You’ve worked for months, or maybe even years to finish your first book. As you stare at the words you just typed on the last page, a frightening thought enters your mind…now what? I remember that feeling. I remember the excitement I felt to finish writing my first book, but I also remember the fear of not knowing what I would need to get my masterpiece published.
Many of us dream of being a famous author. We wonder what it would be like to have people reading the words we struggled to put on the pages. We’ve come to love the characters in our story as they came to life in our minds, and we’ve enjoyed taking them on their journey. However, the time has come to let them go and give them to the world.
The first thing you’ll need to do is to find a good editor. While you may believe our book is perfect, an editor can give you a good healthy dose of reality. Surviving your first edit is a growing experience. Nothing makes you realize you don’t have a firm grasp on the English language quicker than to receive your manuscript back from the editor with those dreaded editing tags with suggestions for you to consider changing in your book.
When I saw the right-side of my document filled with those tags, I nearly closed the file and walked away from my computer. Surely, someone with that many suggestions could NEVER be a professional writer. Apparently, I didn’t have the firm grasp on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and reading flow I thought I had.
The important lesson I learned that day was writing is not only a creative endeavor but is one of learning and tossing aside all those bad habits we’ve all picked up over the years on social media.
So, you’ve survived the editing process and now it’s time to make that important decision… do I shop my book around to traditional publishers or do you take the Indie Published route. That’s an important decision. However, since I chose the Indie Published route that is where my knowledge is, so let’s get started.
I’m sure most of you have bought an ebook from one of the many distributors such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes just to name a few. Well, in order for those books to look good on your e-reader they must be properly formatted. You ask, what is formatting? Formatting is preparing your document for publishing as an ebook. There are several technical things done during the formatting process such as preparing a working Table of Contents with links to each chapter, setting each page to fit properly on whatever device is used, and there are other features that can be added to give your book that ‘special look’ we all want.
Of course, while our book is being formatted, we need to decide on a book cover. The book cover is more important than most of us realize. You see, the cover gives that first impression a potential reader will have about your book. Does the cover image catch their attention? Does it give them a feeling about your story? Will it look good as a thumbnail? If you can answer YES to those questions then you have chosen a good cover. When I published my first book, I had no idea how to create a book cover. After talking to other authors and doing some research, I found a cover designer to make the perfect cover for my book. However, over time, I decided to learn how to make my own. It was a long learning process but well worth it to me. If you want to see my covers go to the My Books page.
Now, you’re ready to publish.
There are several distributors to choose from. Of course, Amazon is the big guy on the block. Amazon, by far, corners the market on ebook sales, but Barnes & Noble and iTunes are also popular sites for readers to find their next favorite book. I know as a first-time author it can be overwhelming, but it’s really pretty easy. First, always offer your book on Amazon. Next, I would recommend putting it on Smashwords. For those of you who have never heard of Smashwords, it will get your book on several of the popular outlets thus saving you the time and headache of managing different accounts. Pricing your book is also something important to consider. According to most retailers, $2.99 seems to be the ‘sweet spot’ price for a full-length novel and 99 cents seems to be popular for short stories or novellas. I have my full-length books priced at $2.99, but I offer my novellas for FREE. Some may not agree with this practice, but I consider them to be advertising for my writing. You may not want to do this at first, but over time, I find it a valuable thing to offer readers who don’t know who I am.
If you decide you want to have your book in paperback, Amazon has a wonderful service called Createspace. I use it because it’s easy to get my books set up for paperback, and if I don’t want to worry about creating an extra cover for print you can use their cover creator using your ebook cover image. However, you will need to have your book formatted for print because your ebook copy will not work. Yeah, I know, more work.
I do want to warn you about the Smashwords Meatgrinder. It’s not as scary as it sounds. Since Smashwords converts your book to work on several different devices, it’s a little picky on how your book needs to be formatted. They do offer instructions, but if you don’t want to deal with it, be sure you have someone format your book who knows how to get a book through the dreaded Meatgrinder. LOL
So, you’ve done it. You are now a published author. Take some time to enjoy the feeling. Pour yourself a drink, and relish the feeling. However, once the celebration is done…the real work begins… marketing. YIKES! I’ll leave that for another post.
If you want help getting your book ready to publish, I can help for a reasonable price.
I hope this post has answered any of those nagging questions on how to get your book out to the reading public. I wish you much success, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. Now, get started on your second book.