Book Production for the Indie Author

This is Part 5 of my Self-Publishing Made Simple blog series.

Self Publishing Part 5

You have a polished manuscript. You have bought a block of ISBN numbers. You’ve determined how you want to present yourself as a publisher re using an imprint or not.

Now you’ll need to decide if you will be publishing an ebook, paperback, and/or hardcover edition. Finish the copyright page by adding ISBNs for the format of your choice.

Note: If you’re simply going to upload your book to Amazon and participate in their KU program, likely you can use the ISBN number assigned by Amazon. This is true for certain other distributors as well. But keep in mind that this will register them as the publisher on record rather than you. See Part 4 for how to assign book titles to an ISBN number.

Book Descriptions and Tag Line
Write a one-sentence tag line for your book along with short and long story descriptions. If you need help, go here:

Blurb Writer: http://www.blurbwriter.com/
Blurb Bitch: http://www.blurbbitch.com
Karen’s Blurb Service: http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/BlurbService.html
Killion Group: http://thekilliongroupinc.com/

For a paperback, decide if you want a longer blurb on the back cover or a shorter one with review quotes. Remember to leave room for the bar code. You do not need to buy this. Distributors will provide their own bar codes, or you can get one free online. Prepare the back cover copy to send to your cover designer.

Author Biography
Prepare your author biography. This should be written in third person in an engaging manner. List your writing awards, professional organizations, genres, and special interests. Have a long bio, a short bio, and a couple of speaker introductions geared to writers and readers. You’ll need a shorter bio for the online book distributors, where you might want to include the URL to your website or newsletter.

Keywords
Make a list of your keywords. These are phrases readers might use to search for your book. They don’t have to be one word. You can use phrases such as, “mysteries with humor” or “cozy mysteries with pets” or “mysteries set in small towns.” Here’s an example of more keywords for mysteries. Look at the bestseller categories on Amazon for more ideas. https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201276790

Cover Design
Think about a scene or two that you’d like to see depicted on your cover. Also consider your series branding if your book isn’t a standalone. Colors, text, and placement should be consistent from book to book. So should the art style. Look for a cover artist who has a portfolio of books in your genre. Join the writing community to get recommendations.

Pricing
If you’re unsure what to charge, look at other books in your genre with similar page counts to see what the going rates are. What are readers in your genre willing to pay for a print book or a digital copy? 

Formatting
Formatting comes next. You can do it yourself, hire a professional, or use one of the third party aggregates, such as Draft2Digital, to do the conversions for you. What you’ll need will depend on your technical skills and where you plan to upload your book.

Distribution
Before we get into particulars on book distributors, decide where you want your book to be sold. Are you planning to sell it at Amazon alone, perhaps with their Kindle Select program so people can get your book through Kindle Unlimited? Then all you need is a mobi file. For BN, Kobo, and Apple, you’ll need an ePub file. For print, a pdf file is required.

Ebook Distributors
Amazon: https://kdp.amazon.com
Barnes & Noble Press: https://press.barnesandnoble.com/
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/p/writinglife
Apple Books: https://itunesconnect.apple.com
Google Play: Access through one of the Aggregators below

Third Party Aggregators
Draft2Digital, https://draft2digital.com
Smashwords: www.Smashwords.com
PublishDrive: https://publishdrive.com/

Print Options
Amazon KDP Print: https://kdp.amazon.com
IngramSpark: http://www.ingramspark.com/
Barnes & Noble Press: https://press.barnesandnoble.com/

Once you have all these pieces ready to go, you can start uploading to the various book distributors. 

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Coming Next: Ebook Distributors 

Did you miss our earlier posts on Self-Publishing Made Simple Blog Series?
Go here to catch up:
Part 4 – Buying and Assigning ISBNs https://wp.me/paLXP7-4pO
Part 3 – Adding Front & Back Material https://wp.me/paLXP7-4pz
Part 2 – Manuscript Preparation for the Indie Author https://wp.me/paLXP7-4oX
Part 1 – Getting Started as an Indie Publisher https://wp.me/paLXP7-4oQ

CONTESTS

April 15-21 RONE Awards
Please VOTE for Body Wave Audiobook in the RONE Awards THIS WEEK ONLY! Sign in or Register at InD’Tale Magazine, https://www.indtale.com Be sure to click the email confirmation link if you are registering for the first time. Once logged in, go to RONES in upper right corner, hover over 2019 RONE Awards, and click on 2019 RONE Awards Week One that pops up. Scroll down to the Audiobook: Paranormal/Mystery Category and vote for my title, BODY WAVE. 

