Self-publishing: the publishing platforms
In a perfect world
Take your file, upload it on xzy and voilà, your book is published. Maybe one day I will also describe the process of putting my book out there in these terms, but the reality for a beginner is a little different, and, I am afraid, more frustrating.
Each platform has its own specificities and with each one of them, I encountered some problems, which made the uploading more or less complicated.
Up to now, the worse was B&N, where I am not even able to set up a vendor account as the platform insists that German VAT numbers have 9 digits, while mine has 10. It also does not accept my phone number…After writing three e-mails to the support, I still have not got a reply solving the problem.
The D2D, a congregator, complained that my file had a short paragraph listing the websites where to buy the book. They did not like that competitors were mentioned there, thus I had to change the text in the word file, convert it again and upload it.
Apple does not like that my pen name is not formed by name and surname, thus I had to exclude this webshop.
IngramSpark did not like the pdf because the fonts were not embedded (I still have to understand exactly what that means…) and did not accept the cover. I had to contact the designer again and request another cover format.
I must say that Amazon had the smoothest process so far, but I wonder if I made a mistake somewhere, which I did not see. It was also the only one which run a spelling check on the file and came back with a few mistakes, because my novel contains some Chinese words in pinyin. As a matter of fact, many more than those Amazon found, so I do wonder how effective their check is.
Converting the file
Converting my document was also a source of work and frustration. Using the conversion service offered by the publishing platforms was not working, due to the Chinese characters. I had to first convert the file in the right format and make sure that the characters were correctly displayed. Only then I could upload the file on the publishing platforms. It took me several tries and hours to find out how to convert the file correctly, and in the process, I had to change the font of the book. Creating the index with links for the e-book was also a challenge requiring some experiments.
It has now been a few weeks I went through this process and the book is now uploaded on all my chosen platforms, except B&N and ready for pre-orders!
There is a certain feeling of satisfaction now, but the best thing is to know that publishing my next book will be much easier! Learn by doing is definitively a good way to go.
You can find more information here: Returning East