I have spent a lot of time seeking advice from other indie authors on this blog, and I just wanted to provide a run-down of what I actually did in regards to the publication of my first novel – on kind of a step-by-step basis. Hope it helps anyone who is in the midst of their self-publishing journey!
- First Draft
- Sent out a sample of chapter 1 to many different editing companies (they offer a sample for free) –> Found the right match with wordsru.com –>Revisions based on feedback I received
- Draft –> Developmental Editing (wordsru.com)
- Revisions of draft –> Copy/Line Editing (wordsru.com)
- Additional revisions/changes –> Reading fee / copy editing on new additions (wordsru.com)
- Final Draft –> Proofreading (wordsru.com)
- Two additional checks for proofing (just in case anything was missed)
- Final Draft –> Beta Readings
Formatting: I originally planned on hiring out for the formatting process. I was terrified of messing it up. I was going to spend the $250 or so on it – but after reading the Smashwords style guide & Createspace guidelines – I realized I had already formatted my book almost to their standards. Why pay out then? After a frustrating few days, I was able to tweak my book to meet the guidelines, and I managed to upload with zero errors for e-books in epub & mobi, as well as my paperback book. On my 2nd book – I will start the formatting process from the beginning (not at the end!)
Cover Design: I hired ebooklaunch.com to create my cover. After feedback on the first cover, I realized it was not the right cover. I paid a little extra money, and my designer was able to provide me with a new cover –and I love it.
ISBNS: I decided to purchase my own ISBNs. I bought the block of 10. It made much more sense to buy 10 then to purchase 1, especially because I used 3 ISBNs for my first novel. Originally I thought I could just use 2 ISBNs (1 for e-book, 1 for paperback). When I uploaded my manuscript to Smashwords- I read that they like a different ISBN then one used for Kindle. So, my Kindle Edition has its own ISBN. One of the reasons I wanted my own ISBNs- is that eventually I plan on using Ingram Sparks (which requires your own ISBN).
E-BOOK- I uploaded to Kindle directly and made my book available for pre-order. I then chose Smashwords as the distributor for my e-books everywhere else. I would have preferred to upload to itunes directly, but I heard you need a MAC to do that (and my MAC suffered a brutal death last year). I like that Smashwords allows you to choose the amount you want to have readers sample from your book – I only wish that percent was the same in all the places they distribute your book (B&N, Kobo, etc.). What I don’t like about Kindle Pre-Order –is that they don’t allow readers to SAMPLE your book at all until the day of the release. I usually don’t purchase books until I have sampled them (unless they are by an author I am already an avid fan of). I have also offered a long preview/sample of my book on goodreads (pdf file).
CREATESPACE – I chose Createspace (without extended distribution). I set my price to be the same as my competitors for a 6×9 copy. When perusing the bookstores (most books were between 8.99-10.99- so I chose 9.99). You make less money on a paperback if purchased through Amazon and not Createspace than on an e-book, but I did not want to increase the price of my book to make more (especially as an unknown author). I don’t anticipate selling many paperback copies right now, but I will use those for giveaways, etc. *I did not chose extended distribution because I am in the NEGATIVE for every book sold at my price range – and as I said, I did not want to increase my price.
INGRAM SPARKS – I will be uploading my book to IngramSparks soon (which will be my avenue for extended distribution). In order to have a chance in Hades at getting your book into any brick and mortar store – you must choose a 55% wholesale discount/accept returns. 55% discount means: the bookstore gets the book at 40% less than retail (because 15% goes to Ingram). You pretty much make no money on this though after printing costs, which is why most people choose the 40% wholesale discount –but that means (25% less than retail for bookstore, 15% for Ingram). Most bookstores will not go for that – not enough skin in the game. Considering this is my first book, and I do not anticipate getting into a bookstore (even at the 55% wholesale discount – I will probably just choose 40% and sell online).
- I went with Xpresso Book Tours for a book blitz to be held Sept 15th-18th (my book is released the 15th). There will be giveaways through rafflecopter.
- Press Releases – I have sent out press releases to a few local places (online sites) – for an article about my novel (as a pre-order). I have heard back from one newspaper so far (out of the 4)- who have accepted my press release. I will send the majority of my press releases out post release of my book for 1 main reason. *Since the majority of clients seem to purchase e-books through Amazon (and since Amazon does not provide a sample) – I worry that this will discourage pre-order sales, so I think it is best to wait on marketing until the book is out & people can download a free sample.
- Goodreads – will have a giveaway
- Local Event – I will be having a book launch/release party at a local restaurant, which happens to be a supporter of my work & will have signed copies/giveaways, etc.
- Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook
- Author webpage
Am I forgetting anything? Any questions you want answered? Anything you did differently or would suggest? Thanks for reading! Check out a copy of my novel at: Amazon, Kobo, or B&N & download a free sample of the 1st six chapters on Smashwords or the first 8 chapters on goodreads!
*BTW- for those who have submitted work to “Authors to Read” – I am happy to report that a lot of traffic to that page is coming from pinterest – so definitely use pinterest when you are marketing your book(s)!