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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Writing (and Launching) Wibbles

Launch Cannon! Source: openclipart.org
Finally! I’ve been busy with the Launch Cannon the last few days. Amazon’s always an easy target: load and fire at bedtime, wake up in the morning, direct hit. Smashwords takes a fair amount of re-calibration, since you have to use DOC shot instead of MOBI. But once you get everything just so, you see results in minutes instead of hours. (That’s not including Premium, which takes a while longer.)

In between those two, I took aim at a new target: the Nook Store. I thought it would be another easy target, maybe a little longer to confirm than Amazon, but Scrivener generates clean ePUB files just as easily as MOBI. That one turned out to be a misfire. Some of my tax info didn’t get entered properly, and I got hung in "Pending Account Verification" limbo for a few days. Finally, yesterday, the Pubit site put up a banner saying "call us, we sent you an email." I didn’t get the email until after seeing the banner, but whatever. After figuring out what needed to be fixed, I fixed it.

The upshot is, I’m hoping White Pickups will be available at Nook and iBooks in the next few days. If you can’t wait to get your ePUB fix, Smashwords is happy to take care of you.

So here are the various virtues and failings of each eBook store, as I see them:

Amazon: very easy to deal with, biggest eBook market, multiple countries, CreateSpace for paperback. Not much control after uploading.

Smashwords: easiest avenue to iBooks, 70% commission on 99¢ eBooks, coupons provide lots of pricing flexibility. Insistence on DOC files is a huge PITA for non-Word users, you need a PayPal account (no direct deposit).

Nook: growing market, easy upload from Scrivener (ePUB). Takes longer than Amazon to get your Nook eBook into the store.

A little more administrivia to deal with. But now that White Pickups is rolling out, I can re-focus on Pickups and Pestilence. I sketched out what needs to happen in the final third of the book, which includes the final climactic confrontation, and started writing a little of it yesterday. If everything goes smoothly (haha), I should have it done by spring.


  1. congratulations! for some reason I thought Nook would be as simple as the kindle.

  2. Congratulations! Thanks for giving us views into the sausage grinder at work. That is bizarre about Smashwords -- since they support so many output formats, you'd think they'd support a semi-universal input format like ODT or something. Ah well, you made it!

    Off to follow the directions you gave in that last mailing list blast...

  3. Thanks, guys!

    Sonia, I'm not sure what happened. I gave them both essentially the same info, and didn't have any trouble with Amazon. Maybe I will when it comes time to get paid.

    Katherine, I've said that if I were Mark Coker, I would have used ePUB for an input format. Easily validated, and is a ZIP file of well-defined formats (HTML subset and a couple XML-based control files) so conversion would be a lot easier than what they have now. BTW, I used OpenOffice to do the DOC file. You have to adapt their instructions but it's not difficult.


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