Friday, May 10, 2013

A checklist for electronic self-publishing.

A checklist is a plan of action in sequential order.

Before publishing that first story electronically, having a checklist and following it may be helpful.
Proofread the manuscript with spell check and grammar check turned on.
Have proper end matter in the front of the book, and an author bio either at the front (conventional) or end of the book, (for ease of customer sampling online, as it wastes less space in the preview.)
Check all paragraphs including scene breaks, titles and chapter numbers for normal paragraph style.
Put the proper ISBN number in the front matter. Once you have an ISBN account, and a block of ten numbers, (Canada) it takes about three minutes to generate your own number. It’s also very easy to use Smashwords’ free ISBNs and on Amazon ISBNs are optional. As far as I’m concerned it’s more professional to have them.
Make or get a marketing image. Ensure that it is the proper size. Mine are all 300 dpi these days and usually about 1600 x 2100 or thereabouts.
You want all your stuff ready to go, which is better than writing a hasty blurb in the heat of the moment.
Write a blurb for the book and save it in a .doc file. Write an author bio for yourself and save as a .doc.
Get yourself a good, clean profile pic with some display of personality but also show some restraint. You’re not a circus act, a hip-hop crew or whatever. You’re a serious author.
Sign up for a fresh free e-mail service. Use this e-mail to sign up for Smashwords and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Use this account for all business associated with your name and book or story business dealings. You’ll be using this account to manage Twitter, and other social platforms where you start to get followers. You can follow back from the inbox. (Always check to see what account you’re signed into when following back if you have more than one pen-name.) Personal business can easily get lost in the rash of notifications that we sometimes get.
Use the e-mail to sign up for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Get a free blog, and set it up with your bio, your picture, your name on the header. Use the image widget to link to your book, you can set all this up and call it ‘Coming Soon.’ Write something in a general sense about your book, bearing in mind no spoilers and also that it will be people’s first impression of you as a writer.
Once in Smashwords or Amazon, before you even publish the first book, click around and get a feel for the place. Learn how to make a coupon, or even just find out what ‘distribution channels’ actually are.
Use tags in the product description. I already know The Note will be tagged erotica, memoir, fiction, novelette, Ian Cooper…five to seven tags will be sufficient for any book without going into overkill mode.
Log into Smashwords with your username and password and upload the file, filling in the blanks as you go. Even if the autovetter doesn’t notify you of any errors, download Kindle and Epub files from your new book page, immediately as they go live. Use your desktop versions of Kindle reader and in my case Nook reader apps and check for errors in the formatting of the book. Pretty much all online bookstores have a reading app and you can find one you like with a little shopping around.
If you don’t have them on your machine, make sure you write that into your checklist. Canadians can sign up for ISBN numbers, (free) but it takes a few days to become active, so do it in good time.
(For me, I like to publish on Friday night, Saturday night, or maybe Saturday or Sunday mornings. Publishing on a Tuesday at six a.m. isn’t exactly prime time but if that’s the only time you have, so be it. It takes up to 12 hours to go live on Amazon (U.S.) so if you publish it early in the morning it might pop out into the new releases during the evening hours. Plan accordingly, right? Also, once the book is live, copy the link at the top of the page. Go to your new blog and past the link into the image widget so people who read the blog can click on the link and see it in the store.)
Assuming everything looks good in the Smashwords downloads, wait for it to go through for Premium Distribution (Smashwords) before going too nuts with the promotion. It takes a few days but it gives you some peace of mind about the formatting. (They do not edit your work, your blurb, or your bio.)
Once satisfied with the file, take out references to Smashwords and their disclaimer. Save that version as an .html (web page) and upload that to Amazon. When closing the .doc file, it will revert to the original .doc version you uploaded to Smashwords, who keep a copy on file anyway. It’s at the bottom of your book page.
Doing things in sequential order and checking them off as you go along just makes things a whole lot easier.

Comments are always welcome.

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