So you want to self-publish a book. Congratulations for making it this far! I’m assuming you have something finished but if not, get writing! You can worry about all this stuff later believe me it’s only going to overwhelm you! But if you are still curious don’t let me stop you, just keep reading.
Formatting Your File for an e-book
You will need to either learn how to turn your manucript into the different ebook formats or pay someone else to do it. The choice is yours. I use and recommend Scrivener. The two main reasons are you can organise your whole book or random chapters and scenes in one interface and the other is I can hit compile and it creates the e-book formats for me.
Formatters can be found easily enough with a google search or you can go to The Kindle Boards Writers Cafe.
A professional looking cover is a must. People really do judge a book by its cover! Don’t try and fluke it in paint or think people will discover you regardless. Random success is rare. It wont sell and believe me you don’t want to know how many books are being loaded every minute. The outside of your book reflects what is on the inside. Quality.
If you are interested in learning a little Photoshop Jason Gurley did a great series of posts on DIY Book Cover Design. Another great website is TheBookDesigner.com by Joel Friedlander.
Want to hire a designer? 99Designs will get you heaps of options and you don’t pay anything until you are happy.
This can be the most expensive part of the process but also the most important. Editing is crucial. Readers will spot errors and there may be structural problems you are not even aware of or just plain ignoring. If you want to stand out and distinguish yourself from the pack, hire a professional so your work looks professional!
Every time I have gotten my stuff back from my editor, her suggestions have made me look at the work differently and I learn something for next time. Remember anything that screams amateur will put off your readers and make them WANT to leave a bad review. You don’t want to waste anybody’s time and you do’t want a Tsunami of bad reviews.
Saying goodbye to your work will be hard…..at first because this is just the beginning. This is when your work turns into a living, breathing creation ready to spread its wings, well kind of. But I think this part is the most satisfying part of self-publishing, when you actually get to hit publish.
First thing you should know is Amazon is the biggest store and you have a choice to go exclusive with Amazon or cast your net far and wide. The choice is yours and there is allot of information out there about the KDP select program and going exclusive.If you decide to go exclusive with Amazon and enrol in the KDP Select program, you can’t upload on the other programs. You can read more information here: the pros and cons of KDP Select.
If you decide not to go exclusive you can upload on Smashwords which will distribute your book to Barnes & Noble, Sony,Diesel, iTunes and all the global Apple sites, as well as Kobo and all their partners, such as FNAC and WHSmith).
More things to worry about when uploading:
- Categories: You only get two.
- Keywords. Think of Amazon like a search engine.
- Royalty Rates
- E-book lending
Then your done!
Marketing and Sales
Before you were a writer now you are in marketing and sales! Yay! Not. It can be daunting. Where do you start? I’m keeping this section especially short because there are books and blogs dedicated to book marketing and sales. So where do you start?
- Get a blog. I recommend WordPress. Again make it as professional looking as you can.
- Create great content for your blog. Drive traffic and entertain your readers a little.
- Create a Facebook Author Page or Private Group for your fans.
- Create a mailing list. I use MailChimp.
- Create something free like a short book so people will signup to your mailing list.
- Learn Copy Writing or the basics so you can learn to ‘close the sale’.
This is a good start but the best marketing is to make sure your book is as professional as it can be and make it a page turner!
People still do like buying paperbacks and this where Print on Demand comes in. Createspace is where your book will be made and distributed one sale at a time and there is excellent advice here on the whole process. Upload your cover including spine and the back of your book. Make sure the interior looks OK. Set aside some decent time for this process.
Always be Writing!
Don’t be discouraged if this all sounds daunting. The most important thing you can keep doing is Write! Don’t be afraid to experiment and tweak things. I have uploaded my book many times and changed my cover so much I have lost count. Remember every Investment you make is an investment in yourself and development as a writer. Be Active. Be Patient. Get the basics right and everything will fall into place.