April 1 – 18 Booklovers Bench
Enter to win a free book from the Prize Vault at Booklovers Bench, including a copy of SHEAR MURDER, #10 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries. https://bookloversbench.com/win-a-free-book-april-2019/ #giveaway #cozymystery

 

Buying and Assigning ISBNs for your Indie Published Books

This is Part 4 in my Self-Publishing Made Simple blog series.

Self Publishing Part 4

Legalities

You’ve prepared your manuscript as per Part 2 and Part 3 below. Now decide if you’ll want to publish your work under your own imprint. If so, create a publisher name and do an online search to see if the domain is taken. If it is available, reserve the domain name.

Register with your State as a “Fictitious Name” or a “Doing Business As” company. You can do this online. Or establish an LLC. Check with your accountant to see which one is right for you. It looks more professional for your book to be published by “XYZ” Press than by the author.

Apply for a county or city business license/tax receipt as required. Note: if you’re 65, you may be exempt from fees but you still have to apply. Check your local regulations.

Open a business bank account. Consider if you’ll be selling your own books and will need to collect sales tax. Otherwise as sole proprietor, you don’t need an EIN number. Use your own SS number as an individual proprietor. Again, check with your accountant or attorney for what’s best for you.

Buying ISBNs

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. Why own your ISBNs?

  • Control over metadata
  • More professional – Your imprint is the publisher
  • More availability to retailers, booksellers, and librarians
  • You need an ISBN to get a barcode, which may or may not include pricing information.
  • You need one ISBN number per format. So for an ebook and a paperback edition, you’d need two ISBNs. For a hardcover, you’d need another one. You do not need an ISBN to publish an audiobook through ACX. You may need one for audiobook distribution elsewhere.
  • Certain book distributors will require you to have your own ISBN.
  • Resource: http://www.ingramspark.com/blog/owning-your-own-isbn-in-self-publishing

Where can you buy them?

Sign in to http://www.Bowker.com  It costs $295 for 10 ISBN numbers. You DO NOT need to buy a barcode or a QR code. You can get these free online by searching for free barcode generators or free QR codes. Otherwise, distributors such as Ingram and KDP Amazon supply their own barcodes. Sign up for emails from Bowker.com so you can be notified of sales.

How to Assign Title Data to Your ISBN(s):

  1. Sign into https://www.myidentifiers.com/ with your username and password
  2. Go to the My Account dropdown menu on the right side of the navigation bar at the top of the page.
  3. Click Manage ISBNs.
  4. Click Assign Title next to the ISBN number you wish to assign.
  5. Complete all fields marked with red asterisks. Be sure you have ready your book’s description, format, price, and author biography.

Title Details

Book title, subtitle, main description, original publication date, language, copyright year, optional Library of Congress Control Number, cover image. 

Contributors

Your author name goes here along with your bio. 

Format and Size

Medium, i.e. Ebook, Digital, Print, or Audio
Format, i.e. Electronic Book Text
Primary Subject, i.e. Fiction, Mystery and Detective, General
Secondary Subject, i.e. Fiction General
Editions and Volumes; Title Volume Number – number of book in a series; Total Volume Number – number of products in a multi-volume work (i.e. box set)
Previous Edition ISBN or New Edition ISBN 

Sales and Pricing

Where is the title sold? United States
Publisher and Imprint. Here is where you put your LLC or fictitious publisher name.
Title Status: Active Record
Publication Date: Fill this in; you can change it later if necessary
Target Audience, i.e. Trade
Price: Currency (US Dollars), Price (3.99) Type (Retail Price)
Series Title Info (name of series) and Series Volume Number 

Hit the SUBMIT button.

You can change or add any of this material, except the ISBN number assignments, at a later date.

If you have another format for the same title, you can click “Clone” next to the first one, select the next ISBN number, and change the data accordingly for the new title.

If this site isn’t working work well for you, switch to a different browser.

Keep your ISBNs handy. You’ll need to add them to your copyright page before formatting and to fill them in when you upload your book to the various distributors.

Do you have any tips on this topic to add?

