It all started with a Kindle. I opened my Christmas present to find a Kindle from my husband. A Kindle I did not want. You see, I love books. I love the way they feel, the way they smell, the sound they make when they are first opened – all crisp and new. I saw the Oprah show where she first promoted the Kindle a while back, but thus far; I just wasn’t sold on the idea. I want to hold a book in my hands. The idea of sitting by the fireplace and staring at an electronic device to read a book was not appealing. At all. Less than one month later and I had downloaded over 100 books onto my Kindle (many free!). With every download, I felt a twinge of guilt. I was supposed to be filling my bookshelves, not this tiny electronic device! But…I can carry hundreds of books with me at any time. I can read four or five books at once, and not have them stacked precariously on my bedside table. I can switch from book to book in a second, never losing the last page I was on. I can highlight! I can read in the dark. I can read next to my sleeping husband and never wake him turning a page. Sheepishly, I had to admit it, I had become a convert. Quietly, I snuck to the store and bought a purse just for my Kindle. Because I want to take it everywhere I go. And a cover for my Kindle that has a built in light for night reading. So I can read it day or night. Then…two days ago my world was rocked. And I may never be the same. Again – it’s Kindles fault. Or perhaps more precisely – Amazon’s fault! I was browsing casually through Amazon’s latest ebooks, always on the prowl for something to read when I came across a book by Karen McQuestion (I know – funny name). I clicked on “about the author” and began to read a little bit about her. Karen started publishing her own ebooks through Amazon a little over a year ago. Today she has five ebooks on Amazon. In her own words, “Sometimes I still can’t believe the turn my writing life has taken. A year ago I was a failed novelist with years of work on my hard drive, and now I have readers and an income. Life is good.” You can read the full article on A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, by Joe Konrath. I, too, am a writer with a lot of “work on my hard drive”. In fact, I was in the process of marketing a novel and sending queries to agents when I came across this article by McQuestion. Suddenly, the wheels in my head started spinning – as if mad hamsters were in control. I needed to find out more about this epublishing with Amazon! I started reading article after article – finding out that Amazon does offer such a service. You can upload your book and make it available to millions of Kindle readers at no cost to you! Let me stress – this has NO resemblance to the “self-publishing” businesses who print your books – for a price (stay away from those!). The more I read, the more this seemed like not only a viable alternative to the world of traditional publishing, but perhaps preferable! Traditional publishing involves a lot of waiting. Sending queries to agents to ask them to just look at a section of your manuscript. And then waiting. Submitting manuscripts to publishers in the hopes that they will make it through their slush pile. And then waiting. Even if you are accepted for publication, then there are various stages of editing, rewriting, printing, and marketing. More waiting. Eventually, possibly years after you started writing it, your book is in print. That has been the process, and the tradition, for years. With the exception of the writing, very little is actually in the control of the writer and the whole process can be disheartening to say the least. You hear stories of great books that were rejected 26 times, etc. But how many great writers gave up on that 25th rejection and their books never found their way into print? Amazon is, quite literally, changing the world of publication. Now, a writer can write a book, take less than a day to prepare and upload it on Amazon’s site, and their ebook will be “live” and available for purchase within 48 hours. It really is that simple. And there really are no strings attached. There is no cost for any of this! When one of your books sells, Amazon keeps a small percentage of the sale, and the rest gets deposited into your bank account. For the first time in history, not only the writing, but the promotion and sales of a book are also in the hands of the writer! With the advent of the internet and the world of social media, promoting a product has never been easier. So – I am going to try it! This blog will be my journey into the world of epublishing. If you are a writer and thinking about trying to publish your own ebook with Amazon, I encourage you to read along. I will be honest about this whole process – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the weird. Learn from my mistakes, and if I do anything right, please learn from that too! One of my biggest dreams has always been this – to walk into a bookstore, pull a book off of the bookshelf, and see my name on the cover. I have always imagined walking up to someone nearby in the bookstore and, with my book in hand, saying, “Look! This is my book! I wrote it!” My fantasy never goes beyond that pathetic statement, but perhaps I would show the person my picture on the inside of the cover just to verify my identity, or beg them to buy it. Am I now giving up that “fantasy” by venturing into the world of ebooks? Perhaps. But if I had been born twenty years later, my fantasy would have probably been logging into Amazon and seeing one of my books on their site… Join me in this journey. I hope it will be fun for both of us. I submitted my novel yesterday around noon. Amazon provides you with a page to check on the status of your book. After submitting it, I immediately checked on its status and it was defined as “Review” – which meant my book was under review for possible publication. About five hours later, that status (which I probably checked about every fifteen minutes…so pathetic) changed to “Publishing” – which, I am assuming, means that the review process is complete and my book was accepted. A note under “Publishing” tells me “Your book is being published. It will take 24 hours for the book to be available for purchase”. So, by about five o’clock today, my very first ebook, a novel entitled Life is But a Dream: On the Lake (Grace Adams Series), will be published in the world of ebooks and available for purchase. I am sooooo excited! Share my journey with me and let’s see what happens!
Cheryl Shireman is the bestselling author of several novels, including Broken Resolutions, the Life is But a Dream series, and the Cooper Moon series. She is also the author of ten books for toddlers including the eight Let’s Learn About series focusing on different animals and I Love You When: For Girls and I Love You When: For Boys.