How to self publish. (Creating a publishing checklist.)
It’s over a month since I launched Troll Life and as the sales come rolling in and I begin work on novel number five, it’s worth reflecting on what goes into the process of getting a book out there. I’ve written extensively on the writing and editing process but one of the main things people want to know is how to self publish.
Troll Life was my fourth novel and whilst I don’t doubt that I still have more to learn, I do have a great deal of experience, mainly learning from mistakes, and I’m going to share some of it here.
Some of this was done before the editing process was finished but we’ll just assume that we began this process once editing was complete.
The publishing checklist
Firstly I created a list in Excel which currently stands at 54 items. I’m sure I’ll add to it and adapt it over time but it’s handy to have just so I don’t forget some of the simple steps in the process.
Set a date
It’s worth having a publishing date in mind. Have both a soft publishing date where you can publish and iron out issues and a public publishing date when you announce it to the world.
Once a date is set, you can choose to allow preorders. I chose not to as it doesn’t leave any room for manoeuvre if there are issues but it is certainly worth considering.
It’s also worth considering whether you will be on Amazon exclusively with KDP select or on other platforms such as iBooks. I don’t have the space to go into my decision making process but for now I’ve chosen KDP select.
I’ve had some traumatic times with covers and this one was no exception. It went through many iterations and I canvassed a lot of views before settling on the final version.
You will need to create both a Kindle and Paperback cover and also create the blurb for the paperback.
Once you are happy with your cover, you can do a cover reveal on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to gather some interest.
I’m assuming you have a website, if not you should have. By now you have a cover, you know what the book is about and the launch date so you have enough to create a new page on your website and update any menus and links.
Once the book is launched you can add links and widgets so people can purchase it.
Additions to book
You have your novel or work of non-fiction but you need add an ISBN (either free one from Amazon or bought from Nielson etc). That then gets added to the copyright page in the paperback.
You will need to add page numbers, title page, acknowledgments, a dedication, a request for reviews and maybe excerpts from your other books to encourage readers to buy your other work once they’ve finished this book. You may have to adapt them slightly for Kindle and paperback but they are roughly the same.
I write using Scrivener and compile from there. For the Kindle it is worth spending the time ensuring that it looks exactly how you want it to. You can use a Kindle previewer or email it directly to your Kindle to check.
The paperback takes more work again with you needing to decide on font type, size and line spacing. Stick with a traditional font like Times New Roman. Not only is what readers expect, it surprisingly can save a massive amount of space on the page and therefore reduce printing costs. Size 11 is probably the smallest font you can get away with and 1.25 line spacing.
I compile into Word then save as a PDF, embedding any formats that I have used for the title page etc.
This should be enough to get you started but we are only half way at this point. I will do another blog soon completing the process.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments.
You can buy Troll Life here.
If you would like a free Kindle copy of my first novel, Leg It, please sign up for my mailing list using this link.