Good evening [she says in Bela Lugosi’s Dracula voice] – Yeah, I’m a nerd – But, I have an important update for all of you who might still be contemplating where to publish your books: Collar Me Foxy just hit its 102nd full download since going Free on Smashwords! Now, we celebrate not getting paid? YES! That’s 102 readers that may otherwise never have purchased my book, 102 people who might love it and then spread the word to all of their friends, coworkers, etc. – in other words, 102 free ads I didn’t have to pay for. 😉 So, is it worth publishing through Smashwords? Yes. Is it worth participating in any sale event that lists your book for free? Absolutely!
Of course, the sale is only through Smashwords, so my book is still selling at regular price on every other retail site. Even though I’ve been trying to advertise the free version, not everyone sees those tweets or posts, and some consumers are under the impression that if they have a Kindle they can only purchase through Amazon, when that’s not the case. Smashwords offers the MOBI edition, too. – Just wanted to let all my fellow Indies know for future reference.
This week, we’re entering the final stages of your publishing process. See that checkered flag up ahead? That’s the finish line, my friend! Let’s recap the steps you’ve already taken thus far: You totally nailed finishing your rough draft, conquered your fears and got those beta read revisions done, then shipped your MS off to your Editor. In the interim, you started building your Author Platform, got your Newsletter started, and have shopped around for – or perhaps, already ordered – your book cover. If you haven’t, now is the time to do that. Depending on how you choose to obtain it, depends on how long it will take for you to get your cover. For those who’ve been following these posts all along, this information is probably starting to sound a little redundant, so to save all of our times, here are the links for my articles on book covers: Post 1 , Post 2 , Post 3.
Here’s a Checklist of what you’ve already accomplished:
- Author Bio
- Final Edited Version of your MS
- Social Media Accounts
- Facebook Fan Page – different from a regular user account
- Goodreads Author Profile
- (Optional) Teasers, Book Trailer, Playlist
- Book Cover (self-made, pre-made or professional) Done or Ordered
These are the things that your promoters are going to ask for when you order your book tours, which is something else you should be doing right about now, if you haven’t already. Also, if you’re getting ready to book your tours, that means you’ve already chosen a Release Date – Congratulations! It’s an amazing feeling to have that date circled on your calendar, an obtainable goal within your reach, so take a moment to revel in that feeling of accomplishment. You’re one step closer to becoming a published author. 🙂
Your next step is critical: Interior Layout Formatting. I also covered that a little bit in an earlier post here. Please take a moment to read it over and decide how you’d like to cover this step. I’ll give you my personal experience and opinion in a nutshell: I jumped the gun and hired a professional for my novella, Avarice, and now I’m not even going to be using the two formats I paid over $80 for. I needed to make changes I couldn’t pay the extra money for, and to be honest, I wasn’t impressed with the blahzay title page or chapter headers they used. I wanted to jazz it up a little.
Both Smashwords and Amazon have style guides, but one works just as well for the other, so spare yourself the extra reading. However, they are only for those using Microsoft Word – which, I do not have – so if you’re also using a free word processor like OpenOffice or Libre, message me and I can send you step-by-step instructions on how to apply the right steps to perfect your layout. It seems overwhelming at first glance, but trust me, once you get the hang of it, it’s easy peasy – and you’ll find yourself never using the TAB button again!
If you’re part of the Goodreads support groups, you may have seen an open discussion about this recently. To me, it seems those having a problem with doing their own layouts are not following each step – even though it warns in the very beginning that not following each step will result in failure – so, please have patience young padawan and follow those guides to a T. Collar Me Foxy never saw a lick of trouble in any format (mobi, epub, etc.) and never once got spit out of Smashwords Meatgrinder. If you decide it’s just too much to take on yourself, by all means hire a professional – just make sure your MS is completely done and final so you’re not wasting your money like I did! 🙂
It’s Decision Time, dear Indie. You can’t put it off any longer. You need to decide right now, exactly how you plan on publishing your book. Here’s another look at your options:
- Smashwords: Who will upload it to every other retail site for you, aside from Amazon – including, but not limited to: Barnes & Nobel, iBooks and Kobo.
- Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing: Which allows you to still have it listed everywhere else.
- KDP Select: An exclusive platform that forbids you from selling anywhere other than Amazon, but has a lot of beneficial features that could possibly help sell more of your books.
- eCommerce Website: Selling directly to customers from your own website at 100% royalties to you, and of course can be coupled with every other option aside from KDP Select.
- CreateSpace: Amazon’s Print On Demand platform (it’s imperative to know if you’re going to publish here, since it requires a completely different Interior Layout and Book Cover than an eBook).
Keep in mind that you are not limited to your initial choice. You can always change your mind later on and add or remove your book with any one of these programs (KDP Select does have a certain time you’re obligated to fulfill first). That’s the nice thing about being Independent. Your book = your choice. A traditional publisher chooses the sites, sets the price of your book, and you don’t get a say in it. Next week, we’re going to look at more marketing adventures you can take to help pre-promote your book before its launch date!
♥ Weekly Accomplishment: I got over a small stretch of writers block and started working on Scavenger again with a new found flow of creativity. Just started Chapter Five with only 1 or 2 more chapters to go! What are you celebrating this week? Please share with us in the comments below, so we can cheer you on!