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Coming Next: Preparing for Book Production

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Self-Publishing Made Simple – Adding Front and Back Material 

This is Part 3 on my Self-Publishing Made Simple series. Today we’re discussing front and back material that you might want to add to your manuscript. In terms of Front Matter, less is better. Some of these items under that category you can move to the back. You want readers to access the first chapter as quickly as possible for the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon. Some authors include a brief story blurb here so ebook readers will remember what the book is about if they don’t get to it for a while.

self publishing part 3

Front Material may include:
• Copyright Page
• Dedication
• Cast of Characters
• Family Tree
• Table of Contents
• Character Timelines
• Map of Setting
• Story Blurb with Review Quotes
• Call to Action for Newsletter Sign-Up

Back Material may include: 
• Acknowledgments
• Author’s Note
• Call to Action for Reviews
• About the Author (Bio + Social Media Sites)
• More Books by [Author]
• Excerpt of Next Title [Note: Don’t call it Chapter One since you already have this title in the book.]
• Bonus Content
• Call to Action for Newsletter
• Buy Links or Website Link

After your story ends, you’ll have the chance to add bonus materials, a list of your books, an excerpt of the sequel, reader discussion questions, and more. Here again you can put a Call to Action for your newsletter. Regarding buy links, keep in mind that certain vendors don’t like you to mention other online distributors. You’re always safe if you give the books page on your website. Otherwise you’ll have to change the buy link for each book distributor.

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Do you have any tips to add regarding front and back material?

Hatsume Fair at Morikami Japanese Gardens

Yesterday we attended the 40th annual Hatsume Fair at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, FL. We’re members of this tranquil garden that also houses the open-air Cornell Café with its lovely view of the lake. Parking was diverted to fields to accommodate the thousands of visitors that attend this spring event.

fair tents

tents

We ate lunch first, figuring it would get crowded later. Then we strolled the paths to admire the colorful flowers, the lake views, and the serene stone gardens. We didn’t spot any of the resident iguanas this time but we did notice this fellow.

purple flowers white flowers

snake

lake view

Food booths vied with sake stations and beer gardens along with retail wares for sale under tents while visitors strolled by, many dressed in costume.

costumers guests in costume

sake station

There were martial arts and drumming demonstrations, plus talks on bonsai plants and painting. While this was all fun, especially the people watching, we prefer to come when it’s quiet and we can enjoy the gardens to escape from civilization if only for an hour or two. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by for a visit.

stone garden

Publix Cooking Class – Guest Chef Timon Ballo

We attended a Publix Aprons Cooking School class last evening featuring guest executive chef Timon Ballo from the Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill with locations in Miami, Las Vegas, and Brooklyn. This popular restaurant features globally-inspired small plates and Spanish-style tapas. The evening’s cooking class was fully booked. We were greeted with a glass of black cherry sangria.

cooking school guest chef

sangria

Next came a Chilled Spanish Ajo Verde Soup that was better than I’d expected. Smoked paprika gave this cold soup a bit of a spicy kick. It would be a good menu choice for the summer. Green grapes and English cucumbers provided the green color, while marcona almonds added a touch of crunch. Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc was served with this soup.

ajo verde soup

The second course was Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese and Pistachio Crumble. I could eat this for a meal along with a salad. It was so good. We learned how to clean and trim fresh beets, then coat them with olive oil before wrapping each one in aluminum foil. These are roasted until tender and then peeled. The goat cheese whipped with heavy cream provided a perfect garnish amid a sprinkle of arugula and crushed pistachios. The chefs dribbled honey on top before serving. La Crema Pinot Noir was the wine with this course.

chef working beets

Pan Roasted Salmon with Spring Vegetables was the main entrée. This was wild caught sockeye salmon, with citrus accents and a medley of fresh sautéed spring vegetables. Another delicious dish. Roth Chardonnay was the perfect wine choice here.

salmon

Dessert was a melt-in-your-mouth Buttermilk Panna Cotta with White Port-Soaked Fruit. This was a pudding-like confection with a berry garnish. Sandeman Ruby Port was a sweet accompaniment to end the evening.

panna cotta

If you have a Publix Aprons Cooking School near you, check out their classes. It’s more fun than an expensive meal in a fancy restaurant and much better priced.

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Self-Publishing Made Simple – Manuscript Preparation

Self Publishing Part 2

Reissuing Your Backlist Titles

1. For older works where you don’t have a cohesive master file, you may need to use a scanning company such as Blue Leaf (http://www.blueleaf-book-scanning.com/). You’ll need a print copy to send in, and it won’t be returned. Send the version that’s the most up to date, i.e. later paperback instead of original hardcover.

2. After receiving your digital copy, review the story to correct formatting errors. Turn on the paragraph symbol in Word and look for weird symbols in between letters, missing or wrong punctuation, misinterpreted words, and misspellings. Search for ^- or an optional hyphen. Look for “die” instead of “the” or the number 1 instead of “I.” Italics might be missing or bolded instead. Look for “rn” coming out as “m”, such as “comer” instead of “corner.” In other cases “tly” might come as “dy”, as in “slighdy instead of “slightly.” Quote marks might be reversed, or there could be section breaks instead of page breaks.

