting should be fine this time.  However, they do say that it takes at least a day and up to a week before it is accepted.  After that, it takes another day to several weeks for it to show up as available on the retailers’ offerings.

In the meantime, I did find an easy way to preview the different versions. Remember my saying I had trouble figuring out how to preview the mobi version? There are apps that can be downloaded to your PC or Mac that are free that will allow you to do that.  The ones Smashwords mentions are:  Adobe Digital Editions (reads epub), Kindle for PC and Kindle for Mac (mobi readers) and FBReader (reads .epub, .txt, .mobi and multiple other formats).

Next step for me is researching marketing options.  Something I will need for more than just these short story experiments, assuming all goes well with my meeting with New Libri.


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