So, after publishing my first book, the main takeaway is that things could have gone much more smoothly. A lot of time could have been saved and maybe even a little money. But, in the end, I’ll take the loss and count it all as a learning experience. The following are two areas in particular that I think should be researched thoroughly: namely, who you’ll be publishing with (or should I say, how many) and who you’ll be using for advertisements.
I wasted more than a week trying to figure out why my children’s e-book cover was pixelated on Amazon after it was published (the result being that I still have no idea) before deciding to publish it in paperback. Another week went down the drain as I battled with resolution standards. In hindsight my best course of action would’ve been to visit IngramSpark and keep a small portion of my sanity. The reason: Ingram books are not only picked up by book stores but Amazon as well. Even though Amazon was extremely beneficial when it came to uploading my book multiple times for free, personally, it fell short when it came time to pull the trigger on publishing my paperback. On the other hand, Ingram was much easier to use for the act of publishing itself yet cost roughly $50 for both my e-book and paperback combined (again, Amazon was free). The only downside is that Ingram charges for each revision after a book is published, so keep that in mind.
Another outlet I used was Smashwords which was not only free but equally uncomplicated. While they focus exclusively on e-books, having the ability to set the price of my book to free was a huge advantage. Bringing that price to Amazon’s attention through their price matching can in-turn potentially get your e-book listed as free on their site. And, if you’re having a bit of difficulty with uploading your e-book due to file format requirements Kindle has a children’s books download for conversion to MOBI. There are also downloads to convert files (Calibre), not to mention an Epub validator (in case you’re converting from one format to another).
There are a number of options for promoting your published work, unfortunately most have a moderate to hefty price tag. Facebook has several pages that offer free book promotions that are definitely worth your time if you’re on a budget. You may even be able to grab a few reviews with a little finesse. Venturing to another social media site, Twitter has similar opportunities for authors and writers. Not only are you more likely to get the attention of true bibliophiles but, again, it’s free. There are, however, plenty of alternatives to use choose from if you don’t mind spending a little money. And, in the process, you may reach an even bigger audience. They include Amazon, IngramSpark, Goodreads, Smashwords, Google, and a host of others that will run your ad (whether pay-per-click or through impressions).
The moral of the story is that certain missteps can (and should) be avoided whereas others make us better because of the experience. It would’ve been great if I had uploaded and published everything without any problems, then again I wouldn’t have noticed all of the tiny mistakes that I did when I was forced to start over. So, like I said, I’ll take the loss this time. It just means my next book will be that much easier to publish (I hope).