3. If your publisher has provided you with a final pdf file, or you’ve downloaded an ebook file, you can use Calibre Ebook Management (https://calibre-ebook.com/) or Zamzar (https://www.zamzar.com/) to convert it into Word. However, the formatting may be messed up. In this case, copy the entire document onto a blank sheet and save it as a text file. Click on Remove Formatting (see symbol on Home page). Then reformat and save it as a Word file. You will lose italics but any weird justifications will be gone. You’ll have to read through the story very carefully adding in italics and looking for spacing errors or other problems as above.

4. Decide if you mean to revise the work and update the technology in the story.

Original Works

For a full-length original novel, hire a developmental editor and a copy editor/proofreader. Join author groups online and ask for names of editors who have experience in your fiction genre. You don’t want the local newspaper editor who’s your friend. Fiction is about structure and pacing along with grammar. You need an editor familiar with genre conventions. Experience at a publishing house is a plus.

Use a program such as Smart Edit (https://www.smart-edit.com/) to look for redundancies and repetitions. Revise your work as many times as necessary to give it professional polish. Ask beta readers to critique your story. Make it the best it can be and don’t be impatient, or your lack of care will show in customer reviews.

General Formatting Notes

I hire a professional formatter, so this section isn’t in my realm of expertise. However, I can share that we use Times New Roman 12 pt. font, 1 inch margins, indent first line 0.33 inches, Widow/Orphan off, single spacing. I put a page break at the end of each chapter. My chapter headings use Heading 1 so they get marked for the table of contents. The line of each chapter is flush left as per my preference. There are lots more choices here, but I’m not going into further details because your formatting source might advise something different. Or you can upload your Word file to one of the aggregators and they’ll do the conversions for you. More on this in a subsequent post.

The main point of this section is to be sure you have a polished, edited work that you’ll be proud to share. You can hire a formatter or learn how to do it yourself, but that’s later down the road after your manuscript is ready.

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Coming Next: Adding Front and Back Material

Are you interested in reissuing backlist titles or publishing new, original works?

 

Self-Publishing Made Simple – Getting Started

Have you been wanting to indie publish your work, but you don’t know where to begin? Or does the prospective task seem so daunting that it paralyzes you into inaction? Is this even something you can do for yourself, or will you need a “village” to help you along the path to publication?

Self Publishing Made Simple

Let’s think a moment about the difference between a self-published and an independently published author. Anyone can self-publish his work. But an indie author is more likely to be a professional career writer who understands what makes a polished book and what the marketing requirements are to go along with it. He’s not a one-book wonder but is looking to make a profit. With this goal in mind, he treats his career as a small business. But whichever term you use, these same steps apply. I will use them interchangeably in this multi-post series.

We’ll discuss setting up your own imprint, buying and assigning ISBNs, preparing your manuscript, creating front and back material, and options for ebook and print formats.

Getting Started as an Indie Publisher

First let’s look at why you’d like to indie publish your novel. Do you want to become a hybrid author by reissuing your backlist titles or by publishing new works in between your traditionally-contracted books? Perhaps you have a novel that doesn’t fit genre guidelines or a personal project you would prefer to self-publish. Or maybe you have an idea for a nonfiction book that lends itself to indie publishing.

Why should you self-publish your work?

PROs:

  • You have a backlist and the rights reverted
  • You want to publish work in between your traditionally-published novels
  • You have a book that doesn’t fit into a particular genre category
  • You have a nonfiction project that you want to publish on your own
  • You want to direct the publishing process, in terms of:
  • Quality control
  • Pricing and discounts
  • Input on cover and interior design
  • Higher royalties
  • Rights ownership
  • Publication schedule

CONs:

  • Learning curve
  • Time-consuming tasks
  • Production costs
  • Back cover copy, book descriptions, metatags are your responsibility
  • Author/Series Branding is essential
  • Loss of prestige
  • Difficulty getting reviews
  • Limited booksigning and speaker opportunities
  • Tougher standards to join professional writers organizations
  • Bookstores and Libraries may not stock your work
  • Pressure to Produce

Coming Next – Manuscript Preparation 

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What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of independent publishing?

Editing your novel always brings surprises. Here’s the latest one that I found upon doing a final read-through for Perish by Pedicure, one of my backlist titles that I’ve revised for an updated Author’s Edition.

editing your story

HANGAR OR HANGER? This one tripped me up, so I looked for a definition. Guess what? My word choice was wrong. A hangar is a shed or shelter especially for housing aircraft. A hanger is a shoulder-shaped frame with a hook at the top for hanging a garment when not in use.

Here’s the original excerpt from Perish by Pedicure (previously edited by Kensington). Oops, I’ve also started three sentences in this paragraph with “ing” phrases. I’ll change the second one for better grammar.

