I have finally managed to get a Kindle version of Peacekeeper onto Amazon, for sale only outside the US, Canada, and their territories.
Can I do that while my publisher is selling an e-book version? Yes, I can, as long as I can specify my eBook version isn’t sold inside the US or Canada (and their territories—don’t forget about places like the Phillipines, etc.) Roc/Penguin sells both paperback and eBook forms of my books in those territories, but this left english readers in other parts of the world without an eBook version. I got complaints on this web site and I promised those readers I’d figure out a way to get an eBook version sold in their country. No one, least of all me, knew it would take this long. My apologies.
The Kindle version has been on the UK Amazon website since mid-May, and the version for Kobo will soon be available. If you’re outside North America and you find it’s not available for your specific country, send me a message via this web site.
If you’re an author published by a traditional publisher, particularly before 2008, then you’re probably in the same situation as I am. Some readers outside the US can buy your books in eBook form, some can’t. If you want to follow my path, I’ll outline the steps and what I learned:
- Before I started this, I bought 25 ISBNs from Bowker. I had also created a company (Cajun Coyote Media) and registered its trade name, so I connected those ISBNs to that company. I figured if I was going to learn how to publish myself, I might as well be able to publish books for other authors. If you’re also considering self-publishing, take a moment to think through your long-term business plan.
- I hired a copyeditor to incorporate all the hand-written changes (on manuscripts and galleys) into my original manuscript. Yes, even in 2007, everything was done on paper. If you’re wondering why I didn’t use the Roc/Penguin eBook directly, I consider it unethical and illegal to break the DRM on it and use the work of their editors and copyeditors for my own gain.
- I did a last editing pass, reformatted the MS Word version of the manuscript, put it into InDesign, then generated an epub version to load to Amazon. Wow—the way I said that, it sounds so easy! It wasn’t; this is where you can expect a hefty learning curve to take up much of your time. Why didn’t I just try to load the Word doc straight to Amazon? Because I wanted the option to create more than just the Amazon-proprietary-MOBI-like format. I also wanted more control over the appearance and fonts than one has with MS Word conversion tools (provided by Amazon, Smashwords, etc.). This is where I learned that making an eBook isn’t difficult, but making an eBook that looks good takes time and testing. Of course, I’m fussy about fonts. I also have to consider those darn quotes in front of the chapters (Roc/Penguin must have used an automated conversion, because the first quote in their Peacekeeper eBook looks horrendous—the word “link” must have triggered something strange).
- I had to create a new book cover or license the old artwork myself. Since I love to dabble in Photoshop and Poser, I did it myself. See the video, below, if you’re interested in the design decisions behind the new cover (shown to left).
- Using the Kindle Direct Publishing platform wasn’t difficult, but I have to warn you about changing your mind early in the process. It had taken about 2 days for my book to appear on the U.K. site, when I realized I had priced it wrong (I couldn’t find my notes when I was inputting the price, so I wagged it). I wanted to lower the price, so I went back into the KDP interface and changed it. Contrary to what people tell you about the US KDP process, this made my eBook unavailable for two and a half days. So make sure to budget extra time; the US Amazon processing times may not be indicative of the processing times outside the US.
If you have questions regarding the process I went through, send them to me via this website email. Depending upon the question, I might answer in private or on a web posting. Finally, if you’re interested in how I designed the cover, here’s the YouTube presentation: