First up, I needed something to publish:
I've had some short stories floating around, pieces I've gotten good feedback on, but pieces without secure homes because they're just odd and hard to place. I chose two: "Hill Witch" and "Litter." They don't share a genre (one is dark fantasy the other post-apocalyptic science fiction), but they share a theme: the consequences of accepting help from others. I also believe in the idea that things you like go together because they're yours, like odd soft furnishings. So these are my throw-pillow stories!
Then, I needed to decide which platform to use:
There are dozens out there, but I decided to go with the big guns (you know, the one that starts with A and ends with mazon). Their KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) platform walks you through the whole process.
Next, I had to set up my account and deal with the tax thing:
Of utmost importance, I had to get a cover made:
There are people out there who make covers for self-publishing writers; they are easy enough to find on the internet. But I wanted to give work (and money) to a creative person I know, or someone I could get to know. Luckily, a friend of a friend is an artist and designs covers, so I sent him the stories and my ideas, along with a list of themes and images in the stories. He sent back this awesome cover. The contrast is especially striking and looks great even when the cover is a thumbnail--something to keep in mind when self-pubbing!
Then I just had to follow the steps:
The site talked me through the businessy stuff (titles, subtitles, categories, descriptions, keywords, and--very important--royalties). It also allows the user to see what the book will look like on a Kindle. This is a vital step because it's where you see all the boo-boos. I fixed and re-loaded the file half a dozen times before I thought it was right. (And even then I was wrong! Please, don't be like me and do this late at night and in a hurry because you promised to discuss it with your students the next day!)
Finally, you click "publish":
And then the next night, as you are listening to a publishing-industry professional explain the ebook business to your students, it dawns on you that you're a total idiot and used the word "Bibliography" instead of "Biography" on the last page of your manuscript. (Because you're an academic and used to the last page of nearly everything containing a list of works cited!) So then you go home, click "unpublish," fix the damn thing, "click "publish" again, and then turn your attention to PR. And that's where things get...uncomfortable.
[to be continued in the next post]