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Classroom to ebook: Evolution of writing a Short Story

Updated on September 27, 2012
Guest Ranch cover
Guest Ranch cover | Source

The Short Story Guest Ranch was written in a short story writing course when I was in college decades ago. It is in the Western genre and some of you have read it and commented on it when it was posted on hubpages. It is also a story within a story. It did not overly impress the professor but he did give it a “B” if I recall correctly. After sending it out to some magazines and collecting a few form letter rejections , I set it aside.

About ten years ago I joined the on line school Writers Village University (WVU) by taking out a lifetime membership. Subsequently while I was taking a course there was a contest for a short short story. The story Guest Ranch was obviously too long for the requirements, so I decided to separate out the story within the story and with a bit of editing, I renamed it “Judge Hatch” and submitted it. It missed coming in first so I didn’t win any money but it got published in the school ezine.

When I joined hubpages I wanted to use the story. I had learned that really long hubs do not work too well so I posted the “Judge Hatch” version. I was then notified that my hub was suspect for not being original. Upon inquiry it apparently didn’t matter that I copied from myself and it was my original work. Too high a percentage of the hub had been used before. The next attempt was to publish the whole story in four parts. I renamed it the “Storyteller.” The robot picked two out of the four as being copied. After awhile I unpublished it. Apparently the robots found my story long ago published in a school ezine. It came back to haunt me on hubpages

With the encouragement of some hubber fans that have wanted me to put my “Carbons Creek” stories in an ebook I eventually decided to look into publishing ebooks. It appears that most people publish their first book and price it as “free.’This brought me to the conclusion that the first book serves the purpose of promotion and getting exposure to the ebook audience. I also wanted to make use of this story. As a result I decided to publish it as my first ebook.

I want to thank hubbers Sophia Angelique and Renold Jay for their advice and help. From them I learned about “Smashwords” which is an ebook publisher.Publishing with them is free but one has to get the formatting just right. It took me awhile to get it all together, but the first book is done and being distributed. A cover was a bit of a challenge. And I got some help on that. I spent half a day driving in the country to find some horses. Wisconsin is not exactly cowboy country. I got a bit of help getting it right but I think it looks fairly good. The book is published under my real name, which is Don Hoglund. There are several places to publish ebooks but I am not familiar enough with them to make recommendations. Kindle sends me emails wanting me to publish with them but I don’t know if it would be an advantage.

Norman Mailer once wrote a book titled Advertisement for Myself. I never read it but I love the title. Now it is time for me to follow that dictum. The next step is promotion and additional ebooks. Hopefully this information might help some of you.

© 2011 Don A. Hoglund


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    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      RJ, you were a lot of help and I appreciate it. Glad you like the hub.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 

      5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Thanks for mentioning me in this HUB. LinkedIn didn't let me reply so I found this HUB and , of course, loved it. Write direct to me ReynoldJay 'cause I think you should try the Kindle pub if you haven't done so already. I don't think the LINKEDIN is useful at all, probably like you, and make little sense of it. Feel free to bring me up to date. See the HUB How to publish your novel Free at one of my HUBS. I've updated it. etc. RJ

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for the comment and encouragement.It appears that one has to give away the first book and probably sell the next,at least, fairly cheap until you build up a following. At least that is the theory are am operating on at the moment.

    • Blakesr profile image


      7 years ago from Orland, Florida

      I found you article to be very interesting. About five years ago I published a book of about little under a hundred poems with Publish America. The book was over priced at about $20.00 per copy and of such did not do well. I am thinking about republishing it as an ebook, hence my interst in your hub. Thanks and good luck with your future works

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for commenting.I don't write any place but hubpages except for the ebook.The thing that I found annoying in being gigged as duplicate is that when I separated the inner story I think it constitutes a different rading experience. Irrelevant now, I guess.

    • QudsiaP1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Ah the same happened to that is until I left all other writing forums and began to write on hubpages exclusively.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for the your comment. It is hopefully a stepping stone into more ebooks.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 

      7 years ago from United States

      Cool info and congrats on your accomplishment. Hooray!

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Smashwords has a ream of instructions but it is largely a matter of formatting Microsoft Word.It has some glitches in it and even if you have used it a long time it can surprise you. When I was working everyone went to the "secretaries" when they had some computer problem. Unfortunately the secretaries didn't know about publications and graphics. Putting things into hubs was also a challenge. I recall you helped with that.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Congratulations on getting your first ebook out there! You must feel very accomplished and I am sure that it was quite a learning curve. Best of wishes for great success in the future. Nice learning things from fellow hubbers!

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for your good wishes.This book is free but I hope it breaks ground for future ones.

    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 

      7 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      I will vote up. Good luck with the book.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I find it hard to read long articles or stories on line myself. As such it doesn't make much sense to expect other people to read mine if they are too long. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • attemptedhumour profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Good luck with it all Don, it's a genre that needs preserving. Short stories do have to be short on hubpages, as it is so difficult to find the time to be a loyal follower. Cheers buddy.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I have no system at all on sorting my pictures digital or otherwise. It is easy to confuse the words smashwords and smash books.Smashwords is the publishers name. They have information on their site and information about formatting, although it is quite lengthy.

      Thanks for reading.

    • 2patricias profile image


      7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      This is very interesting, and I will do some more research on smash books.

      Your description of driving around to find horses reminds me that I have been trying to catalogue my digital photos. I have photos of most things (including horses) but it can be very frustrating trying to find the one I want when I want it.

      Thanks for an interesting Hub.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Peter Lumeta,

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Just Ask Susan

      Thanks for reading. I hope it is useful to you.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for sharing this, great information!

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image


      7 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Thanks Don an informative HUB,



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