Sunday, July 1, 2012

Publishing my e-book "Delroy and the Marog Princess"

When I wrote Delroy in the Marog Kingdom, I had no idea that I would write a sequel to that story. After some prompting form my critique group, Delroy and the Marog Princess began to take shape and after many rewrites gelled in its final form. It is a fantasy story for 12 to 15-year-olds. Although it is a sequel to my first book, it can be read as a stand-alone book. Set in Jamaica, there are echoes of myths and legends, and an aura of romance. Delroy isn’t sure if his adventures in the Marog Kingdom really happened, (becoming a type of frog called a marog, when he was swept into an underground river). His resolve to forget that awful event is shattered when Rana, the Marog Princess, becomes a girl and appears in his village. After his goal to turn her into a marog fails, he realizes he’s falling in love with her. Now his greatest fear is that she will transform before he can win her heart.
The story can be viewed or purchased at Smashwords.

When I wrote the sequel, I had an inkling that I might self-publish, but I was yet to discover the enormous potential of e-publishing. Winning the Best Intermediate Writer Award in the JCDC Creative Writing Competition 2011 spurred me into investigating this option. I had been given a Kindle for Christmas in 2010, so was able to read several helpful e-books, including We Are Not Alone - The Writer’s Guide to Social Media by Kristen Lamb and Smart Self-Publishing : Becoming an Indie Author by Zoe Winters. Shevi Arnold wrote a most informative blog post on self-publishing and recommended both these books.

Looking into the possibility of doing a print-run, I consulted with Diane Browne who self-published The Ring and the Roaring Water. I got as far as contacting a few printers for estimates, but as Diane had warned, the cost was prohibitive. However, the main impediment to doing a print-run is the marketing and distribution. One has to have storage space for 1,500 books (the most economic number) and be in a position to distribute them. Book distributers charge 40% of your selling price, which either results in the price going out of range at which the consumer will buy, or the author making no profit at all. To do one’s own distribution means driving around to potential customers, which with today’s gas prices and hazardous road conditions is a definite no-no. Hence my foray into the world of e-publishing.

My main source of information was Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker. Following his recommendation to have the book professionally edited, I asked Hazel Campbell if she would do so. Hearing from Curdella Forbes that the artist who designed the cover of her latest book Ghosts, published by Peepal Tree Press, was Erold Bailey, I enlisted his services also. I decided to do my own formatting, as it gave me an opportunity to have a last read-through of my manuscript to pick up anything that I might have missed previously. Although I followed the Smashwords Style Guide to the letter, it was with great trepidation that I uploaded it. Apart from having to make it Word 1997-2003 compatible, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to upload without difficulty in a short time. My book is now pending review for premium catalog distribution. They say that should take about two weeks, but considering that over 100 books a day are being uploaded to Smashwords, I could understand if it takes longer. I’m hopeful that it will make their premium list as it passed the EPUB validator test. If it does, it will be passed on to distributers like Barnes & Noble, Apple’s iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and Baker & Taylor. I’m still a bit confused re Amazon. As I understand it, you have to sell quite a few books at Smashwords before Amazon will distribute, but you can download to Kindle direct from Smashwords. I’m also investigating the possibility of downloading direct to Amazon.

My next project is to write a sequel to Delroy and the Marog Princess. The whole story is already in my head, waiting for me to make time to write it down!


Melanie K Wood said...

How exciting, Helen! Thank you for sharing the behind-the-scenes...the third story sounds like it's itching to get out! Go for it!

I'm on my way to Smashwords now to download. Great work on going to self-publishing - I wish you and the books all the best! :) Melanie

Helen said...

Thank you, Melanie.