I think one of the greatest adrenalin rushes a writer or would-be-writer can have relates to the sale of one’s creation. A few of my titles have sold through Smashwords and the Apple Bookstore. However, in getting notice of my sales, I was also informed that non-US based writers will only be paid through PayPal. There is also an automatic US withholding fee of 30% for aliens such as myself. Interesting that these giant companies are too arrogant to set up distributing networks in the countries of origin.
There may be an option of registering with Smashwords and other distributors in a way that avoids the with-holding fee. I have yet to explore that option.
For many years my primary writing tool has been Microsoft Word. It seems to be the standard. All my recent writing has been in Word 11 for the Mac. All versions since Word 2000 have the ability to automatically generate a hyperlinked Table of Contents. Within an e-book, this means one can go to the beginning of a book, find the Table of Contents, and click on any Chapter Heading, map or table designator and go directly to the item in question.
After I had uploaded my first title to Smashwords, I found a warning regarding having hidden code in my document. I knew nothing of hidden code, but eventually found I had hidden code in my auto-generated Table of Contents created in Microsoft Word. I had to return to my original document, strip the hidden code, and painstakingly rebuild a hyperlinked Table of Contents. With that done, Smashwords approved my title for its premium catalog.
In Canada the Federal Government provides a free ISBN service through Collections Canada: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/ciss-ssci/
A FAQ on the government website suggested one needs a specific ISBN number for each format of an electronic document. e.g. PDF, RTF, MOBI and EPUB etc.
I circled the Smashword’s wagon for a few weeks wondering how it would fit my needs. One good pointer suggested I prepare a cover 800 pixels high x 500 pixels wide to upload as part of the Smashword’s requirement. Spent much of a day preparing a similar cover to that on a printed paperback.
Another benefit to the digital version is the increased ability to handle photos. The original manuscript of my father’s biography Horses, Trails and Trophies contained pencil sketches primarily. It became quite easy to intermix photos with the sketches. Also, since I have digitized some of Dad’s original super 8 mm movies, I was able to upload these to YouTube and then provide links from the ebook version I finally uploaded.
The result is poor quality video sequences, but interesting in a historical context.
Obviously hundreds of thousands of people have been down this road before me in their efforts to become published authors. Yesterday, I spent some time looking at Smashwords. The price was right, but the product seemed limited. Will look again.
Now, I need to move back to my first novel, Stonechild Volunteers in the Stonechild Chronicles. After my fourth revision I need the product on paper for my wife’s final inspection before translation to the web. After this final edit I am very tempted to go with Smashwords as the mechanism for publishing the novel electronically.
My father, Del Burk, wrote a biography, Horses, Trails and Trophies, mainly describing the more difficult and special moments in his life as a big game guide. His experiences took him to the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, the Casiar Mountains of BC, the buffalo plains and McKenzie Mountains of the North West Territories, and the Coast Mountains near Carcross, Yukon.
My wife and I facilitated the self-publishing of that biography. My research into ways of continuing the vanity press approach to publishing, but, using the Internet led me to WordPress. So far I have spent quite a few hours studying WordPress. First of all I went to my most used site of the last ten years, Lynda.com, for a set of wonderful video tutorials showing me how to use WordPress.
Then, after some quick evaluation I purchased a book, by Chuck Tomasi and Kreg Steppe, Sam’s Teach Yourself WordPress 3 in 10 Minutes.” It went with me on a three week vacation in Maui. Over ten hours I read it twice and felt a little more comfortable with WordPress.