How to self publish. (Creating a publishing checklist. Part Two.)
In a previous blog, we covered the publishing steps taken up to formatting. In today’s blog I will talk a little about the steps after that and what happens up to publishing and beyond.
Decide on a price
With paperbacks this is partly dictated by how many pages you have but you have to choose a price where you are comfortable with the amount of profit you make per book versus how much a reader is willing to pay.
Remember, a reader doesn’t care that this is your life’s work and you have spent years crafting it. Price it too high and they will look elsewhere. I’ve experimented over the years and £1.99 for Kindle and £7.99 for paperback seems to be the sweet spot. I’m a bit more established now so maybe could charge a little more but not going to risk it yet.
Upload to Amazon
There are many steps here but luckily, KDP is very intuitive. You will need to have written a blurb for Amazon that includes keywords to help in searches.
Decide on which genre/categories your book fits into. This is still something I struggle with but it’s important to get right.
You will need to make a decision on whether to go with KDP Select. This limits you to only selling on Amazon but does give some additional promotonal tools and KDP Unlimited readers can be quite profitable. At present I am using it but may change my mind at a later date.
You can decide to allow preorders but as I go for a soft launch, I’ve chosen not to do this.
As mentioned above, I do a soft launch so I can iron out any issues. You can order a proof copy of the paperback so you can validate it before it appears on Amazon.
With the Kindle I like to see it on Amazon and download my own copy and check that everything is okay.
If this is your first time, the temptation is to shout about it but no matter how much care you have taken, you will have made handful of mistakes so better to iron them out before the general public see them.
Once the books are on Amazon and available and you have ironed out any issues, you want the world to know.
Ensure that you copy the links correctly and test them on various devices. Update your website with the links and add widgets so that people can go directly to the page on Amazon.
Social media is crucial but understanding how each platform works and when the best time to post, which hashtags to use etc will help you get the best results. Do as much research as you can and study analytics.
This is not an exact science but roughly 7pm at night is a good time to post.
Write a press release and send it to any relevant publications using any connections you have. This time I got some professional photos taken by my mate Steve and it does make a difference.
If you subscribe to Writing Magazine, let them know. Troll Life is on their website and I am going to feature in a physical copy of their magazine soon.
Ideally you will have a mailing list. Email them with a newsletter about the launch.
Contact local radio stations. I’ve not done it yet for Troll Life but have appeared a number of times on the radio in the past. Student radio is a good place to start as they are always looking for guests and it gets you used to the feeling of being in a studio and being interviewed live on air.
If you have other books on KDP, update them so they have a preview of your new book at the back including a link.
Decide on an advertising strategy. I’ve yet to find one that works quite the way I want it although Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) in America returns a profit on investment. Considering that the US isn’t my natural market, I would love to see the same model in the UK.
Consider doing a promo video. If you are going to do it, make it professional but it is another avenue to explore
If you’ve created a paperback with your own ISBN you will need to notify Nielsen so it can be added to their catalogue.
I only recently discovered that you are also legally obliged to send copies to the British Library and also the Scottish, Welsh and Irish ones as well as Oxford and Cambridge universities. More details can be found here.
At first I balked at the expense but when I had a letter saying my books were now available in the British Library, it made me realise that maybe I am a writer after all.
It’s difficult to cover the whole process in two blogs and I have skirted over a few items on the list. The list will grow organically over time and I will continue to refine the process. If you think I have missed any steps or would like more information, please let me know.
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.