The Mail I Get

I received this from an aspiring writer:

Sorry, but I just got taken at PublishAmerica because I was stupid and then I read your blog or whatever they call it. Would you please advise me how you got into publishing your books if not indie? Your publisher is Penguin and that's a high profile publisher but what about us little guys/girls who can't get their foot in the door. I wish you would mentor people because I have almost given up on being published, well I did have something in Playgirl about twelve years ago but that doesn't count because it was on a dare from a friend. My favorite Mr. Monk book is Mr. Monk in Outer Space if that helps grease the palm. Thank and have a great day. Carolyn

It's insanely easy now…so easy, that I have no sympathy for anyone who gets taken by obvious scams like PublishAmerica. 

You can get your book onto Amazon and the Kindle — worldwide! —and onto Barnes & Noble and the Nook for free. Yes, for free.  So besides your professionally copyedited manuscript, here is what you need:

1. A cover for your book. You can design one yourself, have a friend do it, or go to any number of talented cover designers out there.

2. Your book, in Word format, formatted into .prc and .epub formats (those are the files used by the Kindle and the Nook) and PDF (the file used for the trade paperbacks published for FREE by CreateSpace and Lulu). You should leave the formatting of your books to the experts or you'll regret it later.

3. Everything you need to know about uploading your books to Amazon you can find here. Everything you need to know about uploading your books to B&N you can find here 

4. Or you can skip steps 2&3 and go to, which will do all of that for you in exchange for a percentage of your sales. I don't recommend that, however, since their automated formatting often makes your book look funky and ultimately that costs you sales. You will, however, need to use Smashwords to get onto the Kobo, Sony, and iPad ebook platforms…and for that, you will need a specially formatted Word file, from a professional formatter, that will cut down on the number of formatting errors Smashwords would otherwise create.

5. To create a trade paperback edition of your book, I would use CreateSpace,a print-on-demand service owned by Amazon. It will cost you nothing…CreateSpace takes their cut from each sale you make. If you let your cover artist and your formatter know that you also want to do a paperback edition, they can give you the special PDF files of the cover and the interior that you will need to upload to CreateSpace to do that.

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