Here’s something for you if you’re planning on self-publishing. This is a simple guide that you can print out and then check as you go along. The idea of self-publishing is overwhelming so this will help you keep it simple.
Get a book website and/or blog. Why? How else will people find your book? Gone are the days when shoppers might stumble upon you book while browsing in a store. Unless you’re connected and out in cyber-space, nobody will know about you. Why a blog? Because people like fresh information. Think about something you want to write about. I’m writing about living and writing my best chapter. My friend, Marylin Warner, writes about her mother in a moving, literary, well-received blog here. Liz Jansen writes about motorcycling and spirituality here. If you are planning to publish a book about finances, write a finance blog with spiritual insights as James Altucher does very successfully here. (He also has terrific information on why he decided to self-publish his books.) Another stellar personality in the self-publishing world is Catherine Ryan Howard here. She has terrific information written in a hysterical way. I know we think people should pay for our perfectly brilliant paragraphs but the reality is that people get 76 % of their information for free. I just made up that figure but it seems about right. You want to draw people to your book through your blog. I use wordpress.com because it’s easy and the price is right.
Register for accounts at CreateSpace (or your printer of choice), Amazon, Smashwords. At smashwords, you have access to apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble. Through createspace, you can publish your book as a paperback. I chose createspace because it’s POD—print on demand. I kill trees only if absolutely necessary. Createspace walks you right through the publishing process. Remember, amazon doesn’t care if you’re Danielle Steele or a mother of six living in the Galilee. The goal is to sell books. Amazon has leveled the playing field.
Buy an ISBN if you’re not working through CreateSpace. This was my biggest mistake. I went out and bought ISBN numbers for the many books I plan to self-publish through my company, Kent & Cordell. It sounds gloriously pretentious, right? I was going to pretend that two bookish guys with tortoise-shell glasses run this publishing company and chose my book. The reality is, you can get an ISBN number for FREE if you self-publish through createspace. If you want to pretend you were published by a vanity publishing house, then buy an ISBN number via bowker.com. (You need to then go to their myidentifiers.com website.) Or, contact me. I have a few extra numbers lying around!
Get a professional editor to proofread and perfect your manuscript. I spoke about this in the Tool for Tuesday. Everyone needs an editor!
Hire a cover designer. If you want your book to look professional. Do you know the word schlock? Many self-published books look like schlock: the letters are bunched together or flying off the page. You want your book to look like a real book, don’t you? UNLESS, of course, you are only selling an ebook. Then you can use the createspace cover templates. I did for two of my stories and they look fine. See here. (You can download that story for free using amazon’s free library system on your kindle.)
Hire interior graphic designer. This is really for a printed book.
Write tagline (one or two sentences). This is the line you use when you do publicity – my book, The Mom Who Took off on her Motorcycle, has the tagline, “Life Lessons on the Road to Alaska.”
Write back-cover text. Follow the form! Pick up any book you like and look at the back cover. Write yours in the same style — to entice someone to read your book!
Write interior pages (copyright, dedication, table of contents, acknowledgements.) These are always satisfying.
Identify potential reviewers. How do you do this? Read Gila Green’s interview about finding book reviewers. Ask freelance writers you know. Ask friends of friends. Ask on Facebook, twitter, linkedin. For The Mom Who…I contacted John Chancellor, who is a top reviewer at amazon. He also has a fabulous inspirational website here.
Schedule book signings, public speaking engagements and other promotional activities. If possible, get a fantastic quote for back and/or front cover. “Wonderful job, Sheldon!” – Doris Berdichevsky on her son Sheldon Berdichevsky’s book. I hope you can do better than that. Ask around.
Order and proofread print and digital copies. Make sure you book looks good on the page and as an ebook. I know I have a few editing mistakes to clean up for my next edition.
Upload to Amazon and Smashwords. Only when you are sure that you have the final copy of the book. And make sure that whatever you’re self-publishing is what you’ve written, nothing you have plagiarized. Make sure that you are ready.
Sign up for Amazon Author Central. Once you’re self-publishing and selling on amazon, you get an author’s page where you can put videos and reviews.
Make the most of your Amazon Author Central page.
Select book launch date. Choose a date when you are absolutely ready, after you’ve built up a bit of an audience and you can tweet about it and send out copies.
Upload book cover image to your internet pages. You can do this about three weeks before your launch to get people interested.
Launch book! Keep selling.
Write your next book. And the one after that.
Don’t rush to self-publish. Give yourself at least six months to make sure everything is all set. Good luck! Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Please, we all want to hear from you!
- CreateSpace: One Way to Get Your Book Out There (christineevelynvance.wordpress.com)
- To Print or Not To Print (walkinginthelightpublishing.com)
- Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know (reviews.cnet.com)
- 10 Things I’ve Learned About Being a Novelist (writingishardwork.com)