Another One Bites the Dust

If you spend any time within the self-publishing areas online, then you likely know that Pronoun has shut down.

If you don’t, let me explain a little.

Pronoun was similar to Smashwords and Draft2Digital in that it took your ebook and distributed it to a range of markets. It gave authors 70% of the royalties, even on $0.99 books, which made it very appealing. It also created very nice looking books with only a little know-how and trial and error. As well, you got a snazzy looking author page for each pen name, and a page for each book that would link to all the places your book was for sale. And it let you onto Google Play, a coveted but hard to break into market.

Personally, I kind of loved it.

I haven’t liked Smashwords for a long time, for the simple reason that I’m an aesthetics snob. I can create what I think are better-looking epubs using my copy of Scrivener, and doing poetry on Smashwords? Forget about it.

My books are still on Smashwords, but I have been considering removing them from any of the extra markets they’ve been sent to there and just keeping them on the site itself.

So I really liked Pronoun. It was starting to gain traction as a distributor among authors; more people were talking about it recently, and it seems likely it was about to really take off.

Sadly, the owners shut it down.

Pronoun was bought by Macmillan Publishers a while ago. At first I thought, hey, maybe this will mean this indie author company will get some oomph from the big guys that bought it up! This could be good for us!

I was obviously wrong.

I don’t know why Macmillan shut down Pronoun. The answer will likely be “lack of profits”, but I wonder if that just means “It wasn’t as profitable as we wanted it to be.” The super cynical, conspiracy-theorist side of me is saying this is part of a plot on the side of trad publishers to make indie publishing a little less viable. Because, you know, I trust no one and nothing.

Pronoun will be officially done in January, and no new books can be added now. I’ve already removed my books and my mother’s books from sale on it and started to work on getting them up on other distributors.

For my replacement, I’m going with two different companies: Draft2Digital for the big stores (Nook, Kobo, iBooks, etc), and PublishDrive for their insane amount of places they sell worldwide, including (drumroll please) Google Play.

I chose these two companies because they have a good track record or come highly recommended by known names in the indie biz. That doesn’t mean they won’t explode, but it certainly lowers the chances.

I’ve been working hard on putting together files for these companies (every time, I need to redo files). Draft2Digital has been a rather big learning curve, but the resulting file is quite beautiful, even if I still can’t get the poetry to work right. (Poetry in ebook form is honestly a huge headache. If you want to self-publish ebook poems, either hire a formatter who knows what they’re doing, or make sure the poetry you write isn’t highly dependent on excessive formatting, and can be read as just basic, left-indent stuff.)

Speaking of poetry, I’ve decided to not sell glasstown on the iTunes store anymore. This is because the fine folks at Apple have ridiculously strict rules about the books you submit to them, and they require that my title use “proper” capitalization. It’s poetry, you artless fucks. Ahem. I mean, it’s poetry. It doesn’t actually need to adhere to those rules. Just ask e e cummings.

Anyway, they don’t want my poetry book with its nonstandard capitalization, and I don’t want to capitulate my art to their desires. I feel very strongly that glasstown needs to remain lower-case, and I’m tired of making sacrifices when it comes to selling it in ebook form.

You also might notice that my blog and my site have gone through a redesign. I chose a different theme for the blog because the old theme wasn’t working nicely with a plugin I enjoy having, and my site is being redesigned to be a bit more streamlined. I also decided to use a plugin for book management instead of doing everything by hand, which has so far made my life easier.

Soon everything will be finished in the redesign, and you’ll be able to not only purchase my books directly from my site but also click to a link to any of the markets they’re available on. Which will hopefully be all of the big ones, soon. I’ve been waiting for them to be removed from the other places they were available before pushing publish.

This is perhaps the most frustrating thing: the downtime. There will be a period of time when my books are not available on any of those markets.

Well, the downtime and the having to go through seven zillion hoops again to publish them. It’s just a lot of work.

I’m more hopeful that D2D and PublishDrive will be safer bets. And of course, I’m keeping all my books available through our Ecwid shop so people can get them direct from our sites.

It’s just prudent, in the face of the constantly changing publishing landscape.

Till next time,
(after I resurface from this massive pile of work)
I remain
loonily yours,
-Katje

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