Desert of Man

Writing. Culture. Politics. Wandering.

The Burning Memory Publishing Experiment

I had originally not planned to take this route, but in light of bumping against a few walls I decided it would not hurt to engage in a practical experiment. Burning Memory is a short story setting, ideal for what any random Mad Scientist would call a controlled experiment.

My Dear Inner Mad Scientist

As such, I got to work, yesterday morning. Today is a day later, and it’s well in the evening. I’m still awake. Excited, frustrated, intrigued as well as happy and a bit hazy. I now have estuffs on the internet, a very tired brain and a few tough lessons behind me (yes, and several ones still to go).

Amazon KDP.
Smooth sailing, all the way. From registering via uploading to automatic conversion and further tweaking of required administrative details. Well, almost all the way. I do not know how (yet), but there is a glitch for the marketplace price listing. As opposed to every other marketplace, that one decides to triple the price no matter how I try to calm it down – depending apparently on where you visit the page from. Wierd. If that’s VAT, oh boy. But we’ll figure it out. Pointers are obviously more than welcome.

A failure. I began with trying things out at Smashwords, largely because of its reputation. Several days of glitches resulting in zero uploads left that door closed. Support was very helpful, but as some other folks mentioned on twitter something was glitchy in the backend. No, that would not have been my choice of words either, but it is sufficiently descriptive for the context. A shame. Smashwords seems so simple and straightforward, I guess keeping it simple requires a complex machine underneath.

One other thought, Smashwords can ill afford to become a niche, in the absence of push and pull trends (and infrastructure). It would be a good idea to look at Amazon buying Goodreads, and contemplate the long term considerations.

That was a fight. Insane. Lulu has so much emphasis on secondary services (I even get impressions of staff or friends of running services as users from the forum), that there are very specific holes in what their information covers. Interesting to observe is the myriad of people reporting to bump against exactly those issues. Granted, it can be figured out, but that takes quite a bit of time if you do not have the insights they have ensured to be required. Suffice to say that one has to be really careful with date formats and the epub 1.1 baseline specs. Validating a file will not show you where the issues are. I only found out by grabbing a free book and comparing sources. Line by line.

At least I managed to avoid the, eh, accidental hints for tutorials and advice which are actually commercial tutorials which fill in the exact holes Lulu leaves out of its documentation.

Lulu in the trenches …

Yeah, that was the simplest route to get to the iBookstore, Barnes & Noble for the Nook and the sweet home of the Kobo elsewhere. To be blunt, it was the simplest of all, and the quickest. It’s like a case of hit buttons, fire, forget – watch email arrive with results of impact. Remarkable.

Hooking up the publishing with Goodreads was easy as well, something that seems to provide some interesting possibilities. I only really wish one could hook up WordPress with a Goodreads Author blog. I’m kinda fond of buttons that you hit once but which fire all at the same time. It really makes sense.

All in all, a few interesting days. Leaving me a little wiser, a lot more tired, and still extremely curious and eager to fill in the existing blanks. And no, before you ask, I haven’t sold a single book 🙂 To be honest, right now that’s fine. There is still work to be done, mysteries to explore and beautiful epubs to rescue from themselves. But that’ll be another day.

Except that I can’t fall asleep.

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