Old Version:
Imagining how she’d exact restitution, Marla showered, blew out her hair, did her makeup, then pulled on a pair of black slacks and a ruby knit top. Not knowing what to expect at the convention center, she snatched a black Ann Taylor jacket from its hangar in case she would need it later. One more thing. Picking up the telephone receiver, she dialed her salon and left a message that she’d be there that afternoon with the Luxor crew. Thank goodness Georgia had stayed overnight at the hotel, she thought, finishing with a spritz of perfume. Dealing with two houseguests already had her frazzled.

New Version:
Imagining how she’d exact restitution, Marla showered, blew out her hair, did her makeup, then pulled on a pair of black slacks and a ruby knit top. Not knowing what to expect at the convention center, she snatched a black Ann Taylor jacket from its hanger in case she would need it later. One more thing. She picked up the phone receiver, dialed her salon, and left a message that she’d be there that afternoon with the Luxor crew. Thank goodness Georgia had stayed overnight at the hotel, she thought, finishing with a spritz of perfume. Dealing with two houseguests already had her frazzled.

Watch for over usage of the word, “Just” like in this passage where I use it three times.

“And why was that?” Marla asked, noting Ron rushing around the corner. Spotting her, the master stylist halted, looking shocked, but then he just as quickly recovered himself. He must have gotten a look at Sampson’s disheveled appearance. Marla missed Miguel’s response, because just then the hostess called their group. “Wait, Georgia isn’t here yet.”

“She’ll find us inside,” Liesl said, looking very hip in an off-the-shoulder ribbed lavender top. “Let’s go, luv.”

Twenty minutes later, Marla got worried when Georgia hadn’t shown up. Her friend knew they were meeting everyone at eight o’clock. Had she gone to their room to change? Taking her cell phone from her purse, she punched in Georgia’s personal number. No answer.

After excusing herself, she found a hotel phone and dialed their room. The ringing tone persisted until Marla gave up. Now what? Could Georgia have met some guy at the marina and decided to chuck her plans? Possibly, but she would’ve told me, knowing that I’d worry. She’d wait a while longer just in case her fears were groundless.

Replacements:
Marla missed Miguel’s response, because the hostess chose that moment to call their group.

She’d wait a while longer in case her fears were groundless.

These are the latest! Something always pops up when you are editing your work. But it’s important to catch these problems to make your work as polished as possible. Don’t stint on proofreading for one final time. Chances are you’ll always catch something. Happy Writing!

What are mistakes writers make that bother you the most?

GIVEAWAYS

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Cozy Mystery Bonanza

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After lunch on Saturday at Sleuthfest mystery writers conference, I attended a workshop given by Jane R. Wood on Marketing Your Books to Schools. This was a lot more complicated than I would have guessed. Your books must be appropriate for schools, have educational value, and be compatible with the core curriculum. They should reinforce what the teachers are teaching in their classrooms. Also, you should be able to enhance its value with additional educational resources. These might include vocabulary words, discussion questions, student activities such as puzzles and games. Suggest books the students might read that will reinforce their curriculum.

As an author, you should be prepared to discuss revising, editing, sentence structure, the writing process. You should be comfortable speaking to kids and willing to work with the school on payment options. Offer a discount on book sales and make up a purchase order form. Ask if you are allowed to sell books directly to students. If so, print copies of a promotional flyer that they can take home.

To approach a school, contact the media specialist if you don’t know anyone there. Check out the school website for contact info. Send a short email providing information about your school visits and direct them to your website. Offer a complimentary review book. If you are accepted, ask about school expectations for your visit, the length of each presentation, and all the logistics involved.

As I left the room In awe of the preparatory work needed to propose a school visit, I meandered toward the editor/agent appointments. Since I wasn’t needed as an usher, I went upstairs to rest until the evening cocktail party. At Sleuthfest, we always include enough food for dinner, and tonight’s pasta station and passed hot appetizers were no exception. The raffle basket drawing was held at the conclusion.

Sunday Morning, March 17, 2019

I participated on a panel on Independent Publishing this morning along with David Wind and Tara L. Ames. We discussed the importance of a professional product before seguing into book marketing. As David said, about forty percent of a writer’s time is spent on writing, while the remainder is spent on marketing. This critical element applies whether you are traditionally published or indie published. We had lots of material but ran out of time.

Brunch included a talk by esteemed author Les Standiford in the ballroom before the conference ended.

See my Photos Here

GIVEAWAYS

Download 40+ free cozy mysteries in a limited time giveaway, including a copy of my book, HAIR RAISER. https://books.bookfunnel.com/cozymysterybonanza/b1nj1qfi4p

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