Tuesday, August 23, 2011

21st Century Digital Boy

   When they say that books sell less every year, these people must not be paying attention to the number of ebooks sold. http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/19/that-was-fast-amazons-kindle-ebook-sales-surpass-print-it-only-took-four-years/
     The growth of digital book sales grows astronomically every year. The advent of smartphones and tablets have ushered a new reading era. Of course, we old-schoolers can always make the argument that nothing feels like a book: the weigh, the smell of paper, the feel of the pages on your fingers, etc. In that same vein, we can also make another argument about LPs, but the truth is the e-format is here to stay.
     I would have been remiss not make "Sleeper’s Run" available on ebook stores. This was a brand new arena for me, so I did a little research and came up with two companies: Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/ and Publish Green http://www.publishgreen.com/ The former is free, has a one size fits all methods and is perfect for do-it-yourselfers. The latter isn't cheap, but it offers expert manual formatting and distribution to 28 international vendors.
     In an unlikely move, I went the lazy way and chose Publish Green. I didn't want my work not to look great as an ebook, having my baby distributed around the world dazzled me and I was pissed off that companies like Apple need an official "aggregator" (read "middleman") to make my manuscript available on their ebook stores.  Plus, I have to admit having someone shouldering some of the crazy amount of work involved in self-publishing my novel was gladly welcome.
     PB delivered as promised, their customer support was quick to respond to any of my questions, polite and very helpful when I ran into a few scheduling problems. My only complaint is the actual formatter. If you want the human touch, you'll also get the human fallibility. The formatter omitted changes, and typos were produced, so I had to double-check everything that was done (not that I wouldn't have anyway). Also, they lack a way in their website for you to track your sales. You have to wait until the end of the month to get a report and see how your book did.
     Aside from that, PB is solid, but me being me, I'd like to give the DIY way a try next time just to compare. You may also want to check out this article on self-publishing an ebook http://reviews.cnet.com/how-to-self-publish-an-e-book I found it very useful. Keep on running!

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