from the files of
children's author and educator
Barbara Jean Hicks
In early December 2010, I started thinking about what I wanted to give as a Christmas gift to my friends and fans.
Before I started writing children’s books, I wrote romance novels and novellas. (I know, what a switch!) The rights to one of those novellas, a Christmas romance called "Tea for Two," had reverted to me. What if I could figure out how to format it as an e-book and offer it for free to anyone who wanted to download it to their computer or reading device?
I’m always up for the challenge of learning something new, so the idea was just my cup of tea--so to speak.
Off I went on a Google search. What I ended up with was a $2.99 download of an ebook called How To Publish Anything On Amazon's Kindle by Randy Benjamin. The subtitle promised me I would also get instructions for formatting my novella for the Barnes and Noble Nook, the Apple iPad and iPhone and all the Android powered e-book readers.
Now, I’ve worked professionally as an editor and proofreader as well as a writer, so I have to tell you up front that the grammatical mistakes, style issues and even some content inaccuracies in Benjamin’s book were more than a little off-putting. There was also a lot of information I didn’t need that I had to wade through to get what I did need. This is the reason, I remember thinking, that any author who self publishes really needs to hire a professional editor! (And I'm available, by the way...)
I have since learned that the information in Benjamin’s book is available in other places, better edited, for free; but at the time, How to Publish… served its purpose for me. Within two weeks—and it took that long only because I decided my novella needed a little revising—Tea for Two: A Christmas Romance was available through Amazon for the Kindle and Barnes and Noble for the Nook. I was disappointed to discover I wasn’t able to offer my book for free, but I could offer it for 99 cents, and these days 99 cents is as close to free as it gets. (Amazon now how has a program that allows free publication for a limited period.)
I haven’t tried converting an illustrated book to e-book format and I know it’s much more involved, at least for the Kindle, than a text-only manuscript. But if you have an out-of-print novel you want to revive as an e-book, it’s not that difficult. You’ll want to follow the detailed instructions at the Amazon Kindle publishing site and the Barnes and Noble Nook publishing site, or purchase Benjamin’s book or one of the other how-to’s out there. For Kindle publishing directions in a nutshell, based on my own experience, check back here next Friday.
In the meantime, for the results of my e-book experiment, you can download Tea for Two: A Christmas Romance here for your Kindle or here for your Nook. (The current price is $2.99.) Free Kindle and Nook apps are also available at these pages for your iPad, iPhone or Android powered reading devices or for your PC or Mac.
This article was first published on The Rushmore Kid blog in December 2011.