Ebook Mania: Juggling the Moving Parts of a Publishing Rube Goldberg Device


If anyone is taking notes on the hash of cliches and metaphors in the headline, let me just say that it perfectly describes my weekend (so far).

The good news is that I have begun releasing Target Marketing for Authors into the great world. The bad news is that my mind is a pile of mush.

The other good news is that it has been a great learning experience.

There’s a bit of urgency about the process because I’m going to be giving an hour-long presentation at next weekend’s The New Publishing World: Everything You Need To Know From E to Z. (If you’re there, I’d love to say hello to you.) It’s all about epublishing and self-publishing and all things digital (I’m giving a talk about Websites for Writers), and so it’s a not-to-be-missed opportunity to put the book in front of my target audience.

So I want to have it ready to roll next weekend, and I also promised to raffle off a copy of the print book.

I thought getting it into Kindle would be easy. Hah! I spent, I think, seven hours wrestling with it on Friday and ended up justputting it through Smashwords. The benefit of Smashwords is that it’s easy and it distributes your book to all the ebook distributors. The down side is that it takes 15 percent, and Amazon takes 30 percent. So if you go to Amazon through Smashwords, you end up paying more than 30 percent.

I had planned to put the book into Amazon separately (another benefit of Smashwords is that you can choose where to distribute it), but seven hours of agony happened before I learned that Amazon is not Mac friendly. I found a useful ebook on the subject of formatting for Kindle, Mac to Kindle: Secrets and Lies of Successful Formatting, and will have another go at it as soon as possible.

Today was “get the book in print” day. I went through Createspace, the Amazon print-on-demand publisher. It wasn’t as frustrating as the Kindle interface, although it took several tries to get the formatting right for the print book. Also, I discovered that my cover image wasn’t big enough — including the 2000- x 3000-pixel image I bought for the cover. So besides having to remake the cover (a simple front cover is fine for an ebook, but doesn’t work at all for a print book), I also had to find a way to finesse the cover image to appear larger than it is. (I’d tell you what it is, but then I might have to come back and explain that, well, that didn’t work so well either, so I’d rather wait until I see it in person. If it’s an urgent need and you want to try it, leave a note in the comments.)

And speaking of seeing it in person, it has to go through a review process before Amazon will take it, so I may not have a physical book to give away anyway.

But what I had planned to do was to package the book and a set of interviews, along with PDFs of the target market worksheets as a more complete bundle from my site. I’ve talked to Dana Lynn Smith about social media and target marketing and to Sandra Beckwith about publicity and target marketing. Monday I’m scheduled to interview Dan Blank for a general overview. All three of these people are tremendously knowledgeable about book marketing in general, and the interviews are going to add good value to the book. So if I can’t get the hard copy in time, I can deliver a CD with the book and interviews.

I may have another interview up my sleeve, but I don’t want to mention it until I get the schedule firmed up.

In the meantime, I have nothing to complain about except that my little go-cart is rolling down the hill so fast I’m afraid the wheels will fall off. But that’s my definition of fun.

Image: Mach one by chilebeans, on Flickr


  1. says

    Thanks, Cindy. In the long run, I think, it will be worth having done myself at least once, even if I decide in the future to have someone else do it for me.