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I decided to do a little experiment by choosing to publish a few of my short stories at Amazon in a sort of eVolume. I’d had a cover designed so I figured why not. But quickly learned that maybe, just maybe, I should have thought things through a bit more.

I tend to be one of those spur-of-the-moment people and also a bit of a perfectionist, which often don’t go hand-in-hand. So this first stab at publishing was more error than trial.

As I was trying to publish a group of stories I hadn’t really thought through just how complicated naming the “book” would be. It’s not the most searchable name – “The Cop and the…” so it won’t be easily found unless someone adds my name.

My suggestion: Choose an easily discoverable name for your title. Nothing too common or it might get lost amidst hundreds of already published titles.

I then realized I needed to put it into a category (or categories). Well, “stories” wasn’t an option and neither was “short stories.” I had to enlist the help of a blogger/writer friend who had read one of them to settle upon “contemporary romance.”

My suggestion: Find a genre before starting the publishing process.

I then had to write a description. I suppose most seasoned authors know that they need to put a description beneath their book. As a book blogger I should have figured this out beforehand, too. But no, not a chance. And so, while I had the online form open I had to scramble to describe my short book of three short stories. All my normal rules and pieces of advice flew out the window. I love writing synopses for books I read. What I realized is doing it for your own work is an entirely different matter.

My suggestion: Come up with a description long beforehand and/or ask a friend to write it for you.

I wanted to offer the book for free, since I had previously published the stories on my website, but that wasn’t an option. I might have thought twice before getting the ball rolling if I had known that in advance. But I figured I’d offer it at the least expensive price and if someone wanted to pay for it, they’d be getting a nicely formatted book on their Kindle with a pretty cover that I had designed for me.

My suggestion: If you ever plan on publishing your stories don’t offer them for free first. Or if you do, have a little extra content to include to make it worth someone’s while to pay for them.

Hire an editor. Or sit on the preview draft BEFORE clicking “publish.” As many times as I’d read the stories I still found a few mistakes – a word that I’d have preferred to be plural, a missing word and an extra word. And while there were a couple of changes I’d have liked to make to the story – small changes – it was really those three proofreading edits that made me decide to go back in and fix them and republish.

My suggestion: Print your book/story, sit on it for a few days, if not longer. Then do a clean read-through when the nerves of hitting “publish” aren’t attacking you.

I thought the preview option was super cool. Amazon let’s you preview your content on all its devices so you can get an idea of how it looks.

My suggestion: Look at ALL the devices. Carefully. What looks great on one device might not look the same on another.  Example: Apparently when formatting your document in Word there are codes that convert to html that aren’t always the same. Make sure your paragraphs are spaced consistently. Even though they look that way visually in Word, they might be coded very differently when you see it in html format.

Overall…

The process is really simple. It’s amazing how quickly a Word document can become a published book. If you’re not looking to make money or make a big splash you can sneak your book into the marketplace and be published within a couple of hours. The details build after publication, like the ability to “look inside” or the page length (approximate if only published in electronic format). All of it is rather cool and utterly fascinating.

Of course if your goal is to make a name for yourself, make money and build an audience… well… you should probably build buzz beforehand, reach out to reviewers and be prepared to tweet links to your story online.

And the biggest thing… be prepared to realize that once you hit “publish” you will officially be a self-published author. I hadn’t quite thought of it that way. Which caused a little bit of a freak-out. Oh, and before it actually becomes too public, make sure you clue your friends and family in on what you’ve been up to. They’d probably be a little disappointed to find out they were the last to know.

Which reminds me… I have some phone calls to make.

So now, I can officially add “Self-published Author” to my bio. Previously I’d only had “Indie Author” as a title. I suppose that only leaves one avenue left. Piece of cake, right?

Ummm….