Wednesday, June 12, 2013

#WeeklyWriterlyWednesday - John H. Carroll on Self-Publishing #PubTip

Welcome to WWW where every week a guest will offer some insight into the world of writing and publishing. 

Today John H. Carroll, self-published author of over 20 books, is here to share some tips he's learned along the way.

*These words were originally posted on his blog last year.


Publishing is fun and easy

Easy compared to spending years trying to get agents and publishers to realize how brilliant you are.
This is a list of all the actions I do when I publish my ebooks.  Other authors will do it differently, but hopefully this will give you insight in to what an author goes through in this new publishing world.
Before you publish a book, it's helpful to write it . . . just sayin'.  After that, I recommend editing it, then editing it again, having others edit it, setting it aside for a couple of months, then edit again a couple more times.  There's a good chance you'll still miss a thing or two, but the important part is that you polish it and publish a high quality product.  You'll also want a cover.  If you can afford a professional or semi-professional one, that's good.  Otherwise you can make your own with Photoshop, GIMP or some other editing software.
At the end of all my stories, I add authors notes with a brief description of me.  In it, I also add links to my blog, twitter, facebook and goodreads pages.  Then I add short descriptions to my other stories.  I have different copies of the author's notes for each store with links to that store.  In other words, I don't add Smashwords links to Amazon publications or Amazon links to Barnes & Noble publications.


I write using Microsoft Word, which makes the formatting easy for me.  In addition, I write fantasy and don't have a lot of pictures, other things that make it easier.
There are the places I publish my ebooks.  Others exist and you can look them up.
1. Smashwords.  I recommend using the Smashwords Style Guide to format your word document.  In fact, it's vital if you want to publish through them.

2.  Amazon.  I make a copy of the Word Document that I used for Smashwords.  Then I add page breaks after the title page, copyright page and chapters.  After that, I save it as a filtered web document and then convert it using mobipocket.  Here is a more specific guide:
3. Kobo now has self-publishing platform and it's become one of my favorites. With Kobo, I transform your word document into html by saving it as a filtered web document. Then I use calibre to transform it into an epub. You can find more info here:

4.  B&N has a Smashwords version of my novels, but you can publish directly with them if you like.  With B&N, you just use the word document used for the others with the exception of specific author's notes and any publishing info.  You can find more info here:

Print books

5.  Createspace is my favorite for print on Demand Books.  I only publish my novels in print, not my short stories.  Createspace is owned by Amazon and has been a dream to work with.  I make all of my covers to fit their guidelines, with a spine and a back cover.

5a.  Createspace's biggest competitor is Lightning Source, and many of my peers use their service.

5b.  Lulu is the third company that does print on demand books.  I'm not certain how good their service is.


6.  Another lesser known place to publish is Scribd.  You can sell books in PDF form.  It's fairly limited and I haven't had any sales there, but there's nothing wrong with increasing your exposure as much as possible.  As of this writing, the site is extremely slow.  You'll need to insert your cover as the fist page of the submission instead of adding it seperately.  Also, I wasn't able to get a table of contents to work, though I don't know if it's just me or if it's the way they do things.
7.  There is also a site called Wattpad.  They don't have a way for you to sale books as far as I know, but this is an excellent place to publish free books.  It's also a good way to get input on your writing, especially if you're willing to join groups and return the favor with other writers.  They only accept uploads in .txt, so you'll lose most of your formatting.  Links and tables of contents won't work. 
8. There is also a site called Obooko where you can put free books as well.  In it, you give the readers the right to print out pdf documents for personal use.  You can also supply .mobi (Kindle) and epub (everything else) for people to read on ereaders.
Note:  All of these sites enable you to retain your worldwide copyrights.  You are only giving them the right to distribute or sell for you.  None of them prevent you from distributing elsewhere.

Other opportunities

There are other sites out there where it's possible to publish ebooks.  Look very carefully at there terms and make certain that they don't have any sort of restrictions preventing you from publishing elsewhere, or exclusivity clauses.  Publishing your books is an endeavor where you truly want to read the fine print on everything.  I recommend hiring a contract lawyer if you're not confident about what you're agreeing to.
I don't publish to Google Documents because they have been known to reduce the price on all books, which means Amazon and the rest are going to price match.  This can really mess with your royalties.
Whatever your decisions, don't expect to hit it big right away.  Being a self-published author is a LOT of hard work.  Not only do you need to write quality books, you have to market them.  You can find some marketing tips here on my blog, but those are only a start.
All my best and good luck. :)

John H. Carroll


Book 1 of the Wyvern Trilogy:

Pelya Jornin rides away from Dralin, never to return.  
Nightmares travel with her, haunting the lonely roads that threaten to drive her mad.  The dangers within her own mind outweigh the perils of traveling alone.

The Blue Wyverns are a mercenary group dedicated to providing safe haven to any woman who arrives at their door.  For centuries, they have grown and their power now extends throughout the Kingdom of Eddland and into bordering countries.  They protect the roads and merchants of the countries with waypoints and well-trained companies of women soldiers.

It is Pelya’s intention to join the Blue Wyverns.  However, things are not as they should be.  Rather than being welcomed, Pelya is regarded with suspicion and contempt.  The Recruit Program is unwelcoming and in disarray.

Pelya befriends other young women who also look to escape hidden pasts.  Rather than admiring her experience and knowledge, they find her to be reckless in her actions.  Pelya draws into herself, fearing loneliness even in the midst of company.

Will Pelya’s mind conquer battles that cannot be fought with a sword?  Can she escape the eyes that haunt her sleep?  Will her new friends discover the secrets of her past?  Who will turn out to be a true friend and who has deception in their heart?  Intrigue and danger surround Pelya as she learns the history of the Blue Wyverns.  Will the beginning of her new life bring about the end?

The Wyvern Trilogy is a swords-and-sorcery fantasy series following the life of Pelya Jornin as she begins her life away from the city of Dralin.

Purchase Links:


John H. Carroll was the youngest of seven children and was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1970 where he was kept in a dresser drawer with the clean socks.  Luckily, he wasn’t kept with the dirty socks or else he might have grown up to become slightly warped.

As a child, John spent most of his time wandering through the Mojave Desert in an attempt to avoid people.  He would stare at the sky, imagining what it would be like to explore different worlds.  One of his favorite memories is watching his dad build the fuselage of Evel Kneivel’s skycycle in their garage.  One of his least favorite moments was watching that skycycle fall into the Snake River.  (Not his dad’s fault and he has documentation to prove it, so nyah)

As a teenager, John spent most of his time driving wherever he could in an attempt to avoid people.  He would stare at the road, imagining what it would be like to explore different worlds.  He was the captain of the chess team, lettered in golf and band while in high school, and wasn’t beaten up anywhere near as much as one might imagine.

As an adult, John spends most of his time staring at a computer screen in an attempt to avoid people.  He stares at the monitor for hours, imagining what it would be like to explore different worlds.  He has been married to his wonderful wife for sixteen years and they have three obnoxio . . . wonderful children who always behave . . . when they’re asleep.

Emo bunny minions surround John at most times.  He is their imaginary friend and they look to him for guidance.  At one point, they took over the world.  No one noticed because they left everything exactly as it was.  They gave the world back after a week because it was depressing.

       The Willden Trilogy is his first endeavor into the field of writing.  Other series and standalone works will be forthcoming.  In addition, John has written a number of short stories that can be found at most eBook sites.  He writes in the evenings and weekends whenever possible.  Regrettably, the family mentioned in a previous paragraph desires food and shelter, requiring the author to possess a full time job until his writing makes him rich.
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