Digital Publishing for Indie Authors

Today while surfing through my twitter feeds I came across an interesting link posted by famed author Michael Stackpole. I always appreciate the stuff he puts up. If you haven’t had a chance to read any of his books…Stop what you are doing and go check out his website and buy some of his works…My favorite is his Dragon Crown War series…totally awesome fantasy series! Michael’s tweet was linked to a very informative website entitled Digital Book World. While I haven’t been able to peruse all of this site yet the main story was about another digital (e-book) publishing site called Tomely. The one I use with great success is Smashwords, but I am always in search for new avenues to peddle my wares. With that being said my aim in this post is to inform you about Tomely and my process of uploading my short novels for sale.

The first thing I did was go to Tomely. This initial link did not open up the home page, but there is a note promising that Tomely is looking into the issue. Good thing there was another link that took me to the Tomely home page. The site is a little clunky, but I was able to figure out their process fairly easily after clicking the provided tabs. Tomely is an epub only service, but will auto convert to the needed format depending on what type the buyer needs. Very similar to the Smashwords meat grinder (auto converter).  So if you don’t have a piece of software that will do this for you that is something you will need to find and download before you can truly begin. I found this to be a little irritating, but to save you some time I used Calibre. Google it and download it…it’s free. Another issue I ran into was Calibre doesn’t do (.doc) files. I ended up converting my .doc file to an .rtf file. If you are not familiar with Calibre it will take some time to get it down.

Take a deep breath…This is not a process that will satisfy our need for instant gratification.

With that bit of knowledge you will need to sign up with Tomely. I signed up and will need to pause this post in order to continue…why? Well this process is not instant. After signing up, apparently I needed to wait for someone at Tomely to send me an email with an approval allowing me to then continue. The grade for Tomely is falling by the hour. Note: after I signed up they thanked me for being a part of the beta process and someone will get back with me shortly. (4:10pm)

After a five hour break I finally got the welcome email from Tomely. (9:33pm)

Soon as I filled out a few lines and created a password I had to link my PayPal account in order to get paid. You have to have a PayPal account. These steps were fairly painless.

Next was even easier! Drop and drag your Calibre created epub file in the Manage Books area and you are in business. I set my price, copy and pasted my book blurb, and then uploaded an avatar to complete the job and then applied.

The wait was worth it. The upload process was super easy. Now the only thing to do is see if sales translate.

Overall I give this entire process an 8 out of 10. Mostly due to the five hour delay. If you are an Indie author Tomely is worth a look.

Happy Reading everyone.


2 comments on “Digital Publishing for Indie Authors

  1. Hi Robert,

    Connor from Tomely here! Just letting you know, our public policy is that we process all applications for the service within 24 hours. Instead of forcing publishers to undergo an approval process for each book (which is fairly usual), we simply front-load the approval process.

    We also don’t offer something akin to Smashword’s “meat grinder” as our opinion is that auto-converting ebooks from manuscripts results in a poor experience for readers. You’re correct that our goal is not instant gratification for authors/publishers. Our goal, first and foremost, is a great experience for the readers that end up purchasing the publishers’ books (which will ultimately reward the publishers themselves). We encourage authors/publishers to take the time to learn how to correctly craft ebooks before publishing. If an author has spent months or years working on a book, it doesn’t make sense to us for them to take shortcuts in the ebook creation process, particularly if those shortcuts result in markedly worse ebooks.

    Also, if you take a look, you’ll see that the link you tried to follow to our site is actually wrong. There are one too many www’s in the URL… visiting will work fine. 🙂

    Cheers (and thanks for the review)!

    • First of all I would like to thank you Connor for the read of my post and the clarification of how the Tomely process works. I think it shows great spirit to take an interest. After I uploaded the rest of my ebooks I found the process to be easy and user friendly. I had to work a system in getting all my .doc’s to epub through Calibre. I also was able to experience some great customer service response by email. There is a section that allows me to create vouchers to my ebooks and I chose to create some for give-aways, but I was unable to actually use them or see them created. I promptly sent an email to the Tomely team and not too long after they were able to verify the problem and said they would email me when they fixed the issue. I was very impressed.

      Like I said I find the Tomely ebook process a strong 8 out of 10 and from someone who has been at this for a little while, that is a great score. With the prompt customer service I am sincerely thinking of moving it to a 9 out of 10.

      I am certainly glad there are other people taking risks and bringing us Indie Authors more choices and avenues to create success.

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