Far As You Can Publish

Cover by Jenn Reese at Tiger Bright Studios

So I’m dipping my toes into the pond of self-publishing, or independent publishing, or indie writering, or whatever we’re calling it these days. (I call it consignment selling primarily through the systems and controls of the giant, powerful corporation, Amazon.) And I’m doing it with a short story, “Far As You Can Go,” which previously appeared in my chapbook from my friends at Tropism Press, in Gardner Dozois’ Year’s Best Science Fiction (24th Annual Collection), in podcast form at Podcastle, and on various illegal download sites.

Here’s why I’m doing it: Because self-publishing is not going away, and I imagine at some point in the future I’ll be self-publishing novels either out of choice or necessity. Ideally, it’ll be out of choice, and it will be in conjunction with traditional publishing, and I’ll be a happy hybrid author. Or I’ll be self-publishing because traditional publishers will no longer be interested in my books, and self-publishing will then be my only viable option. I hope that situation never arises, of course, but a smart writer prepares for more than one eventuality. In any case, I want to start accumulating self-publishing experience now, with low-stakes projects, so that I know more or less what I’m doing if I need to or want to self-publish higher-stakes projects.

Right now the story is available (with an awesome cover from Jenn Reese’s Tiger Bright Studios, whom I can’t recommend highly enough) on Kobo, Nook, and Kindle. I’m pricing the Kobo version the lowest ($1.00), since Kobo partners with independent bookstores, and I like to encourage readers to shop at independent bookstores whenever possible. As I write this, the Nook and Kindle versions are at the same price ($1.99), but that’s only until Amazon processes the pending price change I made to make the Kindle version the most expensive ($2.99).

I also want to sell through Apple on iTunes, but they’re taking a long time to authorize my vendor account (they say it takes an average of seven days, while the other services did it in a couple of hours or less). So, whenever Apple gets around to that, I’ll make the story available there as well.

Again, I’m doing this as a learning experience, and any money I make is swell, but right now it’s not my primary motivation. If it goes well (meaning I make some money from it and don’t find it to be a colossal pain in my butt), I’ll probably start putting up other previously printed stories. And my main short-term goal is to write a long-ish short story or novella that serves as a sequel to The Boy at the End of the World. I get a lot of email asking when/if there’ll be a sequel, and self-publishing seems like the ideal venue to make that happen.

So, please don’t look at this blog entry as an exhortation to buy my stuff, but rather as me chronicling my first foray into indiehugecopororationconsignmentwritering.



6 Responses to “Far As You Can Publish”

  1. Steve

    I’m curious–what software tool(s) did you use to create and format your ebook?

  2. Greg van Eekhout

    Hi, Steve.

    Being kind of lazy and only marginally technically adept, I used MS-Word to format my document and then converted to epub using each sites’ (Kindle Direct Publishing’s, NOOK Press’s, and Kobo Writing Life’s) online tools. They make it easy with a step-by-step process consisting of just a few clicks. My way is not ideal — I know a guy who hand codes his ebooks and gets better results — but for now it’s good enough for me.

  3. Henry Herz

    Good for you, Greg. As a guy with some indie-pub experience, I suspect you’ll find the most challenging aspect being promotion. That said, your success as a traditionally published author gives you a leg up in that regard. Break a leg!

    • Greg van Eekhout

      Thanks, Henry. This first time out is a can’t-lose proposition, since my main objective is to learn the process. And I’ve already earned enough money for 1.5 lattes!

  4. Joe Nassise

    Good for you, Greg! (And good seeing you at the Phoenix Comicon!) I’ve been dipping my toes in these waters for a couple of years now so feel free to email if I can help out in any way.

    • Greg van Eekhout

      Thanks, Joe! Much appreciated. And it was good seeing you, too!

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