Should you Self-Publish? There are Pros and Cons for this argument. If you’re in it to make lots of money or sell badly done books quick – then stay away from Self-Publishing. Sure, you can make lots of money – though it’s not that easy – and given the bad press that can be attached to Self-Pub due to badly formatted/devised/edited books – you should only do it if you are committed and serious about it.
Below you will find summaries of the stages that I went through to bring the best that I could to the market, including costs and persons used. Please note that I will not go into gigantic detail because I don’t want to bore you and turn this page into a novel itself.
There are 7 Key Areas
- Cover Design
- Creating the Ebook
- Creating the Paperback (Optional)
- Details of Book
First Draft - This couldn’t start with anything simpler than write the novel. Whether you have a plot in mind or you’re going with the flow, just get it down. Think Less = Write More. First drafts are never going to be perfect.
Redrafting can be twice as painful as the first draft. You have to identify areas that aren’t working and be prepared to change them. Remember, if you spot an error/bad prose/inconsistency or dire dialogue, so will the reader. Don’t cheat them – sort it out. How long after the first draft should you redraft?
BETA Read - When you’ve got the novel to a level that you believe is good, get it BETA Read or Critiqued by someone independent of you such as a Writing Group. Unless you can be sure that a relative/friend isn’t going to be kind in their criticism/pointers – steer clear of them. Take back the comments and redraft again.
Self-Edit the novel. Yes – it may feel like you’re covering old ground, but try to correct minor errors. Overall it will help you to make the novel tighter. I also recommend doing a paper-edit; I notice more mistakes on paper than screen editing.
Copy-Edited – I can’t stress enough how important it is to have someone else look over your work. No matter how perfect you think that your grammar and knowledge of your novel is – errors can occur.
Costs for external editing can differ. I have used several in the past. For the Divided Worlds Trilogy, I use Stephanie http://edit-my-book.com - Her rates are excellent as is her response time. She charges €3.50 per 1,000 words.
(Note to other Editors, feel free to add your details and rates in the comments section).
Read Again – When you receive your edited novel – don’t just accept all the changes. Have a skim read again to see if the changes affect the fluidity of the novel.
Proof your novel – This is like the copy edit whereby the final checks are done. Only do this when you are at the final stage of getting your novel ready for the ebook or paperback stage. Again, I used Stephanie who charged me an extra €1.00 per 1,000 words when I took the combined Copy-Edit and Proof-Read package.
Should you spend extra to have a good cover created. YES. Some will say that the content matters more. I don’t agree. Would you pick up food, clothing, or a car if the packaging appeared as if corners were cut?
There are many places where you can go to have a professional cover made. I used Deviantart to find the right artist – Sendol Art Studio - that shared the image that I had in my head. I then communicated with them to create the character art for the Divided Worlds Trilogy.
For each of the three books – the cost for the character art was £160
Yes, it is steep, but I wanted to make instant impact on the covers.
The lettering, background and placement of the art was done by me using Photoshop. If you know someone who has this, liaise to have them improve your cover. I am happy to be contacted to help with covers.
There are 2 definite formats that you will require your novel to be in to be ready for uploading – Mobi (for Kindle) and ePub (for iBookStore).
Formatting – So you have the perfect manuscript in Word – too bad that you now have to convert it and format it to be ready for uploading. There are many websites, books, guides, and people in the know that can advise on how to do this.
I on the other hand used someone that I found on the web to format (in terms of Chapter Breaks, Table of Contents) and convert into the Mobi and ePub format for a combined fee of £15 per book. Andreea Andronache can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Test – Once you have the files, test them on the Kindle, iBookstore applications, whether it be iPad, iPhone, Android, etc. If they do not satisfy you, let the formatter/converter know – and unless you have changed the file, they should correct at no additional cost.
Create Kindle Account – For simplicity, I am placing the Divided Worlds Trilogy on Amazon’s Kindle Platform to take advantage of KDP Select where you can have some Free days. Before setting up an account – please contact you bank and obtain the IBAN and BIC codes. You will need these to enable payment.
Upload to Kindle – This couldn’t be easier. Upload the Mobi file, state the Book Name, Sub-Headers, the Category, and a suitable description to entice the reader. I hate wordy descriptions, and provide the blurb instead. You can’t upload until approx 10 days prior to release, so don’t try to do this 2 months before release. It is at this point that you would upload the Covers too.
This is optional – but if you’re going to do an ebook – why miss out on the part of the market that still likes to hold and smell paper?
I used the fantastic Createspace Publishing Arm of Amazon.
Create a Createspace Account – It’s as simple as setting up a Kindle Account. Again, you will need the IBAN and BIC Codes from your bank.
Set Size – There are standard sizes for the book such as 5″ x 8″, or you can set your own, ie: 6″ x 9″. There are many variations of this. Publishing companies have the power to set prices regardless of pages. For Self-Publishing that option is a little more complicated.
If you have 60k Word Count novel sized at 5″ x 8″ it will come to approx 300 pages. However, if you have the 6″ x 9″ size, the pages will drop to approx 250 (or less). The less pages you have, the less it will cost to create the novel and that in turn means a better return in terms of sales.
Let me try again…
60k Novel sized at 5″ x 8″ = 300 Pages = Priced at £6.99 = £0.49 Royalties gained.
60k Novel sized at 6″ x 9″ = 250 Pages = Priced at £6.99 = £0.99 Royalties gained.
Not a huge amount of difference in royalties, but the size of the book and the thickness is varied. It is entirely up to you as to what feels right. Will someone pay £6.99 for a novel that 1/6 thinner than another? Will a book feel too small for its content, or too big when on a shelf with other novels. This is subjective.
I go for 5″ x 8″ and price my novels at £6.99 and $7.99 to compete with mainstream publishers.
Download Page Template – Once you have set your size, you can download a Word file that is set to the size. It’s a handy way of transferring your (Pre-Mobi/ePub) file to the way that it would look when printed.
It does take time, and you would have to do one chapter at a time. Be patient. It will be worth it.
Tip: Now is the time when you can add dedications, fancy text, maybe some b+w images, that it is advised not to do in eBooks. If you do add funky font for the Chapter Headers, then ensure that you save the file as a PDF, or it won’t work.
It is at this point you will now the exact page count for your novel.
Createspace will also produce a template that can be used to build the wraparound cover. Again using Photoshop/Illustrator to get that polished look is advised.
Upload – Upload the manuscript and the cover, and review online.
Proof – After submitting, Createspace will check that the file meets their requirements. Once you get the tick, you can have an actual paperback sent to your home address to make the final checks.
The feeling of the book in your hands is awesome.
Once totally happy – sign off the proof – and ‘boom’ it will appear on Amazon (usually after 2 days).
I won’t say much about this except that you must ensure that your details, descriptions, and release dates are consistent for both the eBook and Paperback.
And don’t be greedy with prices.
Getting the novel out there does cost – but if you have overcharged – and the novel isn’t good – readers will remember ‘their’ investment.
The image says it all – as does this post on ways I promoted.
If you’re planning to have a period where discount your novel – use www.BookBub.com to advertise it.
Try and get into the local paper.
Giveaway copies on Goodreads and leave some behind in shops/trains.
Most of all – Write more novels and don’t just rely on one to make you rich and famous. The greatest message is to increase coverage.
AND – Don’t get mad if someone gives you a bad review. Don’t get into argument. Accept it and move on – except where it borders on malicious and intended to harm you. Readers are entitled to their reviews.
Please feel free to correct, add, discuss, and share your experiences below.
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