After countless hours struggling to format a 190,000 word novel in a manner that would be acceptable to Smashwords’ infamous Meatgrinder, I am declaring victory, at least for now. No more error messages. The Epub version looks readable, without any weird font variations. The links and table of contents all work. Yay! The brand-new 2013 edition of my old favorite Fires of Destiny is now up, and selling, at multiple e-book outlets, and I can relax. Sort of…
This might not make sense to everybody, but folks who are into indie publishing will know exactly what I am talking about. Getting the proper files formatted for all the different e-publishing platforms is a challenge for anyone, I suspect, particularly when you’re first learning. And I even had help from Ebook Prep, who scanned my old books and produced the files I eventually loaded to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Next time, I am telling myself, it will all go more smoothly. Next time I’ll actually have a clue what I’m doing. Next time will be soon, too, because I have another of my old books (completely rewritten and expanded to nearly twice its original length) almost ready to publish.
Basically, I am a writer who burned out years ago and stopped writing. My long-held dream of becoming a published author did come true, and that was very exciting. But, as I said in a keynote speech I once gave to Romance Writers of America, “the good news is, you’re a published writer. The bad new is, you’re a published writer.” It was pretty damn stressful dealing with New York publishers, which I did for a couple of decades (writing 15 books during that time–romance, historical romance, contemporary women’s fiction, romantic suspense, and thrillers). I had plenty of good news and plenty of bad during that era. What a roller-coaster! It was a relief to stop doing it for awhile and try something less stressful, like co-founding a software start-up with my partner Curt Monash. And, later, going back to grad school to study and eventually teach anatomy and neurobiology. Easy-peasy, compared to traditional publishing 🙂
But then Amazon came along and changed the entire publishing landscape. It took me awhile to catch on. Most of my author friends are way ahead of me when it comes to getting their backlists online and becoming their own publisher for their new works.
But I am learning, I am writing, and now, once again, I am putting my books out there for people to read. This time there is no mysterious “they” in the marketing dept. telling me what genre conventions I’m not allowed to violate or why I can’t sell my World War I novel (“nobody cares about that period of history”– tell that to the lovers of Downton Abbey). Vampires? Nobody wanted to read about them, either, if I were to believe some of the folks in New York back in 1990 or so. BDSM? Not mainstream enough–who wants to read about weird kinky folks doing freaky stuff with leather? Um… I’m looking at you, Fifty Shades of Grey.
I love, Love LOVE being able to write whatever the hell I want and upload it to Amazon and all the other e-book distributors. If it sells, cool. If it doesn’t, no one in New York is going to dump my next book, demand their advance back, fire my editor, or stop taking my phone calls. I’m free, and I am happy!
To see what I’m so excited about, get the revised, polished and expanded edition of my classic, award-winning historical romance, Fires of Destiny, at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords. And in a couple of months, I’ll have a new one for you, Magic Nights.
My friend Lindsay Randall, who writes lovely, lyrical historical romances like the delightful Phantom, was kind enough to interview me this week on her blog when the new edition of Fires of Destiny went live. Check out Lindsay’s questions and my answers here.
This article was written by Linda
Everything you said in this recent post echoed my own experienced as a “published” author, exactly! I had two decades of triumph and tragedy in the “legitimate” New York-based book industry and then, when my novel A Race to Splendor –the story of California’s first women architects rebuilding the Fairmont Hotel in one year after the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake and firestorm– was rejected as “too regional” despite the advent of Katrina, etc. I hung up my spurs and went back to writing nonfiction (I had another life as a TV/Radio reporter for 25 years in LA). Some six years later I did, in fact, sell that book to a publisher based in Chicago, but as soon as I saw my sister authors making the leap into Indie publishing, I, too, decided to try and launched my first title last February. The anguish of dealing with “real” publishers, agents, and other craziness is the dark side of our business, but what a blessing to finally “come in from the cold” and control one’s own destiny. HUGE congratulations on getting your first Indie book up and for sale. This is a great day!
Ciji, Thanks so much for your comment. Boy, can I relate! There are a lot of us who were traditionally published, I think, who are exulting in our freedom from the shackles of New York:) Maybe there is less money in going indie (although for some folks the reverse is true), but the ability to control our own destiny, at least to some extent, makes it seem worthwhile to me.
Meanwhile your book sounds awesome! I’m gonna go download a copy right now. And I was so envious of your trip with Cindy to Cornwall…that’s where my WWI novel is set 🙂 I’m planning to re-release it next year for the 100th anniversary of the start of the war.
Thanks again for stopping by!
I sooo here You, I have been avoiding the Ebook self-publishing thing because of all of the formatting issues however like You will be getting some help and braving the E Publishing world very soon.
Very glad to hear it, Carly! I’ll be glad to sure whatever I’ve learned with you, so don’t hesitate if ask if you have any questions. Thanks for your comment 🙂
Linda, Great post. Very timely as I’m finishing my first book and procrastinating my decision on how I would like to publish because my fears of the same issues you raise here. Thanks.
Thanks for your comment, Carmen! And I’m excited to hear you’ve written a book! Yes the whole process is a bit scary, but I encourage you to jump right in…the water’s fine 🙂