I started my draft for Light to the Darkness in December of 2012. I completed it early February of 2013.
I have had beta readers, reviews and editing. Now all I need to do is finish making the noted changes from my editor.
Now I have done TONS of research on self-publishing, e-book markets and writing in general. I made notes and printed pages and pages of articles. Anyone who knows me well knows I take up a lot of crazy hobbies. Every hobby I research, and obsess and learn everything I can learn about it. These crazy hobbies include, but not limited to: sewing, photography, graphic design, polymer clay, furniture from pallets, cars and many other arts and crafts.
I found Scrivener through my research and started my manuscript using the trial. I used Word for the first few chapters, imported them over and feel in love. I eventually realized that I needed the software so I purchased it through the App Store for $45.
After using Scrivener, I couldn't go back to using word. It didn't create a navigational table of contents automatically, you can't add a cover, and it only saves in .docx, .txt. or rtf. With Scrivener, you can export to any file imaginable, and most importantly, .epub and .mobi.
What I love about it: Everything!
The full composition mode is great. It overs a distraction-free screen for you to write. It keeps me in "the zone". You can have character sheets and setting sketches for reference. I use the character sheets for every character. I cannot tell you how many times I would forget a detail like eye color or age. Instead of reading through, trying to find where you wrote it, it's there on the side bar for easy access. It helps me keep track of the word count. I set a goal in the beginning and set a goal for each chapter, so they are all around the same length. They also offer a corkboard and outline view, for brainstorming. I haven't used the corkboard too much yet. I seem to like having a physical board with post-it notes.
You can find more about Scrivener here: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php
I am a true do-it-yourself girl. I am fluent in Illustrator and Photoshop, so I was able to purchase a stock photo, download some cool free fonts, and make my own cover.
So now, with my own resources, I was able to create a %100 ePub compliant ebook. The only cost to me was the stock photo and Scrivener.
When I first did my research, last year, the obvious option to distribute was Smashwords. They take a word document and "meatgrind" it into all the formats and send it off for you. The account is free and they take a cut of the profits. They now accept ePubs, but there are limitations if you decide to upload your own, instead of the word document.
My option now is to either upload my epub and deal with the limitations, or try to figure out how to get it into the correctly formatted doc. There is an entire book on the formatting for Smashwords.
I now find that Bookbaby offers a free account. Last year, they had a $99 fee for a account, but they did all the conversions for you, much like Smashwords. With their free account, you do all the formatting yourself. Which could be an issue for many, but I have the tools to make to do so.
So now, after a year of preparing for Smashwords, my question is: Is Bookbaby a better option?
I am taking notes and will post findings soon!