Publishing an ebook on Amazon - 2010 edition

A friend asked me to publish an ebook for him. I agreed.

In initial Google search turned up a lot of (expensive, in terms of wasted time) dead-ends:
  1. Askville - where Steve Weber (who writes books and a blog on self-publishing) tells you you need an ISBN block, a mobi-pocket account, and the mobi-pocket software. circa 2006? NO LONGER ACCURATE
  2. Fonerbooks - where someone very nicely lays out the ISBN landscape, and how to deal with the Bowker monopoly, and the connection to "Books in Print". crica 2005 (but apparently still valid). Bowker reminds me strongly of ARIN!
  3. LighteningSource - which is really a dead-end for me because I don't want print-on-demand.
Could it really be this hard to self-publish?! Not too terribly surprised, but a little disappointed, I set to work following the steps described in #1. Block of 10 ISBNs, $250, check. I dutifully downloaded the (Windows-only) mobi-pocket creator - which looks like it hasn't been touched since Windows 95 was hot stuff.

The manuscript was in a combination of (custom) InDesign and EPS - which I (imperfectly, I'm sure) converted to PDF. I dutifully added some meta data, generated the file, and then tried to publish via the Creator interface. I waited expectantly... find out that mobi-pocket accounts are deprecated, and the entire process has been stream-lined and simplified.

It's called the Amazon Digital Text Platform and you don't need an ISBN (it's optional), you don't need to download conversion software, and you can use your existing Amazon user account. (Granted you have to add some data, like your Social Security number and a mailing address for royalty checks, but still...)

I had to fill out some metadata again, but it only took about 15 minutes to setup the account and upload the PDF of the manuscript. Amazon now says that the book is "in review" and theoretically you'll be able to buy it on Kindle any time now.

[Update: the book is published]

No comments: