I first met Joyce Scott at the Oregon Christian Writer’s summer conference two or three years ago. She showed me her fiction proposal and I liked what I saw. Alas, Harvest House has not had much success with genre fiction (other than Amish historical romance), so I had to say no.

Since then, Joyce has kept the momentum going with her writing career. She has just taken the bold step of publishing with Amazon. I asked Joyce to share a few words about her experience in the hopes it might encourage some of you who are wondering what to do next.

After Joyce has her say, be sure and read my teaser question for my next blog. Joyce writes:

I attended writer’s conferences for many years, and although my stories were enthusiastically received, I never ended up with a book contract. When Ebooks came about, I enthusiastically pursued publishing on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle for PC. I had a good storehouse of available novels from 21 years of writing and, with God’s leading, I chose Sea Captain’s Promise as my first Ebook.

The idea of formatting was daunting at first. But after advice from Randy Ingermanson’s website, Amazon’s DTP Platform and Smashwords, I formatted it just fine. I would especially suggest Smashword’s Ebook Style Guide. It is simple and thorough. Now that I’ve learned their technique, it takes me a quarter of the time to format my other novels.

To help me create a professional book cover, I hired graphics designer, Micah Hansen. I provided him the basic picture and he made the cover glow.

I’m editing other stories now and hope to add a novel a month until I have five or six up and running on Kindle. I’m careful which book I choose and I thoroughly edit and re-edit the novel numerous times. (Attending a weekly writer’s critique group for the last 13 years has paid off tremendously. They definitely catch things I would have missed.)

All in all the experience has been a large learning curve, it’s taken lots of prayer and good hard work. And I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’ve been stretched and challenged and have found Amazon to be an excellent company to deal with. If you need help, go to Amazon’s Most Frequently Asked Questions.

And if you’re interested in publishing on Amazon, plunge right in. The water is cold at first, but after you get comfortable, it’s an absolute delight!

Now for my teaser question. I recently surveyed a number of well-known authors in our industry and posed this question to them:

When you’ve turned in a final draft of a new book, how different is it from your original vision for the book when you began? Choose one answer below.

1. I usually have a pretty firm idea of what the book will be when I begin writing. The final draft is very close to that original vision.

2. I try to stay close to the original vision for the book, but invariably there are significant changes along the way that I never anticipated at the beginning.

3. I begin with a certain vision for the book, but when the final draft is finished, I’m astonished at how different the book has turned out from how I originally envisioned it.

On my next blog, I’ll reveal the interesting answers, including comments from authors such as Jerry Jenkins, Mindy Starnes Clark, Lauraine Snelling, Camy Tang, Stephen Bly, and others. But before their answers appear, how would YOU answer the question?

5 replies
  1. Melissa K. Norris says:

    I would have to say number two. I know the begining and end. After lot’s of character developement, I begin writing. I am surprised at how we end up at the ending, but I find it easier to keep on track with goals and conflict if I know where it all leads. Csn’t wait to hear what the big names have to say!

  2. Joyce A. Scott says:

    I would have to say number 2. And although I am a seat-of-the-pants type of writer, I still usually know where I’m going and the general idea. So, and I hope I’m correct, I vote number 2.

  3. Jan Cline says:

    Hi Nick, My question to you would be is there any chance that a publisher would pick up an ebook that has been published on Amazon? And are there advantages for ebooks over custom publishing? Very interesting prospect for many of us.
    Thanks, Jan

  4. Janalyn Voigt says:

    My response is in the middle between 1 and 2, but closer to 1. I plot my stories in detail and usually understand my characters well before I start writing. Still, I sometimes find myself places I didn’t expect, like when the High King in book two of my fantasy trilogy detoured into the Vale of Shadows, a place I didn’t know existed until he took me there. But then, part of the joy of writing is in such discoveries.

  5. Nick says:

    Jan, it’s hard to say. It hasn’t happened yet. I suppose if the book sold really well and we had reason to believe we could continue to sell it as a trade book, we’d be interested. The main point, though, would be to build your readership. If you came to us and said you sold 35,000 copies of your ebook and would like us to publish your next book, we might be interested.

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