Saturday, June 28, 2008

IWW Author Is Kindle'ized

BEWITCHED, BEDAZZLED, and BEJEWELED: A Collection of Facts and Folklore About Gems and Jewelry, by Sandra Smith is now available on Kindle via Amazon.

Sandra writes, "I thought I'd share the experience from an author's point of view: It is quite an easy process. Just log on to Amazon, click on publish your book to Kindle, and follow the instructions. They provided detailed step-by-step instructions which I printed out in advance, but I think I could have followed the simple on-screen instructions without the printout. They accept manuscript in html, pdf, or plain text.

"I already had an Amazon account -- hey, I'm a reader as well as writer -- so that part was no problem. If the manuscript sells, income will be deposited directly into my bank account. I hesitated a moment about providing the bank account number, but it is a secure site, I can monitor sales/payments daily if I want, and Amazon already has my credit card number, etc.

BBB is a compilation of many of the articles I've written over the years about gems, minerals, and jewelry. Most of the articles have been published multiple times, either on the Internet or in print publications.

Several years ago, I had an arrangement with an independent publisher to collaborate on a gem and mineral handbook, based on my articles.

He'd published several of my articles on his website and liked the way I wrote. As a gem/jewelry collector, he had tons of fabulous pictures, so he could illustrate my text. He had a number of related books by others on his website, so he already had the setup for selling. It had the potential of being a good deal for both of us.

Unfortunately, he developed cancer before we completed our arrangement.

I had issues of my own and never had the time/energy to find someone else willing to provide photos or to work out another deal, and just let the mss gather virtual dust.

I don't believe I have anything to lose by publishing BBB on Kindle, because without photos, it just wasn't publishable otherwise. I still need to find a public domain graphic that I can use for the "cover."

I don't count this as a true publishing yahoo because as near as I can tell, Amazon will let just about anyone upload just about anything. There is no editorial process, no approval process, nothing that monitors the quality of the writing that I've discovered. It's essentially electronic self-publishing. I did think long and hard about putting my mss somewhere with no quality control, and about exposing my name and my writing in that kind of situation. I went ahead with it because I'm doing very little non-fiction now, and using a pen name for fiction. It's a way of testing the waters.

Although Amazon/Kindle offers no editing, nearly early every chapter of BBB was critiqued as an individual article back in the days when I was in the non-fiction workshop. And all but two articles were previously published, so they've been through an editorial process. I did some rewriting to blend what had been 32 stand-alone articles to remove repetition, etc., as well as write an introduction, but had 3-4 people read the complete mss after that for continuity. So on the whole, I believe there was enough quality control involved from side to allow me to present it to the public.

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