My poetry collection officially became available to the public yesterday which is at once incredibly exciting and superbly overwhelming. Writing, selecting, editing, and organizing the poetry wasn't enough. Books require front matter (unique for each distributor) and quality covers, not to mention formatting for each individual distributor.
Formatting, if done attentively and meticulously did not actually turn out to be that difficult. Granted, I'm more comfortable with basic computer usage than many people out there, but Smashwords has a very helpful and free guide which can assist anyone with Microsoft Word to format their work appropriately. From there, following the basic Kindle Direct Publishing guidelines to create an HTML file took me less than 5 minutes!
Now, my brand new collection of poetry is available for purchase both on Smashwords and on Amazon! Both sites also offer unique pages for each author, which can link to a blog, Twitter account, and Facebook page, while also providing a consolidated list of books published by that author on that service. On both sites, readers are encouraged to review books, providing greater insight into the work for potential readers and the authors themselves.
All in all, though the process is laborious and painstaking – and as an independent author, one is left on the hook for every decision, usually without even a sounding board – it was more intimidating than complex an experience. One thing I chose to do, which was also surprisingly easy, was offer a method of purchasing my book without having an Amazon or Smashwords account. I personalized Paypal's "Buy Now" button, offering a PDF version of my novel directly through my blog, with an absolutely safe purchasing option! Now, on to marketing and spreading the word...
One of the most significant differences between traditional and independent publishing is the growth model of sales. In traditional publishing, so much work is done before the release, that sales are expected to be greatest within a few weeks of the release. For independent publishing (especially of a first book), however, sales of a quality book are expected to start off slow and gradually progress through word of mouth.
Obviously, I have not reached that point, as I am still just starting to spread the word that this collection is available. So, please consider helping me out by reading (snag a FREE copy here!), leaving a review, liking it on Facebook, Tweeting, and the like. The collection offers something for everyone, so I sincerely hope you won't be disappointed!