Friday, February 25, 2011

Tales From an Indie Author: Pubit Edition

My ebook distribution for Not Just For Breakfast Anymore has mainly been through Smashwords. Upload the file once, they put it through what they call the 'meatgrinder' and off to edistributors it goes. Format is a bit wonky—that could just be my ineptitude—and sales reporting is sporadic. What this distribution gains in simplicity, it loses in control.

And we indie authors sure love us some control. Huzzah!

So when Barnes and Noble started up a (similar to Amazon) DIY publishing option, called Pubit!, that was very indie friendly, you'd think I'd put on my top hat and brandish my publishing six gun. But I didn't. There was the bother, and I, frankly, like SW and it's founder Mark Coker. He has such a great attitude about this new age of publishing. Still, it bothered me that the formating was a bit off and there was no seeming way for me to fix it.

Then I read a couple of entries by indies indicating that going directly with B&N could triple sales—that pushed me over the decision ledge.

That's three more sales, people. *grin*

Besides, I'd had much better success at other e-venues, it was a point of pride to do whatever I could to increase my visibility at B&N.

Pubit has a very friendly interface, accepts all manner of submission formats (which they then convert to epub for free), and you get to preview the file in a virtual Nook before submission. My book looked great. B&N also advises that one download the newly converted epub and view it in Adobe Digital Editions, the gold standard of epub viewing. Looked great. Even on my Nook App for Iphone. Win all around.

My victory lap was to view my book on an in-store Nook. If you haven't held one in your hand, it is a gorgeous ereader. Hell, I was thinking about putting my book on EVERY Nook in the store. Can't be shy about selling when the marketing department is only you. So there I was, surrounded by customers, clerks, stacks of the best books in the world, and I loaded my novel on the display Nook.

Face fell. The format was....screwy.

Gah! it was like everyone was looking at me and my embarrassing mistake! I fled from the store. Top hat deflated.

I couldn't figure it out. I followed the directions—perhaps my freeware conversion was the problem? I went back to the Pubit site and noticed that under 'conversion instructions' for submitting a Word doc, they stipulated the use of only three fonts. I had used internet friendly fonts, but not the recommended ones.

Back to the file, changeroonie, upload. Check in Adobe Digital Editions—fine. Go back to B&N store...Gah! screwy!

Then I adjusted the text for size and realized that there were a bunch of font choices on the Nook, including setting to publisher's default. That fixed everything. Perhaps there never was a problem—I may never know—but it goes to show you how much work is involved in being an indie author.


  1. I didn't go through SmashWords with my books 'cause it sounded like a pain in the butt. Since I'm not particularly savvy with all things tech, I had Ted Risk over at Dellaster Design take care of the formatting chores. BL is on Kindle & Nook, RE is only on Kindle - I still have to upload it thru Pubit. Oddly - I've had decent Kindle sales but zero Nook sales. I also went through (whatever store - don't remember) & put my book on the Kindle screens. Next marketing technique - I'm having my boook covers tattood on my face - one cover on each side. The challenge will be where to tatt the third. Forehead?

  2. @JaxPop

    You're my kind of indie, Jax. :^) And your book is on my TBR pile.

    For marketing, I'm thinking of having my kids wear sandwich boards to school with the book cover on it. That, or shine shoes on the corner.

    I will say that SW got me into Kobo and I've had decent sales there. Apple as well.

    Still I shudder whenever I see that extra line feed placed between paragraphs. Ugh.

  3. I found it fairly easy to upload my book to Barnes and Noble Pubit. I formatted in word and saved it as an html file. It was the easiest for me. I do agree with you though, Indie Authors go through a lot to get their work published.

  4. @Jennifer

    Pubit is easy and friendly. Which does make it stand out.

    I freely admit that I might have freaked for no reason when I saw the formatting problem on the Nook.

    Just for giggles, did you check your book out on the Nook, too?

  5. Not yet, it seems like every time I go and check it out, I'm going back into pubit and fixing something else. It can be pretty frustrating sometimes. I really enjoyed pubit better than the kindle and even smashwords. I had the most difficult time getting my book formatted for Amazon, I have to admit.

  6. "You're my kind of indie, Jax. :^) And your book is on my TBR pile."

    I'll hafta figure out a way to get the printed version of Reckless to ya. It's on Kindle - print version a few weeks out. Dave

  7. I love posts like this, in case I ever give up the tradition route and go it alone. I had my nook when they first started pubit, and at first I didn't think it would do well at all because they listed which books were pubit and which weren't. Glad they took that feature off, so now you can't tell until you actually read about the book. Seems like you're more likely to get sales that way, rather than people glossing over the pubit books because they aren't through a traditional publishing house.

  8. @scottishrose45

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    Definitely the way one publishes depends on what works for you. The indie route is hard; traditional has its advantages.

    As for B&N, I love 'em, and I really want a Nook Color. Now I have to figure out a way to stand out among so many fine books on their (virtual) shelves.


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