As we are all self-isolating and social distancing, hopefully there are many great books being written during this pandemic. Do you know what happens after you’ve written your book? This guest post just might have some answers for you.
BTW, do you know that it is #indieApril? There are many authors who have taken the self-publishing path, and the business is constantly evolving around us. It can be difficult for all of us to keep up and understand the details.
However, author Richard H. Stephens has some advice for any author who is ready to embrace indie publishing! Keep reading, my friends!
The Publishing Experience
by Richard H. Stephens
It’s That Easy
- Start at: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/
- Set-up profile
- Create new book option to upload book content and book cover.
- Wait up to 72 hours for it to be approved by Amazon.
- You’re a published author.
Well, Maybe Not That Easy.
Points to Remember
When uploading manuscripts, be sure to do the due diligence your masterpiece deserves. Simple editing conventions like page breaks (that’s a biggie) need to be adhered to, but by and large if the manuscript is done on Word (DOC/DOCX), HTML (ZIP, HTM, or HTML), MOBI, ePub, Rich Text Format (RTF), Plain Text (TXT), Adobe PDF (PDF), or Kindle Package Format (KPF), the upload is generally easy. Most fonts are accepted, so whether you are artsy-fartsy or downright serious, it should take the font of your choice. Heck I use Old English, Edwardian Script , Garamond, and Times New Roman in each of my books. (No wonder traditional publishers run screaming when I come their way!)
Uploading your manuscript is easy. As to the cover, maybe not so much. E-covers are fairly straight forward, but print covers come in an infinite amount of sizes; dependent on page length of your book. (You have to allow for the thickness of the spine.) My experience with covers created by cover artists is that they are usually very easy to work with and will send your full wrap cover in the correct size as long as you provide them with the appropriate information: type of paper, CORRECT number of pages, and book size—4×6, 6×9, and many sizes in between. Make sure your cover artist/designer is in for the long haul. They should have the means to resize your cover with ease. Here is a handy little link to figure out your print cover size: File Setup Calculator Don’t worry, it’s safe. It’s from KDP.😊)
Of course, you can design your own cover, and Amazon even provides templates to do just that, but come on, who are you kidding? Unless you’re a graphic artist, it’s best to leave cover creation to the experts. If you don’t think people judge a book by their cover, think again.
Depending on your deadline and how you structure your editing process, you can order a proof copy to check what your book will look like before it goes live. (Stop slobbering—yes, it’s real. You did it!) Proof the contents when it arrives. Depending on what country you live in, you can even buy Author copies at a discounted price.
Publishing options. If you choose Kindle Unlimited, your options to publish e-books elsewhere are negated, but you get to take advantage of the page read pool to generate income. Will you make more money that way? *shrugs his shoulders* Some people swear by it, others, not so much. I’ll leave that to the bean counters. The nice part about self-publishing is that you can opt in and out of these programs with just a little time commitment from you. If you change your mind, just go into your dashboard and make the necessary changes.
You can upload both e-book and print version books directly to Amazon, or to outside sources such as IngramSpark (IS), Draft2Digital (D2D), and many others. The advantage of outside sources (not Amazon) is that many give you access brick and mortar bookstores. A little proviso here. Many independent publishing sites will charge you to re-upload a revised version of your manuscript. Check their policies before committing to them because, let’s face it, you can edit and revise your masterpiece a thousand times and as soon as it goes live, you will inevitably discover that dreaded typo. They are like cockroaches. You can’t kill them.
I am not advocating on Amazon’s behalf, but they are one service that allows you to re-upload an infinite amount of times with no penalty. The revised manuscript may take up to 72 hours to actually go into affect, but my experience is they are normally done within 12 hours. Enough time to binge watch GOT, season 1. The advantage of using Amazon…come on, it’s Amazon, is that no one else in the world compares to their size and the exposure they provide. They control 70% of the market. In the end, it’s ultimately your choice.
Wherever you choose, it’s VITAL that you ensure your name is spelled exactly the way you wish it to appear in all versions (e-book, print, hardcover, audio) so that they link up smoothly on the website of the company you are using.
Please note that hardcover books are not presently offered through Amazon, but Amazon will link to an outside source and try to sell your book anyway, at an increased price.
Now that you are published, set up an Author Page through Amazon’s Author Central. Also create an account with Goodreads. (If it’s on Amazon, Goodreads will have your book listed.) Set up an account with BookBub and list there as well.
Social media? What? You haven’t started the buzz for your book on the web yet? That is something you might want to do prior to releasing your first book. If you haven’t, it’s not too late.
Tweet, tweet, tweet. Get on Twitter and sing!
If you hate Facebook, too bad. Create a Facebook Author Page that piggy backs on your regular profile. (DO NOT set up a separate profile or you will face the wrath of the FB gods. You are only allowed 1 account, but you can set up a separate business page through that account.) The important thing to remember here is to target your audience, NOT other authors.
Lastly, if you’ve managed to get this far with your self-published baby, congratulations. If you still have any hair left, you’ll quickly pull that out as you dip your toe into the advertising side of self-publishing. I’d like to tell you more about that, but I think I need a drink. Cheers.
Now, who is ready to publish? If you are an indie author, please feel free to comment and share your experiences with us!
As for Richard, you should take a moment to check out his books and links! I’ve added those below for easy reference.
And finally, the next post in my Pandemic Survival lessons series will be up next week. You can get caught up and share your experiences too. While martial arts provides many lessons for me, so does writing. I’d love to hear how you are surviving the pandemic, my friends!
Stay safe, stay strong, and keep reading/ writing!
Richard H. Stephens, Fantasy Author
Richard began writing circa 1974; a bored child looking for something to do. A trip to a local bookstore saw the proprietor introduce him to Terry Brooks and Stephen R. Donaldson and his writing life was forever changed.
Richard worked in a warehouse for 22 years, before going back to school. Graduating with honours, he joined the local Police Service.
In 2017, Richard resigned from the Police Service to pursue writing full-time. With the support of his family, he has finally realized his boyhood dream.