This past weekend, I was lucky enough to both organize and participate on an amazing self-publishing panel (though it’s over, see my original announcement for more details). For those of you who couldn’t make it, you missed a 90-minute, crash course on self-publishing success, failure, resilience, and prediction.
In retrospect, it feels like we covered half a hundred topics in that short time. It was more likely just two-dozen or so, but it ran the gamut from smart pricing to promotional strategies, from e-book formatting to the uses of new technology.
I’m sorry to say that we weren’t able to video-tape or otherwise capture all of the content of the panel, but I’ve listed the websites and services below that I could remember from the information blitzkrieg. If you were there and know I’ve forgotten anything, please say so in the Comments section.
Here’s hoping for a reprise soon!
(Please note that I can’t vouch for all of the services or advice from the various sites below; they were mentioned during the course of yesterday’s discussion. Use your own best judgment when hiring freelancers, engaging services, or taking counsel!)
Michael J. Sullivan
These are sites where self-pub writes can upload their pieces themselves, without help–or control–from anyone else. Note that Smashwords, while also a retailer, distributes to Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple/iBooks, Sony, Diesel. It doesn’t truly distribute to Amazon despite saying so, and is not necessary for upload to Kobo or B&N (i.e., you can use their own services). It is most helpful for authors trying to reach iBooks and other markets.
Amazon – Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
Kobo – Writing life
Barnes & Noble/Nook – PubIt
There was some confusion regarding the difference between Amazon KDP and Amazon Publishing. The former is Amazon’s online publishing service that anyone can use, without charge, to upload their manuscript and sell it on Amazon.
The latter is a true publisher that solicits manuscripts and backs their publication. Unlike KDP, inclusion with Amazon Publishing is by invitation only (agented submissions sometimes accepted). Different genres have different imprints under the Amazon Publishing umbrella. See the links below for the list.
ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange)
Matchmaking service, brings authors together with audio talent.
Audio book service, owned by Amazon.
Formatting, e-book design, and artwork
99 designs – http://99designs.com/ (design bidding)
Elance – https://www.elance.com/ (freelance professionals, many fields)
Guru.com – http://www.guru.com/ (freelance professionals, many fields)
Deviantart – http://www.deviantart.com. Artist community site. Job board allows freelance work to be posted and artists to post rates. (artists only)
52novels – http://www.52novels.com/ (e-book design and formatting; no cover art)
Streetlight Graphics – http://www.streetlightgraphics.com (e-book formatting, cover art, CreateSpace paperback formatting/layout)
DIY Formatting Help
This is Smashword’s founder and CEO Mark Coker’s free guide to cleaning up your manuscript in Word in order for it to make through Smashword’s “Meatgrinder” conversion software. Even if you don’t plan to publish through Smashwords, this is a helpful guide on how to clean up your manuscript so that it produces fewer errors during other conversions (like Amazon’s KDP and Kobo’s Writing Life).
Free software to convert a Word or .html document into a .mobi file (helpful for uploading to KDP).
Free software for converting most file type to other file types, such as .epub.
Kindleboards.com (Writers Café)
(see also my summary of KB at http://matthew-iden.com/2012/03/07/kindleboards-the-best-resource-around/)
Self-pub and online writers’ hangout. Archived threads are indispensable guide.
Reader community. Has ratings and review schema separate from retailers like Amazon. Self-pub writers can join as “Goodreads authors” and (tastefully) promote their books. Allows giveaways of books as a promotional tool for authors (physical books only).
Reader community much like Goodreads. Allows giveaways of e-books as a promotional tool for authors.
Helpful Author Sites
http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/ (especially http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/lets-get-digital/)
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Dean Wesley Smith