Gotta admit, I’m loving Amazon’s KDP forum. Thanks to the users there, I found out about Goodreads, Shelfari, Indie Snippets, Bookstack Reviews, GenreBuds, and Smashwords….I’ve only been an indie author for two weeks, but because of their advice, I feel like I’m well on my way to getting a leg up in the industry.

Getting my work distributed through Smashwords is the latest step. I’m slogging through their style guide right now, then reformatting my existing books to be uploaded to their system. Chances are I’ll be tackling that all day today, because Smashwords apparently supports multiple eBook formats (which may have to be worked on & uploaded separately) for various platforms. I want to make sure my stories display cleanly, regardless of where they’re bought or where they’re read…so it’s not something I want to rush. Smashwords will let me reach the Mac, Iphone, Borders, Diesel, smartphone, Sony, and Ipad crowd…I’ve already been warned that a majority of users there are on the lookout for free reads, so I won’t be expecting a lot of sales. What I do expect is exposure. At this point in my career, getting my name and stories out there is vital…no one will be able to enjoy my books if they can’t find them, and no one will know to look for them if they don’t know that they or I exist.

Something else that I believe I’ll grow to love about Smashwords is their free marketing tools. I’ve got a very talented graphic designer who supports my efforts, and with her help, I think I’ll be able to use that avenue to truly engage my audience–get them interested, reading, and then hopefully buying. If Smashwords allows authors to plug-in those features to external sites, so much the better :)

This week is all about breaking through to the wider web: social networking, enhanced distribution, and finding new avenues, sites, blogs, and ways to solidify my presence on-line—the more people I can reach, the better my chances are of getting my stories out. I’m trying to be accessible to readers;  not just my work, but me personally. I want them to have an opportunity to connect & interact–to start a conversation on FB, Goodreads, twitter, here…I’d like to have an opportunity to  chat with people who share a common love of romance, and get honest feedback.

My career as an author is just beginning, and I figure every minute I put in for expanding my presence now will be well-worth it  in the long-run; I just have to insure I’m not obnoxious about it. Despite the fact I truly believe I have a wonderful story, there is a line between tasteful self-promotion, and the kind of in-your-face overflow that will alienate potential readers.

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