Yarny’s New Friend, Publification

If you use Yarny at all (or you read my last post and clicked the link to the site there), then you know that Yarny has joined together with the Estonia-based self-publishing site Publification.

I’ve had plenty to say about Yarny, but what about this new site? And I do mean new. I may have been effectively exiled from the internet thanks to my move, but I have never heard of this site before. So when I got a newsletter from Blue Burro announcing this partnership, I had to take a look.

Funny thing: when I first tried searching for information about it on Google, all I kept getting was the main site and a snooty search bar insisting that I don’t know how to spell.

At first, it sounds great. Instead of files, you make “browser books”. Nothing to download, just send out links. People can read and comment, and it all feels very much like deviantART except writing is the point instead of being the undisputed underdog.

Strand bookstore

Strand bookstore (Photo credit: ktylerconk)

Publification is little like other self-publishing sites like Smashwords, and bit like a social site. You track statistics–and not just number of views and unique readers, but the time people have spent reading your work. It’s kind of like Wattpad, except I have yet to find a way to browse any kind of booklist. It appears to work on a link system–meaning that you send the link out yourself, which I must admit, is very bad for a serious writer trying to market his or her ebook.

Databases, collections, libraries… These are all much better than word of mouth. Especially for people who like to browse.

Another serious problem I have with the site is that although you have the option of adding an ISBN to your book’s metadata, a free one is not provided to you. I haven’t tried every form of self-publishing on the web, but I do know that Smashwords and Createspace (ebook and print, respectively) both give you a free ISBN, with the choice to obtain one yourself.

Of course, some people want to be listed as their own publisher and are willing to pay for it, but free is a hard price to sniff at. Especially if you don’t care what it says under “publisher”.

Along with the self-publication stuff, there is an editor and book manager, meaning that you can write the whole book online. (or not, if you’re linking to it from Yarny anyway.) You can also add pictures, and they seem to be working on a way to incorporate music as well. With all of that, I would like to see, if not CSS support, then at least the ability to change the font from this Arial yuckiness to something serif that I can actually read.

Publification is still in beta, with a sort of forum for feedback. Things could get better.

But how do the sites work together? Pretty simply, right now. Each has a sort of linkback to the other from their main pages, and Yarny’s export feature has been modified to include an option to export to Publification.

I have yet to try it (for some reason, I just can’t finish a project in Yarny, I don’t know what it is), but it’s in beta, so as they say in the Yarny blog, go out there and break it! See if it’s for you.

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