Travel Secrets: Book One – Rio de Janeiro is now available on Amazon and on IngramSpark (to be released July 31st). But getting here was not easy. Leaving the most arduous task aside (the actual writing of a novel/trilogy), I wanted to say a few words about self-publishing in general.
Learning the ropes is like learning another profession. After agonizing what publishing platform to choose (Amazon KDP with or without Kindle Unlimited, IngramSpark, Barnes and Noble, Draft2digital, etc.), an author has to decipher how to publish in the chosen platform.
I decided to publish on Amazon KDP (and not on their older platform, CreateSpace, which is another option. This was after careful research and comparison made by other bloggers). I also chose to be a part of Kindle Unlimited, which means my eBook is exclusive to them for the moment.
When I began working with Amazon KDP, I only saw their Kindle Create tool and I’ve worked with it, but it has many limitations. I found that major changes in my Word document necessitated starting afresh, which was exasperating. After a while, I suddenly discovered that Amazon also offers a Kindle add-on tool for Word itself. And that tool is awesome! It let me configure the document precisely like a book should look, it let me correct mistakes along the way without having to start over every time, and at the end, it let me see the book just as it will look on a Kindle, iPad, or cell phone. Travel Secrets was thus published in May 2018.
Today, I have finally finished another arduous process of publishing a print version of Travel Secrets on IngramSpark. They are supposed to be the biggest publishers on earth, with the ability to reach global markets, libraries, and Barnes and Noble, which  I definitely wanted. I was going to enable returns on my novel, which is supposed to encourage bookstores to order your book since they can return unsold copies. I feel very fortunate to have learnt in time that that’s a terrible idea that leads to gluttonous purchases and returns of dilapidated copies that can bankrupt an author, so I did not enable returns on purchases. Still, once the book is available on Ingram, I can try to interest local, independent bookstores in it, and even Barnes and Noble themselves.
A few tid bits to make your life easier while self-publishing:

  • Find a professional cover artist who’s good, affordable, and patient. We went back and forth so many times, designing the cover for Amazon, Ingram, the eBook, and banners for Facebook, Twitter, and this website. No one is more patient or more affordable than Dawn Grimes!
  • Get the latest version of Word or pay $10 a month for a subscription to Word.
  • Once the book is written and you start getting the file ready for publication, start by choosing the aspect ratio (the size of the print book), then choose the font and size of font. Even with the Kindle add-in tool I sometimes found it difficult to choose my own font for book title, chapter headers, etc. (I suppose that the heading you’ll see on top have their own automatic font). I would deal with that stuff first.
  • If you have bullet points in your text, that and your table of contents are treated differently by the program. One little mistake in one of them was very difficult to later correct, so I would look at that first.

Good luck on your self-publishing saga. Remember to enjoy yourself, too. We writers now possess the kind of power never before experienced by authors at any point in history, and that is absolutely amazing! I hope you also understand that the man to thank for giving us this power is none other than Jeff Bezos himself for forever changing how we read – and publish.
Travel Secrets: Book One – Rio de Janeiro –