The Journal, Wednesday, 8/26

The Day
Rolled out a little after 2 this morning. Coffee and emails to wake up, and then a shocker from the Smashwords blog.

Mark Coker has decided to end his association with Flipkart, the small ebook retailer in India. That effectively hands Amazon a monopoly in distributing ebooks on that continent.

Although I understand why he’s doing it, I don’t like that even in the title of his post he seems to blame Amazon. Regardless of the circumstances, this was still his own decision. He didn’t have to completely abandon the continent to Amazon. You can read the blog post here.

This is terrible news for indie authors. Competition is ALWAYS better. Your ebooks are an investment. Make them available in as many markets as you can.

Seriously, DON’T go exclusive with any one retailer. If you do, you’re only feeding the beast that will eventually enslave and/or devour you. Amazon has already started paying KDP Select authors less than other retailers pay them. Don’t give ANYONE leverage or control over your work.

I was planning to do a little early morning writing and even get in a walk today. Uhh, no. In light of this news I’ve decided to switch all of my major publication (novels, novella, short story collections) from Smashwords to Draft2Digital for distribution. So I’ll be doing that today.

D2D will now handle distribution of my titles to all the major booksellers, including Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Inktera, Oyster, Scribd, and Tolino. Smashwords will still distribute those only to library outlets and something called OverDrive. (I’ve garnered a total of 4 sales through these outlets since September 2011 so I’m not overly worried about it.)

Why do I suspect this will supplant writing new original fiction for the day? Because it entails moving nineteen publications, all but one of which are collections. I’ve also decided I’m going to rebrand each collection under my own name (except the two magic realism collections).

Rebranding means revising the cover or creating a new one. Either way, the rebranding part will take only about ten minutes per title.

But I also have to create new front and back matter. (This is NOT a requirement of D2D. It’s my own requirement of myself because I want my books to look good.) I also have to reformat each book, double check to make sure the new copied/pasted front and backmatter on each one reads right, etc., then upload each title to D2D.

So I’m expecting to be working on this through most or all of today, and probably more on another day. Or two. (grin) That’s all right. It’s an investment. Once it’s done, it’s done.

Okay, my novels and novella were already over there. Today I put up nine of my collections. all of the ten-story collections plus a few others. I also rebranded 14 covers. No more Eric or Nick on collections.

Well, with only most of the day over, I thought I might write for awhile. But I went and talked with Wes a bit and even he agreed that my brain’s too tired to ride with him today.

I’ll do the topic of the night, and then I’m gonna call it an early day.

Topic of the Night: Be Organized
With what I wrote above about switching my books over to Draft2Digital, you can see the importance of being organized.

In the folder for each book, I had the cover (the raw product so it was easy to change for those I rebranded) as well as several sizes of the old finished cover. I kept the old finished covers as well as one size (2000 x 3000 pixels) of the new covers. I’ll make a smaller version soon so I can replace some of the ones on my website too.

I also had a Smashwords edition version of each book, plus a “general” version in each folder. Opening the general version and using Save-As made it a relative breeze to format a new verson for D2D with the new front and back matter I came up with for my D2D books.

Now again, THEY DON’T REQUIRE any particular format, but I like my work to look good and I like it all to look similar from one book to another. So I made all of the books I shipped to them look the same.

In the folder for each book I also thought I had a “promo” document. That’s just a simple text document that contains the title of the work, the short and long descriptions, and the Internet search terms. Having that little text document made it easy to just copy/paste the information for each book.

Of course, that was missing from a few folders. Huge difference. When I had that little document, it saved about a half-hour over the time I had to spend on one book when I didn’t have it.

You get the idea.

Now maybe you think you won’t ever need this level of organization.

Back when I started with Smashwords, I thought they were the be-all, end-all of ebook distribution. Now, four years later, I’m switching everything over to a new distributor, and in the future I might have to again.

So I’m just sayin’, when time is at a premium, it’s better to do the Boy Scout thing and Be Prepared.

If you have any questions about any of this, I’d be happy to answer them for you. Please ask in the comments section so others can see the Q & A.

Today’s Writing
No fiction writing today.
Fiction Words: XXXX

Writing of Book 9 of the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 3213 words. Total words to date….. 3213 words
Day 2…… 1046 words. Total words to date….. 4259 words
Day 3…… 1858 words. Total words to date….. 6117 words
Day 4…… 1023 words. Total words to date….. 7140 words
Day 5…… 1587 words. Total words to date….. 8327 words
Day 6…… X943 words. Total words to date….. 9270 words
Day 7…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXX words

Total fiction words for the month…………… 20501
Total fiction words for the year……………… 462901