Perspectives on publishing: an interview with Arne Bue

As part of what’s becoming a ongoing series of posts on publishing alternatives, here’s an interview with Arne Bue, a lifelong Alaskan who lives with his wife, Shirley, in Anchorage. He is the author of Baxter Bog Interlude, The Lid, and Banto Carbon and the Prehistoric Proboscis, all published as Adobe eBooks.

How did you decide on e-publishing as the best way to bring your books to market?

One of my sons, in Homer, Alaska, runs an eBay store. My wife and my daughter-in-law both had written books, never published. I’d written a few, also. I acquired Adobe Acrobat 9 Standard and taught myself how to publish these manuscripts in PDF. The intent was to put them in my son’s eBay store; however, eBay will sell digital products like that only through their Classified program, which we didn’t like too much. So, we put the books up for sale in eBookMall. We set me up as the “printer” and my son’s eBay store BAXTER BOG CARDS & COLLECTIBLES, as the Publisher.

What advice do you have for others interested in e-publishing?

Others can do it at home, actually. By using Microsoft Word, Paint, IrfanView, and OpenOffice, in conjunction with Adobe Acrobat 9 Standard, others can get it done. Adobe provides instructions in their ebookinstructions.pdf booklet. One may also use their published books as content a self-created website. As you can tell from my web page, I’m not an expert web master; nevertheless, I used the free program Kompozer, and it’s online classes regarding css to put together a basic website for these published ebooks. Self-publishers can get their ISBNs and copyrights online easily.

How have readers found out about your books?

Google can teach one how to create a Sitemap, which I did. Also, by reading up on web site optimization, one learns the proper use of meta tags and page titles. Google, Yahoo and MSN and others, use their “spiders” to find your website, and eventually it’ll show up when one uses these search engines. The key is to find the best search words to include in the meta tags and page title. You can also use paid advertising, which I have not done, or use a few free classifieds online, which I have done.

Without editors and independent reviews, how hard is it to get perspective and improve on your work?

Impossible. I actually haven’t written for ten years or more. I’m nearly seventy now, and I still enjoy writing and reading. When I was writing, I was active in a writer’s group comprised of wonderful writers, some UAA professors, a librarian, others. We’d exchange manuscripts and ‘work each other over’ so to speak. Also, I attended, ‘back in the day’ a few years worth of the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference in Santa Barbara, California. Writer’s groups are VERY important, in my opinion.

Have you been pleased with your sales so far?

No. I am a poor marketer. My publications online do not sell well. Getting an agent or publisher, for me, was impossible. But I do enjoy reading and writing and creating. Creating an ebook and web page is both an effort and a pleasure. Your associates who have agents and publish books are the chosen few, and I applaud them.

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