Monday, 14 October 2013

Publishing Paperback Versions of My Novels

I thought I'd blog about what I'm doing these days when I'm not writing Town Haunts, the second mystery in the Anna Nolan series. Heretofore my novels have only been available as e-books, but I'm taking the advice of savvy authors and publishers  Kris Rush and Dean Wesley Smith to publish my books as paperbacks.

Rather than paying upfront to have my paperbacks produced and being stuck with cartons of books to store in a non-existent garage, I'm going through the print-on-demand services of CreateSpace. It costs me nothing to have the books printed and, in return, the books are sold through the Amazon distribution channels, or can be ordered by book stores, in return for a royalty based upon the price of the book minus the costs associated with their production. That way I don't have to worry about selling and shipping, remitting taxes to the government, returns, etc., so that I can get on with writing other novels. It's a good way for a self-publisher to begin.

But it's been a steep learning-curve. I had to choose the book size, which became slightly larger when I discovered how many printed pages my e-books converted to (lots), fonts, whether or not to use the CreateSpace ISBN or to get my own ISBN and use my own publishing company ("Comely Press"), formatting for the CreateSpace system, choosing the distribution services I required, and pricing.

I also decided to create my own covers, and faced an even steeper learning curve when it came to manipulating the images I wanted to use with the latest Photoshop software. Photoshop for Dummies and online tutorials just weren't teaching me enough, so our good friend and photographer extraordinaire John Mitchell, of John Mitchell Photography, rode to the rescue and spent a day showing me how to use the program and helping to produce my cover for Framed for Murder. The top image is an e-version of the front cover for Framed, with adaptations for the thumbnail view, including font placement and the yellow border. My husband took the photo in a cemetery, since I wanted to have a cemetery theme for the mystery series. I was quite taken with the grieving lady, and hope that readers will be, too. The second cover is for The Affairs of Harriet Walters, Spinster; the image is a stock photo that I purchased. I decided to go with something pretty and old-fashioned for the regency romance, and I'm pleased with the result.

I've proofed the books online, and now I'm waiting for Amazon to send me paperback proofs so that I can read them one last time before giving the go-ahead. When I do, I will have to promote the books online so that readers will be aware that they are now available in two formats. The third format will be audiobooks, but I'll tackle that project sometime in 2014when I've finished my current novel.

It would be a lot easier to go with a traditional publisher to get my books out as paperbacks, but that would entail either finding a small publishing company, or an agent who would have to find a publisher, and giving up the rights to my books while someone else made the decisions about covers, publishing, promotion, etc. . . I like the idea of having my books available for purchase for years to come instead of worrying if they will sell well enough in a six-week window to develop a following before the bookstores return copies to the publisher to make room for the next author. I like the control of self-publishing and the potential for greater financial return, so I'm willing to learn the ins and outs. Choice is good!

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