I have, for the past few years, written Christmas stories for my students, my teaching colleagues, or just for myself. I thought – hey, maybe I can self-publish a small collection of them and get them out in e-book format just in time for the holidays.
Here are my experiences. (Please note that for all requests, I was able to respond the same day – just so you don’t think it was this writer holding things up!)
My thinking: it’s the beginning of November – lots of time, right?
I choose four stories that are the most family friendly. Then I set some time aside and do some research, discovering that, if I format a Word document correctly (i.e. very basic formatting with page breaks and such), it’s a fairly easy thing to convert the .doc into e-book format (.mobi for Kindle and .epub for Kobo). More complex structures require a bit more formatting.
Then I design a basic cover for my collection (remembering that it has to work both in large and thumbnail size), cut and paste the stories into a single Word document, and remove all formatting, apart from a .15” indent in each paragraph and a page break between title pages and every story.
Next, I sweat and agonize about the various programs available, one of which I would have to pay for and use for my task. Then I discover this free site, which allows free conversions with no conditions (no, really, none!): http://www.2epub.com/. I convert and download a .mobi and .epub copy to my computer.
Uploading my product comes next.
Kindle: I Google “Publish EBook to Kindle” and am linked straight away to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), click around for a little while, set up an account (linked to my regular Amazon account), choose a contract, set my pricing, fill in some information about myself and the e-book, and upload the file. There’s a lot of reading, but it’s all online with helpful little help links and pop-ups and, in the end, it’s just like signing up for any other service: fill in the blanks. I accomplish all this in about an hour, including reading through the KDP documentation. They say, “Thanks for signing up! It might take 24hrs for your book to go live!” (in reality, it took less than two).
Click here to see my Kindle e-book page: Finding December: Christmas Tales. (Feel free to buy, too!)
At this point, I’m pretty pumped. How easy can this be?!
Kobo: I Google “Publish EBook to Kobo” and am directed to this page. No clicky buttons, no reassuring sentiments, no easy-fill e-forms, just that scary email address. Whaddyamean I have to make contact with an actual person?!
In my next post, I’ll look at the Kobo experience.