Commenter, author, and blog-follower Adriana asked if I would put together a checklist for self-publishing. A comprehensive checklist is probably impossible, as it would include a whole lotta marketing stuff (I recommend you make your own, tailored marketing plan, especially for your first book). But here’s a checklist that will hopefully help point you in the right direction for getting that first book uploaded and on sale.
These are my best recommendations (i.e. unless you’re a professional designer, I recommend hiring a designer, etc.). YMMV
- Decide if you really want to self-publish this novel
- see my Seven Questions to Ask Before Self-Publishing
- make a business plan
- have goals beyond this book
- Hire a copyeditor
- Send several copyeditors a 5-10pg sample to edit and get quotes
- See who fits your style as well as your pocketbook
- Plan ahead – I highly recommend my copyeditor Anne Victory of Victory Editing, but she books up months in advance. The editing job itself can take a couple weeks.
- Hire a cover designer
- Peruse the top 100 books on Amazon in your category. You want your cover to sit comfortably next to these.
- Get recommendations, peruse the galleries of several cover designers to get a feel for their work, and ask them for quotes
- Once you’ve got a contract for the work, make sure you work closely with your designer to get the end result you desire. The actual work can take days or weeks, depending on the schedule of the designer.
- I highly recommend Dale Pease, my cover designer – he has 20 years experience designing magazine covers, and it shows. Also: he’s a genius.
- Order any swag you might need. I’m not a fan of lots of swag – it’s costly and doesn’t have a high ROI (Return on Investment) – but I highly recommend professionally designed bookmarks. Dale designed my bookmarks, and I had them printed through gotprint.com.
- Incorporate your edits from the copyeditor
- Format your ebook – hire someone to format, or do your own.
- Format your print book – send off for proofs (this will take a couple weeks total turn-around, so plan ahead for print, or release print separately)
- Proofread – send it to at least one other friend, plus proofread the book yourself on both the ebook and print version. For print, I usually read backwards, trying to catch every last typo.
- Upload to the Big Four retailers (Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo) – these take between 12 hours and 4 days to go live, so plan ahead
- Add your book to Goodreads (you may want to do this earlier, even before you have a cover, as a placeholder for advanced buzz)
- Announce your book on all your social networks and newsletter/email; add your cover and links to your email signature, board profiles, FB page, and anywhere else you can get away with it.
IF YOU’RE DOING ADVANCED BUZZ
- Four to six weeks from publication, announce the book, reveal the cover, put your marketing plan into play.
- Send your ARC to reviewers (note: do this AFTER the copyeditor – while ARC technically means BEFORE copyediting, you don’t need to give reviewers any more reason to complain about low quality indie books by handing them a product that’s not finished)
In other news: Draft Two of Free Souls is complete and off to my critique partners. I’ll be spending the day pretending I’m not sick and catching up on some critiquing of my own.
One more Tips N Tricks then we’ll be back to our normally scheduled programming…