I love being an indie author. Yes, I'm going to use that term. Some may call it self-publish, and I'm okay with that, but I also consider myself a small press--independent from any corporation, chain, or bookstore, and I'm really okay with that. I get to do as much or as little of the process as I want from writing, editing, cover art, publishing, and marketing--I love it all.
Not that I do it all alone. I don't. I think anyone who doesn't get a second, third, and at least fourth opinions is crazy! Having someone else read through the manuscript is an absolute must. I also have an absolutely fabulous indie author group who have banded together to answer each other's questions, share discoveries and ideas, and cross-promote our books.
One part of the process I look forward to is formatting and cover art. I love being able to have full control over the final product. Some authors may find their time better spent writing the next book and pay someone else to do the remainder of the pre-publication work. I get that. I'm even glad that those authors are out there because that's where my clients come from--because I just like to do it all. It's a "time and a season" for every part of the publication process and the joy of the creation to me.
Because I am constantly trying to improve the quality of my own work and the work I do for clients, I try to keep up with the ever-changing independent publishing market and the plethora of available tools. This week I was uploading revised editions of my two books. (Okay, maybe it was a teensy bit of procrastination in revising book three, but this also needed done. Mostly.) I'd had the books on Kindle Select program and they had just finished the required three months of exclusivity on Amazon, so since I was uploading the books for sale everywhere else again, I decided to make a few tweaks. Anyway, I had the worst time getting Smashwords to accept a file that I'd worked and reworked a bazillion different ways. My biggest hang-up was that I'd created the other epub in exactly the same way (using Jutoh) and it had been accepted with no problems. I was at my wits' end.
Then I heard about Draft 2 Digital. I was amazed at how easy it was to format a beautiful epub using D2D and in such a short time! Like seriously, it took less than five minutes since I already had a file prepared for Smashwords. In fact, most of that time was spent deleting the table of contents and excising the requisite Smashwords copyright blah-blah-blah info (making it shorter and the same as I have it in my Kindle and Nook versions that I upload directly).
So though I don't know for sure that everything has sailed through and looks exactly as I want it to (it looked great in the previewer, but I'll download copies when they go live to make sure), I am thrilled with what I see. Although I don't hate Smashwords (they've been a great distributor that I've used for three years now), it's kind of nice to have some competition, and at this point, I'm switching over. We'll see how it goes--I'll be especially thrilled if it glides seamlessly through Apple's notoriously difficult process. I'll let you know.
What I want to know is this: What programs and distributors do you use for uploading your ebooks and why? I'd love some feedback because, as I said, I'm always on the lookout for the best tools to aid me be a successful indie author.