Platforms – Part 2 of 2
by Theresa Snyder
Audio Creation Exchange (ACX) is the audio book arm of Amazon. They seem to be “the only kid on the block.” Everyone uses them because they make it so darn easy. When you are the writer, formatter, publisher and marketer, it is good to take it easy when you can.
With this site, you set up an account and post a few manuscript pages you think would give a good example of the voice you would like to hear read your work. You can request male or female, kind of accent, character voices, and so forth.
ACX has a stable of narrators. If one or more have interest in your piece, they do a recording of it and send to you. You listen and choose. The lovely thing about this is that once you make your decision and have a 4×4 cover design made, you are out of the picture. The narrator uploads his or her work and posts it for you.
The royalties stay with you. You can pay the narrator in full for his time, or you can share royalties and pay nothing up front; just share the sales when they come through. It has been seamless for me.
The younger generation often uses public transportation. They listen to podcasts and other types of broadcasts on their devices. This is a good way to get them on board with my work.
Now, to formatting. Let’s get the easy ones out of the way first.
There is a program called Scrivner, a writing program written by someone who writes books. It is available online at Literature and Latte. Once you use it, you will never use Word again.
Scrivner is inexpensive and a treasure for writers worldwide. Buy it and don’t be afraid of it. Watch the tutorial and keep the online manual handy.
I swear Scrivner could cook you breakfast if you knew how to program it. What it can do readily for you is format in MOBI (for Amazon), in ePub and Word (for Google Play) and a number of other formats, such as PDF.
As I noted in a previous column, CreateSpace is a stroll through the park. You pick a size for your book, you download that template, and you fill it with your book.
At first, I cleared out all the formatting and then reformatted it in the template. I found out I did not have to do that, provided I was careful. The template is a Word document. If you turn on the formatting so you can see it, you will be able to place your document, neat as a pin. I even made an auto table of contents for my books, so I didn’t have to do it manually.
Once you have uploaded CreateSpace, it gives you a great online page-by-page preview of your book. I not only look at that, and sometimes spot a mistake, but I also order a paper proof and review it before I actually hit the “go” button. I find I catch more of the minor mistakes when I look at the work in hard copy.
Now to the tough formatting. I found Smashwords’ formatting instructions daunting. The downloaded manual is huge and starts by suggesting, “If you think this is too much, here is a list of folks who will format for you.”
After reading the first 20 pages of their approximately 70-page manual, I opted to have eLaunch format my book for a flat fee of approximately $40 (and eLaunch guarantees you will get into Smashwords’ Premium Catalog, which is where you want to be).
One last note on posting your book. Each of the platforms asks if you want to show 20 percent of your book for review by the potential buyer. Do this, but at the same time be aware that if your book is a novella with a title page, dedication, table of contents and maybe a prologue, this may be all the possible buyer will see.
I suggest you consider posting 1,000 words on your blog, along with the link to the book. Then, in addition to promoting the link to the actual “buy” page with a teaser, you can also have a second blurb of about 1,000 words on your blog, with a juicy piece to tantalize and tempt.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading and wish you the best of luck. To wish good luck in theater, performers are told to “break a leg.” I think in writing we should say, “Rip up the page!”
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VoiceCatcher thanks Theresa Snyder for contributing her column
on self-publishing to the community.
Theresa, we appreciate your vast knowledge, and your
willingness to share your resources and expertise so generously.
Theresa Snyder is a multi-genre writer with an internationally read blog. She grew up on a diet of black-and-white, sci-fi films like Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still. She is a voracious reader and her character-driven writing is influenced by the early works of Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard. This is the eighth and final installment of her column for VoiceCatcher on self-publishing, The Knotty and Nice of Indie Publishing.