Publishing my first book?-Can we call it a “soft opening?”

For more than a year I’ve been writing and editing this first book in my Illusions Series. During the beta reading and editing of this first book, I wrote the second. And then I read somewhere that it is a good idea to have a “book magnet”–a smaller work that you give for free. So, I took some time out and wrote a novella. I also began the third book. (This means there are four books in this series, three full length, one novella. My goal is to have all four up before the end of the year.)

Finally it’s time to begin to publish them. My husband spent the last month, between his own word, to format the first–The Secrets We Keep, and we uploaded it to Amazon this weekend. I was so excited! I announced it on my Insta. I put it up on my family What’sApp, my neighborhood Group Me. My family shared on their timelines. And then (my order of activity was not wise), I downloaded my own book.

Horror, of horrors, the digital format was all messed up. Amazon’s KDP is very user friendly in some ways, and just not clear enough in others. We had to have them take down the digital version, and we had to resubmit it. (At least the paperback is right). But that meant I had to go back and announce, “oops, don’t buy that yet. Or if you did, cancel and rebuy when it comes back up.”

This is not the published author first impression I wanted to send. I had a few moments of panic, and then I wanted to curl up in fetal position. Then we went to work.

I tell myself that in a day or two everything will be as it should. I tell myself that only a few bought the digital version before I could notify them of the problem. (So sorry friends for the inconvenience). I tell myself that by the time the next book (the Novella, Smoke and Shadows) is up–later this week– no one will remember this little hiccup at the beginning of my publishing career. I hope all of those things are true, but it was still a blow for me.

Many, if not most, authors pay someone else to take the finished work and babysit it through the publishing process, but there are those of us who must DIY it. We will make mistakes. We will read all the other DIYer’s accounts and try to learn from them, but we will have to experience our own learning curve. Are you interested in the process? If so, I will share, in a brutally honest way what we experience–good and bad. Maybe this will be the help that another new author needs so her/his opening doesn’t have to be soft.

We learned this:

KDP wants the paperback version in a pdf. The cover has to be in EPub. (We did this).

Even though KDP says for the digital version, you can upload html or EPub (which we did), what they really require is a Word file for the body and a Jpeg for the cover.

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