Stone Patrick on Smashwords

The following guest post was written by Stone Patrick, author of The Fallen Body
 
 
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I just came across Smashwords.com, which is a great website for publishing your books, novels, poetry, short stories, etc. It only took a moment for me to convert my .doc file to the site, and they converted it to other ebook formats for me! It was so easy.
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 The site includes ebooks of every kind of category, and there are a number of them that are free or included at discount prices. The nice thing about Smashwords is that it is free for all authors to make their ebooks available.They also make your ebook available to their distribution network as long as it passes a 2-3 day review period.Smashwords mission statement is as follows: “Our mission is simple: we want to create the world’s single best ebook publishing and distribution platform for our indie authors, publishers, literary agents and retailers.” – Mark Coker, CEO and Founder of Smashwords. There are a three ebooks written by Mark Coker that are offered for free on the site. These books have helped me tremendously. The first one is Smashwords Style Guide.

Smashwords Style Guide

This book provides a step-by-step guide on how to style your manuscript so that it is readable on the different ebook platforms, i.e. MOBI (Kindle), EPUB, PDF, RTF, LRF, PDB, and TXT. It is required reading if you want to submit your books to the major ebook retailers. The second book is Smashwords Book Marketing Guide.

Smashwords Book Marketing Guide

 This is an ebook marketing primer that gives easy-to-implement advice on how to market books at Smashwords and other ebook retailers. It starts with an overview of how Smashwords helps promote your ebook, and then provides 41 simple DIY marketing tips that will help you promote your ebook. You get to choose to which ebook retailers you want to upload your novel.  The third book is Smashwords Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success.

Smashwords Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success

 This book is a must-read for new or veteran authors who want to take their marketing to the next level.

Finally, Mark Coker produces relevant and interesting industry content on the Smashword.com blog, which can be found here. His most recent posting about the Indie Author Manifesto is brilliant writing. It is loaded with talking points and culminates in 10 self-evident truths. For an example of what I have done, you can find me on Smashwords here:

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 Try it for yourself and see the power behind this website!
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Yes, you need an editor.

C.S. Maynard is the author of Blood of the Wolf and she has agreed to share her self-publishing experiences  with us today. Thank you so much, Charlotte! 

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C.S Maynard on Self-Publishing and Editors

I had worked on a couple of books and written a couple of novels before my husband sat me down and said, this next one we’re going to publish. We’re going to go all the way. We did our research, we looked at the numbers, we read about traditionally published authors who were actively choosing self-publishing over traditional and then we decided. We chose the self-publish option.

We won’t go into the stigmas of self-publishing or the quality of it versus traditional. We won’t go into how or why an author should choose that over the other options. That’s another post. I want to talk about editors.

If you go the traditional route and you get a contract, you will have an editor. Sometimes not one, but several, depending on how big the publisher. They understand how important it is to have someone else give it a look over.

My husband and I fought over this concept as we pushed to write this novel that we were insisting that we were going to go all the way to the end. He kept insisting that we didn’t need one, couldn’t afford one, he could help me, we had good beta readers. The list of his explanations and excuses went on and on and it was always something so important that we just couldn’t make it happen.

I finished the book, we started having our beta readers do their work. I have some really good beta readers, some writers themselves and they all found important things. I learned a lot in the process, I’m still learning, and everything I had experienced told me that we needed that final editor, someone with grammar and punctuation skills that could give it that final polish.

Still, my husband fought me, insisting that we could do it on our own. Nothing I could say mattered. Then, he went to the most critical of our beta readers to get her opinion just on the first chapter. She was polite, non-specific, too nice in her opinions and he realized there was more to what she wasn’t saying than what she was.

They talked for awhile and he discovered that she did have issues. All manuscripts have flaws. You can be the most experienced, talented writer and there will always be something that you miss. In fact, there were so many issues that this very experienced reader couldn’t get past that first chapter. She didn’t finish it.

We had a real problem if we were going to take this book to publishing. Finally, I had that second opinion, that firework in the sky to convince him that maybe there was something to what I had been trying to tell him all along. We needed an editor.

I had worked with a free service before and they had some really good options, opening up their editors to doing original fiction. However, these were volunteers and not professionally trained. You roll the dice and hope that you get assigned to someone who not only reads and enjoys your genre, but has the skills and training to accomplish what you want. When I used the service, I found just that. It is possible, but you might have to go through a few to find the one that works best with you.

This is an option if you don’t know anyone. It’s an amazing service and I recommend at least trying it if you choose to self-publish. Especially with your first few books, money is very tight and every little penny counts.

In my case, I have a neighbor who does technical editing for a local University and she was willing to help me out. We paid her a pittance, but it was important to us to give her something for the really amazing job that she did. The difference was outstanding. She didn’t change the story or the characters or mess with my theme in any way. A good editor won’t.

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She took what I had, the rough cut, fogged gem and cut away the detritus. After her polishing, my gem wasn’t the dirty, ragged thing I had given her. I won’t say it had become a diamond. It might be more accurately likened to a bit of topaz that you can find out on the ground in the mountains near where my story is set. But it was a far sight more beautiful after her touch than before.

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I recommend self-publishing if you can put in the time and effort into promoting it. You will have to deal with the fact that it’s definitely not as fast growing and most don’t sell 100 books in the first month.

If you do choose to self-publish, however, find yourself an editor. You don’t have to pay the $2500 for some that I saw being offered, there are other options. Let the master do the work they love, put the polish on your baby and know that you really did put yourself out there in new and exciting ways that you can really be proud of.

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You can find out more about Charlotte or preview the first chapter of Blood of the Wolf on her website. If you just want to go hog wild and purchase the entire book, click here