Monday, February 23, 2015

Things I Didn't Know Beforehand

I like to think I'm pretty savvy about the writing business.  Lord knows, I've been at it long enough. And I didn't spent the last ten years sitting on my butt writing books in a vacuum.  Nope, I've been out there reading and researching and learning and studying and improving and... Well, you get the gist. 

Still, this first leap into self-publishing has been a learning experience.  I thought today I'd share with you a few things I didn't know beforehand that I know now.

1)  If a reader borrows a book through Kindle Unlimited, the author doesn't actually get credit for it until the reader reads at least 10% of the book. 

2)  Cover art can take what seems like forever.  (I kinda knew this a little, so I budgeted plenty of time, but still...)

3)  Scrivener has ways to convert a manuscript into various formats for different ereaders, so in theory, you don't have to do it by hand or pay someone else.

4)  Where I was using ellipses, 90% of the time I should've been using emdashes.

5)  You capitalize directional places when you're talking about them as a specific locale - like Northern Wisconsin or Eastern Colorado - but not in general (i.e. "They drove north and then east.)

6)  If you gift someone a book through Amazon, they don't have to actually get the book you gave them.  It's more like a mini-gift-certificate they can use for anything on the site. 

7)  You can return ebooks.  This one totally floors me every time I think about it.  I shudder to think about how the unethical could potentially screw authors.  Lucky there aren't that many unethical people in the reading world.  (Yes, I am Pollyanna. I like to think readers are a better breed of people. Don't harsh my happy place.)

8)  All these years hanging out and making friends with other writers was worth more than just hanging out and making friends, because while I am a debut author, I didn't send my book out into an unfeeling world where no one would ever know I was there - because my friends have been awesome about talking about my book to their friends. 

And in the interest of disclosure, as of this morning, I have 23 sales.  I'm not breaking any records, but I'm way ahead of some people I've seen haunting the KDP forums who didn't get any sales their first week.  Right now, I owe that to you - my friends and my followers, the ones who've been with me through a lot of this beforehand stuff.  Because no one else has had a chance to know me and love my writing but you.  This weekend, though, a person totally unknown to me said she was halfway through Dying Embers and was loving it.  Which is totally cool.



  1. Yay! Every sale is a good sale. Ellipses, emdashes, sheesh. I don't think anything I'm working on has either of those. I love Scrivener, but one of my buddies has said you still need to check it's output. Returning e-books, whodathunkit?

  2. What? No. 6! I had no idea. I thought they were getting the book I gifted them. Huh.

  3. Really?? You can return ebooks? Now that's not right. :)

  4. I was shocked at ebook returns, too. But now I want Scrivener - it sounds like a lifesaver.

    Hooray for your sales! The speed will pick up with every book you publish.

  5. I'm going to post a very unpopular opinion here, but I don't see a problem with returning e-books. I've tried so many books in the past where the preview looks alright, but once you get past that the book falls apart completely. Spelling errors, formatting issues, and just downright terrible writing. I'm not going to sit there and KEEP a book that's utter crap simply because it's an e-book. No way. I return it immediately. Just like I would if I read a paperback book that suddenly went to shit. I don't see the difference. I don't have enough money to keep a book if it's bad--and quite frankly, I don't want the writer to get the sale and my money if I thought it was terrible.

    Now I don't return it if I've read the whole thing, because if I read the whole thing, I likely enjoyed it. It would be wrong to return it by that point. Just offering a different perspective.