My First Attempt: The Scientist’s Daughter.
So I thought I would tell you about my first attempt at publication. A few years ago, I created a digital illustration that I uploaded to the art site that I use, and also tweeted it on my Twitter and such. It was a picture of a robot, staring at someone off screen, and a pair of hands in the process of placing an eye in the robot’s head.
At that point, it was simply a picture and had no real story behind it as such, but so many people asked me what the story was, that I then wrote a little paragraph for the picture and uploaded that too. People seemed to like it and wanted more and before long, I had drawn a few more pictures and written a few paragraphs for each of them. It quickly developed into a short illustrated tale that was followed by quite a few people online, and then one suggested that I should publish it.
At first I laughed, it was just a silly blurb that I wrote to go with some drawings! But there were a few very persistent voices and eventually they persuaded me to at least have a look into getting it published. A good friend of mine suggested a site called Smashwords, a site dedicated to self publishing E books. It was simple enough to make up an account and so I promptly did so. I read through the sites recommendations and decided, why not? There was nothing to lose in trying this out, and possibly a little to gain. And so it was that I began work on The Scientist’s Daughter.
I took down all of the work I had online, then updated some of the illustrations and also created new ones as the story developed in my mind. I sat for some weeks and rewrote what I had already written and it quickly grew into a more substantial piece of writing. Once I had finished with the rewrite and edit, I looked at exactly how to publish.
You can not simply upload a document to the site and hope it looks good, there is a specific template and some guidelines to follow to create an E book, and some experimenting to get things just right. So I read through the guidelines and set up my document to the way described. It looked great to me! I started to get excited, this looked like a real book! And then I tried to insert the illustrations. This took a little longer as I had to resize them all individually to get them to display correctly in the document. It took a little longer than I thought that particular part should have, but in the end I managed to get it the way I wanted it. Then it was time to look at a cover for it. They say a books cover can draw in or turn away any potential readers, so I thought hard about what illustration to use as the cover. In the end I chose the most creepy illustration as it was my favorite of them all and it looked good once I had added a border, title and my name to it.
When I hit the upload button, I got very excited, and sat staring at the screen for the longest time until I realized something was wrong. The file did not upload and the computer had crashed! But in the end it was a good thing, as I had forgotten to add some minor things to the document and so the failed upload allowed me to add them in. Of course, this taught me that I had to calm down and concentrate. It was annoying, but I didn’t want to upload a substandard document that would immediately turn people away. It was frustrating waiting on the file to upload, but even more frustrating waiting on it being approved for the library.
When uploading, I had to set the price for the book and this was harder than I expected it to be. Too much and no one would buy it, too little and it wouldn’t provide me with much. In the end, I priced it as what I thought I would pay for an E book like mine. What I like about Smashwords, is that it sells your book on many platforms and more than just its own site. While the other sites set the fees and so you makes a little less profit, it still means that your book is on some large, well known shops. Except Amazon, as I think around that time, they had began to push their own self publishing E book market.
When I refreshed the screen for the hundredth time and saw that the book was live, I bounced about like a child that had been told that Santa was coming for dinner. It felt great to see it on the store, sitting there with my name on it, my story within it! But how did I get people to read it? As I said in one of my vlogs, I am a terrible self promoter and while I eagerly linked it out on my normal accounts, I probably could have done more. I did make a small trailer type advert for it from a few of the illustrations, a very short animation of sorts as an advert on one of my Youtube channels. I also linked it out on all the sites I frequented, asking for reviews from those who bought it, but that was about as far as I pushed it.
A few months later I decided to upload it to Amazon too, and managed to get some reviews on it from there. I made some money from it, not a great deal, but receiving anything from its sales always makes me smile. I learned the process of publishing when I set out with The Scientist’s Daughter, and while it was a couple of years ago now, I know what to expect when I finally get to the point of publishing the one I am going to work on for NaNoWriMo.
Anyway, that is how I ended up with a short illustrated book on various E book sites and if you are interested in it, have a look at the video and summary below and click the links. You know I would appreciate a few more sales, all writers do!! (I might be getting a little better at this self promotion thing, what do you think?)
Buy the book on Amazon!
Buy the book on Smashwords!