E-book publishing program from the University of Hard Knocks

A few years ago, I taught myself how to write a novel by writing a novel. My purpose was to demonstrate to myself that I could start and finish a long work and secondly, see if I could interest an agent.

After going 0-[embarrassingly large number] in trying to interest an agent, I’m done with that phase. I had a few request the entire manuscript, and then pass for various reasons, none having to do with the quality of the writing. (I’ve had nothing but positive feedback on that aspect). The novel, however, does not fall into a readily marketable category.

The Beanstalk and Beyond   is the story of Jack, as supposedly adapted from his autobiography. Re-written folk-tales of any quality do not pass for high fantasy. A 13 year old protagonist is too young even for middle-grade readers (and obviously too young for YA). Actually, I intended the book for adults – though it is PG enough to pass for middle-grade if it has to.

So I have decided to use this work to teach myself how to self-publish; to make all my rookie mistakes before there’s any real money on the table.

Here’s what I learned in just the preliminary research:

q      Good cover art is as important as a good book.

q      There are 7-12 major distribution channels, each with their own format requirements and royalty structures.

q      If you’re going through a distributor, expect to cough up 30-50% of the sale price.

q      Most novel-length e-books sell for $2.99 (and so will mine)

q      If you’re willing to do your own formatting, you save about $100 per distributor. (This is a must for me – and a deliberate part of the learning curve).

I started with C-net’s primer on How to Self-Publish an E-book, by David Carnoy. [http://reviews.cnet.com/how-to-self-publish-an-e-book]

And start following thriller author Jack Konrath’s Newbie’s Guide to Self Publishing


Finally, the Amazon tutorial page (because you know you’re going to end up there eventually…) [https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help]

So one more good round of editing, and procuring good cover art are in order before I start grappling with code.

Will update here whenever I move forward.

Curious about the book? The proto-website is here. [http://padegimas.wordpress.com/current-fiction-project/the-beanstalk-and-beyond/]. Consider that a rough draft. When the book is actually out I’ll need something several orders more professional.