Source: Sherman Publications

Self-publishing on the Internet
‘Introduction to ePublishing,’ 7-8:30 p.m., Oct. 3, Brandon Twp. Library, 304 South St., Ortonville.

by Susan Bromley

September 25, 2013

Brandon Twp.- In the digital age, anyone can be a published writer, with their work instantly accessible to everyone.

“You don’t need a big company behind you to be heard,” said Dan Hutchins, a digital services librarian. “I think what is exciting to me is the medium is the message. If you were to publish something the old-fashioned way, with a print run or print on demand, it’s a long process and you would spend money to get it accomplished. With self-publishing, not only does it not cost anything, but it is instantly global. Once published, people can print an infinite amount of copies and can reach anyone else instantly.”

Hutchins will present “Introduction to ePublishing,” from 7-8:30 p.m., Oct. 3, at the library, 304 South St., Ortonville.

The program is free and in it, Hutchins will guide participants in how to format their literary creations using Amazon Kindle Direct and Smashwords.

Hutchins has researched both as he helped his mother-in-law to digitally self-publish several romance short stories she wrote that were published in women’s magazines in the 1970s. From this experience, he compiled information he gath-ered and made it into a Powerpoint presentation.

“With any creative process, the hard part is coming up with the actual product,” noted Hutchins. “You have to have something special and unique. That’s not anything that can be taught. After that, it’s really just a matter of getting what you have formatted correctly—that’s the trick to getting published online.”

One of the most important keys to being a successful published author, he adds, is good editing. While you may have read your work over and over again, there is no substitute for a second set of eyes proofreading your material, or even multiple proofreaders.

Also crucial to success is having a professional cover, because despite the saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover,’ the truth is, books often are judged by their covers.

“The cover is very important, because that is what catches people’s eyes,” Hutchins said. “You need to get someone who makes covers professionally.”

A graphic artist, he said, can make a cover inexpensively—he commissioned a book cover for just $25. A professional will ensure the cover looks good in full size and in color, as well as a thumbnail and in black and white.

After thorough editing, formatting, and getting a great cover, you should be ready to go.

Hutchins will explain in his presentation details such as the current royalty rates for authors using Amazon or Smashwords, as well as International Standard Book Numbers, various online services, and the importance of marketing your book.

“Most people need to realize that for 99.9 percent of people, this will be a hobby and you won’t make any money, but having said that, you never know. If you have something to say, why not take your chances and see if it inspires people?”

For more information, call the library at 248-627-1461.