Going Indie—What I’ve Learned (So Far)—Part 7

English: This is the title screen from the ABC...

I Was LOST…But Am Becoming FOUND…. (Photo credit: Lost, Wikipedia)

I don’t mean to be getting ahead of myself, here, but I just have to say that ERO is getting great reviews by those who have read it. It’s not yet selling huge, because of my restricted ability to promote right now, but those who have read it are contacting myself or my wife to tell them how much they like it—okay, love it. Many are even saying it should be a movie.

How cool is that?

The very fact that readers love ERO enough to say they’d like to see it as a movie is highly complimentary, even humbling. They liked the story enough to want to re-experience it again, in another form of expression!

This book has been rejected from traditional editors multiple times, yet (so far), I’ve heard from handfuls of readers about how stunned, “wowed” and impressed they are with the story, how they never saw the ending coming. Sure, someones out there might not like it, can’t please everyone, but so far, all I’ve heard has been complimentary. And these are people from all walks of life, not just SF, action adventure, or military fiction readers. These people come to me, not the other way around. These are the very readers editors and publishers are supposed to be catering to. Small sample? Does it really matter? Any sample is representative of a greater whole.

It’s a bit weird talking about something I wrote in the third person, but it warms my heart that something I’ve written so touches those who have read it. Heck, my Dad is even promoting the novel where he lives. You just can’t beat that!

To this end, I’d like to share parts of an e-mail from an Internet radio talk show host, Paul Neal Rohrer. He’s given me permission to share this. His e-mail blew me away:

“I just finished ERO. (Body shivers!)

Man, I gotta say…you’ll probably think me nuts to say I felt so close to Cherko…this book should be a FILM!


I will say that it did not start off to be the type of book I would normally read. I kept with it solely because I knew you and though I felt like I was reading the series, LOST…I kept with it saying to myself…this WILL all make sense. Repeating that thought over and over until around page 160…then I was HOOKED! I breathlessly turned each page…I had all of this morning to finish the last 65 pages. Wow. LOVED IT!

Your mind must be a terrible thing to live with! Radical, powerful and relatable.”

Wow, thanks, Paul!

So, what I’ve learned has actually been a reinforcement of what I already knew: just because a major publisher does not take your work does not mean readers won’t like it. I stuck to my guns and found a way to get my work out there. I persevered. And it is being discovered. It may take some time, but it is out there. Again, thank you, readers, for taking a chance on my work.

Okay, here are some more lessons learned:

  1. I created a checklist of items to keep straight when creating e-books and paperbacks. I’ve attached it to the bottom of this post, since it’s a couple pages.
  2. All you can do is what you can do. I’m sure I’ve said this before, and it sounds stupid, but it’s meant to keep you from going nuts with all the “shoulds” everyone throws out there. You’re one guy or gal. You can’t do everything, especially with everything else you’re doing in life besides the writing and publishing. Just do what you can, and always keeping an eye out for new opportunities.
  3. Check out a previous post I did about PR and promotion…while keeping #3, above, in mind.
  4. Apply to conferences and conventions about presenting your journey. By this I mean, if you have something to say about what you’ve learned on your Indie journey. Talk about what you’ve learned…take some ideas from your blog posts. PowerPoint them and present them at a writer’s conference, the library, or anywhere else there might be a platform for something like this. You might think, yeah, but everyone’s already doing that, and while that is true, perhaps in your area it is not so saturated…and if you know people in your writing community, and they like you, they’ll more likely than not be willing to “book” you (punny…) because they know you and are willing to help you out in your career as a writer. But, in any case, conferences are like magazines…they have to “publish” or fill slots for sessions, and there’s always an audience that hasn’t yet heard what you think has already been done before…or your spin on things and personality are decidedly different and refreshing. Don’t you count yourself out…let them tell you so…or more to the case, let them tell you YES! And when you do this, bring your books! Have them out and used as examples! Have fun with it!

Okay, here’s the checklist I’ve created. Feel free to copy and use! It’s not meant as an explanation of all I do, just as a reminder of what I need to do. When you get in to do this stuff, it all becomes (or should become) more readily apparent…but you actually have to be in there getting ready to release your book. Some of this stuff cannot be “taken back,” like assigning ISBNs.

Prepping ms for content formatter (text):

  1. Convert Word manuscript (ms) to:
    • Time New Roman.
    • Only single spaces, no double spaces.
    • Single-spaced lines, no double spaces.
    • E-book only: No more than 4 lines of spaces (returns) at the tops of any pages.
    • For paperback books, make sure all the line returns to chapter starts are the same.
    • E-book only: Add a space after all ellipses (3 and 4 dots), except w/in quotes, parens, punctuation.
    • Convert all dashes to M-dashes (or N-dashes; just be consistent).
    • Check all chapter and section numbers (1, 2, 3…) are correctly numbered.
    • Check all sub-section spaces/#/***; standardize, check spacing, and center.
  2. Spell check—again!!!
  3. Ensure italicized text are properly italicized (including appropriate punctuation within itals).
  4. E-books: can’t have text “left/right-justified-at-bottom-of-page” kinda thing for ebooks, since can’t have more than four lines “entered” down from the top of pages.
  5. Blurbs from other authors.
  6. Add “Also by F. P. Dorchak” list of books to front matter (front of the book info, before the actual story).
  7. Add family members to Notes/dedication?
  8. Add significant other/others to Notes/dedication. Think.
  9. E-books: add websites and social media links to e-books.
  10. Keep paperback clean with just “About” and website (no #8, above).

