You’ve got a story you love so much that you want to put it under the spotlight. You want readers to dive into it and to love it as much as you loved writing it. First of all, congratulations! Completing a story is always a thrilling experience, and I know what I’m talking about. But you’ve still a long way to go.
If you’re choosing the self-publishing path, writing is not the end of the process, only the beginning. You’re not only an author, you’re also a project manager and have to think of it as a business. Because, yes, your books are part of a business.
Finding Maxwell is the first eBook I’ve ever self-published. I wanted to do it right, to offer a product that I’d be proud of. As a bookworm, my expectations were quite high. Not only the story needed to be perfect, but the object itself too (even in digital format). Today, I’m sharing with you 5 things you don’t really think about when choosing self-publication.
Editing and copyediting
Your manuscript is ready, congratulations! You’re now wondering if you should hire an editor and/or copyeditor for your story. Why can’t you simply ask a friend to go through your manuscript and tell you what’s wrong? Well, simply because it’s not your friend’s job to do so. Having a beta reader doesn’t mean you’ll get the feedback you need to improve your story. And it is certainly not your friend’s job to highlight all the grammar and spelling mistakes you’ve made.
One of the biggest errors aspiring authors do is to think they don’t need the help of anyone. After all, this is their book, they can do whatever they want. Well, technically, yes. However, as an author, you want to build a brand out of your name and get the attention of readers. In some cases, you will need the help of a proper editor. The reason is that you have already your nose in your manuscript all the time. Hiring an external person (not a friend or family member who has already a biased opinion on your work) will only do good.
Creating your book cover
As a book lover, my attention is caught by beautiful covers.
The cover is the most important tool to attract potential readers. If that cover is ugly or simply tells a wrong story, you won’t get any readers. And that’s not what you want.
While working on a budget, I hired a designer to do my ebook cover. I briefed him so he could get the essence of my story. When the designer got back to me with a first draft of what the cover would be, I was disappointed. The cover depicted a thriller while the text was in fact a contemporary/adventure genre. It was a cute story which would have been confused with a harder kind of story. And if I had accepted the cover and used it, the readers would have got a wrong impression right away on what the story is about.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for a second, third or fourth draft if needed. The cover needs to get it right and to reflect the heart of your story.
- Getting a cover takes time, so think of it way in advance.
Writing your back cover
It might sound silly, but to present your ebook to potential readers, you’ll need to hook them. Writing a back cover is not an easy task, you want to tell so many things about your amazing story. But the readers don’t need to know so many details, they just have to be convinced your story is worth reading.
My advice: go read your favourite books’ back covers and take your time to analyse them (or you can read K.M. Weiland’s blog post about it).
What good back covers have in common, whatever the genre, is the capacity to sell their stories. They’re not telling you Patty and Arthur will fall in love, they don’t tell you Robert is the murderer. They’re not even telling you this awesome plot twist the writer was so excited about. No, they’re telling you what you need to know to get hooked.
Formatting your ebook
You can format your ebook with a simple software such as Microsoft Word or Page if you’re using a Mac. But I would advise the use of Scrivener. It is a great writing tool, and you can convert your document directly into an ePub or mobi. However, not only you need your story to be impeccably formatted, but also other pages such as the copyright page, the title page, your author bio and so on. Once those pages are done, congratulations, you’ve got a complete ebook.
- Don’t hesitate to try reading your ebook with different eReaders. Kindle Direct Publishing offers to download tools for you to make sure it works as you wish on Kindle. I made many versions of my ebook just to control that everything was on point, from the book cover to the last word.
- Don’t forget to add a call to action at the end of the book, to sign up to your newsletter or to discover your previous books for example. You can also add your social media links and website.
Thinking about distribution
And the last, but not the least: decide on which platform do you want to self-publish your ebook. There are so many out there, you can choose from many retailers available in the digital market: Kindle, Kobo, Apple iBooks, Nook, GooglePlay, etc.
I chose Kindle because Amazon is a pretty huge market in itself, at least for the UK and the US. For a first ebook, I thought that publishing on Amazon was a good start. But of course, not everyone uses Kindle, and you can get more readers (and sales) by selling on other retailers websites. It’s just up to you to choose which one is the right for you.
In the next article, I will talk about one of the biggest questions I had when I decided to self-publish. Hope you enjoyed this post, and see you next week.
How do you prepare your eBook for publication?
Feel free to tweet me @vdvestelle
This article is the first of a series of posts about Self-Publishing on Amazon.
1. Publishing on Amazon: How to get your eBook ready
2. Do you really need an ISBN in digital?
3. What is metadata and how to use it for your eBook?
4. Making Money Writing With Kindle Direct Publishing