Saturday, July 6, 2013

How Do You Self Publish?

As most of you know, I decided to indie publish my novel THECONSEQUENTIAL ELEMENT. I attempted to go through the traditional channels, and actually was accepted by an agent and a publisher, but ultimately chose to go the indie route instead. There are several reasons for this long and thought-out decision; one being that I didn’t like the contract… at all. The traditional contract that was presented to me was very much like the standard traditional contact offered to many new authors. The biggest drawbacks were the giving up of my rights, and making little money. This is my first novel. I’m sure there are going to be mistakes, the writing – though good - may not be up to top professional standards just yet, and there is still much for me to learn. Though I have no doubt about my abilities as a writer, and I know that I will reach the top standards of the pros, but because of my desire to learn the craft to the best of my ability, I decided to go the indie route. I want to learn the ropes on both sides. I will seek the traditional route in the future with other novels, but for now I feel confident that I’ve made the right decision for me.

With that said, it has afforded me a great deal of learned experience in the entire process of writing and getting published for fiction writers. (Like that plug for this blog, huh? Pretty slick, don’t you think?)

What Do You Do When the Book is Completed?
Well, if you’ve chosen to go the indie route, and you are positively, absolutely, undoubtedly sure that your book is to the best it can be, and you want to publish to Amazon Kindle, then you go to Amazon’s KindleDirect Publishing and Get Started. 

You’ll be able to:
* Enter product details
* Upload and preview book content
* Confirm publishing rights
* Enter pricing and royalty information

That’s it! Sounds simple, right? 

Make Sure Your Book is Properly Formatted

Filling out the information is a breeze, no kidding. The hard part was making sure the book was properly formatted. You will spend a good amount of time on this. You will read and re-read your work numerous times, review it in the Reviewer for layout, submit it, then realize you forgot to thank someone, or you didn’t do your dedication page, or you forgot a chapter header. Whatever, you will need to take it down and fix it, and then resubmit. Each time you submit, you go into a Review status. It can take up to 24 hours for the review to be completed and you go live. So try to have all your ducks in a row before you submit.

You’ll also have to have your cover art complete. This is separate from your interior and will require different skills. If you have your own cover art, you can upload it to the site. You will be able to review this also before submitting to go live. If you don’t have a cover yet, you can design one on this site. They have numerous templates to choose from, and from what I saw, it seemed pretty easy to do. I designed my own cover so I utilized the upload service.

Little Notes of Interest

Before you hit Save and Publish, you’ll want to make sure you’ve checked a few things, like;
* Layout and design of the interior: are you going to have a copyright page, dedication page, acknowledgements page, a poem or blurb related to the story, and/or a table of contents page as front copy? If so, look around to see what the order of those pages should be. Mine is in the order mentioned here.

 * Are you going to have any back copy? A photo? Check out this link to see how it’s done. People will know shoddy work.

 * Keywords: when they say you have up to five keywords you can choose, they don’t mean individual words. You can use a stream of words, such as; Action & Adventure, International Thriller, Rare Earth Elements, Discoveries, Mystery & Suspense. Often, people are not aware of this and choose single words that help little in placing them efficiently among the genres.

Do You Want a Hard Copy?

I wanted to make my book available in hard copy so I chose to use Createspace. It was easy enough, but I did have some trouble with my cover art. Like I said, I created my cover myself, so the specs were off from what Createspace required. I submitted it, got rejected, and resubmitted 6 times before it was finally accepted, and even then they had to tweak it a little for me. I just ordered the hard copy to proof. Once I receive it in the mail and provide my go-ahead, then my book will be live to buy as a hard copy. And it will be linked through Amazon so customers can order it there, as well.

This is the current position of my journey thus far. As new things occur I will be happy to share. Tell me about your trek through the indie published world. What worked for you? What didn’t?

Be sure to check back in a week or so when I will be discussing marketing techniques. I’m trying a few out and will let you know how they’re working for me.

Until then, I wish you all the best on your own special journeys.

Dee Ann