Submitting manuscript to Smashwords:

Be sure you’re ready to do this, because once you’re done stepping through their upload dialogs, you’re published.

  1. Select all e-book formats.
  2. Assign ISBN! Do so before submitting to Smashwords!
    • Impacts immediately getting into the Premium catalog.
    • Smashwords ISBNs cannot be used elsewhere.
  3. Opt out of Amazon and Nook distribution on Smashwords’ Channel Manager! Only do this to individually upload files to Amazon and Nook, since they pay royalties much quicker than the Smashwords schedule; if you don’t care about that, you can opt in to Amazon and Nook on Smashwords.
  4. Create any free Coupons through Smashwords to give away free copies.

Submitting ms to Amazon

  1. Add self as contributor.
  2. Try to add cover artist.
  3. Try to add content formatter.
  4. Select 35% royalty.
  5. Select price and set other country prices based on US price.
  6. Select Kindle Direct Publishing “Match Book” selection (readers buy a discounted verson of your Kindle book, if they buy the paperback).

Submitting ms to Nook

  1. Get cover graphic less than 2 MB.
  2. Add self as contributor.
  3. Try to add cover artist.
  4. Try to add content formatter.
  5. Nook automatically ties paperback versions to e-versions, but all titling and names, etc., have to be word-for-word, space-for-space perfectly matching. This presents a problem when using CreateSpace (CS), because CS does not like all-capital titles for their book accounts (e.g., ERO). In order to do all caps, you have to add periods between the letters (e.g., E.R.O.). This is not good, because when you release for publication, Amazon.com keeps those damned periods in the title for retail marketing! The actual title on the book remains your “ERO” title, but the displayed online title with your book, and any search engine hits only respond to the broken up title (i.e., E.R.O.), and not the actual title (i.e., ERO). So, effectively, there are two titles out there, and if people don’t know this, or don’t scroll down the Amazon search page, they won’t see the “E.R.O.” version of the book. I have contacted both CS and Nook about this. CS was nice enough to go in and link the two titles to each other, but you might have to actually contact them to get them to do this, by pointing out a loss of sales with the different titles, if people don’t know to scroll down the pages to find the related search of the other title. B&N/Nook also finally link the two formats together, but this took a long time. Be persistent and nice; some of these people you contact simply are not very smart on the whole process, and I ran into contradictory responses from the different people I contacted.

When do CreateSpace copy:

  1. Get paperback ISBN. Once ISBNs are assigned, they cannot be changed.
    • “Custom” ISBNs can have a “faux” imprint name, like “Wailing Loon.”
    • I’m not an expert on these, but in CreateSpace, the custom ISBNs are also divided into those that are oriented toward retailers and those oriented toward libraries. Make sure you select the right set.
    • Get any offered “Expanded Distribution” offerings if cheap.
  2. Titles: see #5, Submitting to Nook, above.
  3. Add faux imprint to:
    • Copyright page.
    • Spine/cover.
    • Anywhere else needed.
  4. Need any artwork on the interior of the book, the front or back matter?
  5. Add the following to the back matter (rear of the book, after the story): About the Author, website, books/anthologies/etc., again list content formatter and cover artist names and websites.
  6. Cover photo?
  7. Send e-mails/thank you cards to thank contributors, and if they helped enough to justify, free coupons for e-book or actual (signed!) paperbacks.

About fpdorchak

Speculative and paranormal fiction author. Please check out my website: https://www.fpdorchak.com/. Thank you for stopping by!
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41 Responses to Going Indie—What I’ve Learned (So Far)—Part 7

  1. Frank,

    I loved this post. Holding true to your beliefs and following through with what you know is right is an admirable trait.

    Back in the day there was a unknown writer of a screenplay, although he was being pushed to sell it and let someone else star in it, he held fast to his belief that he was the guy for the part. The movie…ROCKY. Enough said.

  2. I will be reading the book, but looking forward to the movie as well! 🙂

    • fpdorchak says:

      Thanks, Mandy, and hope you enjoy it! I kinda miss working on it, now that it’s released! Same thing for The Uninvited! I KNEW that would happen….

      EVER so much fun…. ;-]

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  4. Congrats on the great reviews! You may have to change your mind about writing screenplays again! And wonderful check list. I just realize I have so many flash fiction pieces that I should consider self publish those on line. Duh! No market anywhere else for them.

    • fpdorchak says:

      Hey, Inky! Of course you should! I’m eventually looking to do that with all my better short stories, too. But, maaaan, writing screenplays? I dunnooooo, my friend, i”m still twitching…!

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  6. rohreringsuccess says:

    Hey Frank!
    Cool to see my critique is of use. Lon was right about Sylvester Stallone. In fact ROCKY is often touted by major writers as “The perfect script”. Another writer to whom I am eternally grateful to, is local but world renowned screenwriter, Rick Ramage. (STIGMATA, THE PROPOSITION, THE PEACEMAKERS, ETC.) See? You know his work, but probably not his name! Stick with it. We will all eventually have a day in the sun.

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