Since I feel like insulting someone right off the bat, I’ll start with me: the central self-publishing fool in this post is me, seen in the “fool me once, fool me twice” adage. I’ve published a number of books, so I should already know that the only straight lines in the process are the angled crooked ones. And I already knew that writing and publishing a book are separate and unequal tasks regards marketing a book, but I unworkably squooged those processes together for my latest book.
That’s Sticky Fingers, Confessions of a Marginally Repentant Shoplifter, starring me (well, the criminal high-school version of me). I wrote that book early in the pandemic, so we can agree it’s the product of a diseased mind. Before I ported it to Word, I wrote the book in Scrivener, which has splendid move-this-chapter-here-then-move-it-there tools, along with excellent note-taking and URL research storage and access,
Sticky went through a couple of professional edits, and a dandy cover design, detailed on this WriterUnboxed post. Those measures were expensive, so I decided to format the print version myself, using a snappy Word template downloaded from The Book Designer, again, a process I’d done before. Here’s where Sticky became sticky:
Rather than be exclusive to Amazon, I wanted to go “wide,” meaning broader distribution of the book to other markets. So I had to edit different HTML versions for Amazon and for Draft2Digital, with differing in-book links (Amazon hates when you link out to other retailers), and with slightly different front- and back-matter pages.
I’m no coder, but I can plunk slowly along, which I did, using the free HTML/ebook publishing tools, Calibre and Sigil. Plunk I did, because each of the online and download previewers at Amazon and Draft showed me little, niggling problems, and I do dislike being niggled.
And then I had a puzzling exchange with Amazon, who emailed me to tell me that something about my ISBN info from Bowker wasn’t right, but they couldn’t tell me specifically about it in an email, and that I had to call them instead. Turns out I forgot the subtitle colon in my Bowker version of the title, and had to add it there. Why I had to call Amazon for that remains a mystery.
And after Amazon had long approved of the cover I submitted, my “final” upload of the approved print manuscript with the approved cover didn’t meet their specs. Though it did before. So I had to have it adjusted by the cover designer, again, and it was accepted. My goodness. Something odd is also going on with the IngramSpark print distribution setup too, which I’ve had multiple email exchanges with them about, all over confusion over my various email addresses, nothing to do with the book—hope to hear the resolution today.
The upshot of all this head-scratching is, Sticky Fingers is available for pre-sale now, with fulfillment on July 21, chosen because that would have been my mom’s 100th birthday.
The pre-sale deal is this: if you send me a purchase receipt between now and July 21st, I’ll send you a link to download a free ebook or PDF version of my book, Flowering and Other Stories (which does have one story about teenage shoplifting, which won the National Steinbeck Center’s story contest in 1999). The free download will suggest you subscribe to my newsletter.
If subscribing’s not your order of pizza, just let me know, and I’ll send you the short story book directly. (By the way, that download delivery tool is from StoryOrigin, which has a lot of writer promotional tools, not being fools.)
Stay safe out there—the world seems to be getting weirder and weirder, and not in the good weird way.
Linking for Thinking
The eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life
“The capacity to tolerate minor discomfort is a superpower. It’s shocking to realise how readily we set aside even our greatest ambitions in life, merely to avoid easily tolerable levels of unpleasantness.”
How to Improve Your Happiness, According to Science
“Happiness, experts say, means accepting negative experiences, and having the skills to manage and cope with them, and to use them to make better decisions later.”
Feeling Stuck? Try Improving Your Productivity
“The pursuit of happiness is doomed to failure. One of the most obvious ways joy arises within human beings is when we create something. When we spend time on something and actually finish it, we get a sense of accomplishment and inner satisfaction. A feeling of joy that’s different from lying on the beach.”
The Perks of Being a Hot Mess
“It is a well-studied phenomenon in psychology that if a person is healthy and normal—not a narcissist or a sociopath—she tends to focus more on her worst characteristics than her best.
How To Become More Disciplined In Just Five Minutes Per Day
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”