Years ago when I was delirious and thought I'd become a full-time writer ... I was soon awakened to reality that only the cream de la cream get to be full-timers while the rest of us struggle with a real job and hopes of claiming the elusive ring on the merry-go-round of life.
I wanted one of the Big Five publishing companies to notice my work and sky-rocket me to fame where I could hob-nob on talk shows like Oprah, Jay Leno, Ellen Degeneres, Rachel, David Letterman and the rest. Realtiy: You have to have an agent. Grim reality: No takers.
Then along came Vanity Press rearing its ugly head to take your money and allow you to think you were a published author. The person writing the local club newsletter was doing a better job of getting in print than those who bought into Vanity. At least the newsletters usually have subscribers and people who wanted to read it. Vanity Press? Beyond Mom and your three best friends, you now have only a mere 996 more books to sell. I have a friend who still has several boxes of his first book sitting in his garage. Yes, he languishes in the shadows of the unknown authors.
Soon, Small Publishers came into existence. They were a God-send; they allowed us to dream the possible dream... but alas, unless you had a super fantastic marketing strategy or know-how, going beyond the ever-present book-signing at the local bookstores, you languished in the shadows with your fellow Vanity authors.
The sun arose on a new day. Amazon came to be and ebooks were given life as well as CreateSpace to publish in book form. [insert chorus of "Oh Happy Day"] The author had a new chance and even marketing potential through a huge company. Now the fledgling author could safely play the five-fingered nose flute at the Big Five publishing companies who rejected unknown submissions or screamed you needed an agent to make you viable.
But wait. Not all is happy in Amazon-land. The author has written a book, even had it edited by a teacher and read by three or four good friends... and of course, Mom, too. What could possibly go wrong?
You didn't write your book in Microsoft Word. You don't have Adobe Creator. You haven't ever used a graphic program and have no idea what RGB vs CMYK. You didn't even know there were that many different shades of black!
You, the author, are about to embark on a journey of huge proportions and mind-expanding learning experiences. The truly easy part was writing the composition. Now you need to format it for publishing which means deciding on a variety of page sizes, page layouts, fonts, paper types ... and the list goes on and on. Plus you have to decide on what graphic you will use on the front cover... your own, a purchased image or one from their stockpile.
Amazon has streamlined the process somewhat ... IF you think of it sort of like reading a which-way book. You read the page and at the bottom you make a decision. That decision takes you to another reading and selection. Finally, through this process, you will create your book.
I guess now would be a good time to mention that there is a difference in publishing an ebook vs a paper book. Also, with Amazon, the ebook version will be solely in 'mobi' ala Kindle format. If you go to Smashwords.com to create your ebook, you have the option of several formats that pretty much cover the gamut of mobile device possibilities.
You are no longer just a Writer... but you are also a Graphics Artist, Editor, Publisher, Marketing Guru and Sales Agent setting the price(s) for the book.
So now you want to write your next book... good luck finding time.
Until next I decide to ramble...