Self-Publishing Checklist – Part 1
Today we’re going to make a Self-Publishing Checklist. Something you can keep on hand when you are ready to publish your book.
Step 1 — Write the book.
Step 1a — Join a critique group like Writers World. You want to put your best work forward when you publish and a critique group is the best way to do this. When you join such a group, make sure you follow the rules. This is also a good time to grow lizard skin. No matter what you think of what you write, there is always room for improvement.
Step 2 — Edit the book. This can be self editing or hiring someone to edit for you.
Step 2a — Start building a web presence. I consider this pre-marketing. Something to let people know what you are doing now and what you plan to do in the future. You can post excerpts from your work, let people know what you are reading or what you have read. Let future readers get to know you as a person. Post personal essays.
Start an author blog, create a Facebook account for you as an author, and create a website. If you are short on funds; Weebly and Wix are two great places to build a free website. Start an email list. For a blog, you can’t beat WordPress. Email list is another good idea to set up early. Mailchimp is the premier one to use.
Step 3 — Send out to beta readers. Don’t kid yourself. This is very important. Beta readers WILL find things that you missed. If someone buys the book and finds these problems, you will end up with bad reviews; something no writer wants to receive.
Step 3a — Book Blurb. Next to a cover, the blurb of your book is as important as the story itself. This is what potential readers will read, and decide whether they want to purchase the book or not.
Read the blurbs of other books. What in the blurb attracted your attention and made you want to read the book? Keep it short and sweet; use key words like ‘mystery’, ‘intrigue’, ‘magic’, ‘revenge’, ‘betrayal’ — whatever fits the story you told. Introduce the main and character and give a hint as to what the book is about. If the book has strong theme, mention this in the blurb as well. Remember, you want to grab the attention of the potential reader.
Step 4 — Have someone proofread before you get into the process of final formatting for the eBook. They can catch missing, words, misspelled words, wrong names used.
Step 5 — Formatting your eBook. Here you have two choices: One you can do it yourself or two you can hire someone to do the formatting for you. Since I’m doing my own formatting, I use MS Word and Scrivener for the formatting. Yes, I do my own ebook formatting and compilation.
Step 5a — Parts of a book. You need to know what the parts of the book are:
Dedication Page (optional)
Table of Contents
Preface or Acknowledgments
Art (if you include a map for a fantasy world)
Body of the book (the story)
Back matter — author bio, promotional blurbs about other books, excerpts from other books, a lengthy acknowledgment section, Notes on any research you did, links to your website, etc. In nonfiction, appendices and the index.
Step 6 — Book cover. A cover can make or break a book. This is the first thing a potential reader sees and you must make a great impression. You can hire someone to make the cover for you, you can use Canva, My Cover Maker, or use a program like Photoshop or Gimp. Pixabay is a great pace to find images to turn into covers. Yes, I make my own covers. I’m on a very tight budget.
Step 7 — Create an eBook. Two reasons for this: One, you need to see how it looks in an eBook reader, make sure the formatting turned out the way you wanted it to. With various eReader apps that are out there, you can check out how it would look in all of them. One I use is Calibre. Two, read through the book like any reader would, make note of any mistakes you come across. Go back to the document and fix them.
Step 8 — Obtain ISBNs. What is an ISBN? International Standard Book Number. It is a 13-digit number that’s used as a unique identifier for books. ISBN is used internationally. The ISBN for a book is like a social security number for you. If you plan to sell printed versions of your book in bookstores, you will need an ISBN for it. Bowker’s is the place to purchase these if you are self-publishing. If you are publishing an eBook through Amazon or Barnes & Noble you do not need an ISBN. If you are unsure about other sites where you want to sell your eBook through, check their publishing requirements.
Step 9 — Copyrighting. “Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of original works of authorship.” [United States Copyright Office]
From the United States Copyright Office Website — Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.
1) The symbol ©
2) The year of first publication
3) The name of the copyright owner
© 2015 [Author Name or Publisher]
Part 2 I will post tomorrow 😀
May the words ever flow!