New Cozy Mystery Award

MWA has announced the Lilian Jackson Braun Award for contemporary cozy mysteries. It’s gratifying that the cozy subgenre has finally been recognized by Mystery Writers of America. Ever since I’ve been a member, the Edgars have leaned toward serious crime fiction. Conferences such as Malice Domestic, Killer Nashville, and Left Coast Crime offered cozy writers a chance to win their own awards.

Books submitted for the Lilian Jackson Braun Award must be at least 65,000 words and be published by a traditional MWA-approved publisher in the year prior to the award. The story must feature an amateur sleuth in a setting with a sense of community, a lighthearted tone, and a crime to solve. Historical mysteries are not eligible.

While I applaud this recognition for the cozy mystery genre by our national organization, I yearn for the day that MWA also accepts indie published books into their contest. Fortunately, there are other competitions that indie authors can enter. Usually, these require an ISBN number and may ask for a publisher name, but they don’t distinguish between trad published and self-published titles. The Alliance of Independent Authors puts out a good list.

Do readers look for the publisher’s name when considering which book to buy? Or are peer reviews, the storyline, writing style, and price more important? How about contest wins? The well-known awards naturally garner more attention and respect, but how about first place wins at other sites? Do these influence readers in any way? What do you think?

Also see my previous post on Writing Contests for Published Authors.

Kobo 30% off Box Set Sale!

Get your copy now of the Bad Hair Day Mysteries Volume One: Books 1-3 for 30% off at Kobo – Use promo code JUNE30 at checkout. Valid June 16 – 27 in Canada, US, UK, Australia, & New Zealand.

The Bad Hair Day Mysteries Box Set Volume One

 

 

 

Writing a Book and Doctor Visits

Writing a book is like going to the doctor. You enter the office with nervous anticipation. You leave with a sense of relief. Writing a novel is similar. You begin the story with the same sense of heightened anticipation. When the first draft is done, you feel immensely relieved.

A doctor visit engenders several questions. Will he find something unexpected? Will the procedure hurt? Do I have to disrobe? What kind of follow-up will I need? And why is that poor fish swimming all alone in the waiting room’s aquarium?

Unexpected Finds

We’re always afraid the doctor might find a disease we didn’t know we had. This question also applies to writing your book. Will you discover some unexpected plot twists as your characters take over the story? Will the results turn out the way you’d planned? New ideas may pop into your head or be inspired by things you see and hear around you. These may take your story in a whole new direction. For writers, the unexpected reveal is a pleasurable event. The more your story stews in the subconscious, the more chances of this happening. Embrace the unexpected and see where it leads you.

Will it Hurt?

Writing a novel can be painful. Not because it may dredge up memories from your past, but because it’s not easy to face the blank page every day. Will you be able to reach your word count? What happens if you write yourself into a corner and get stuck? Will this book be as good as the last one? We struggle with these demons and others as we sit at the computer each day. Nonetheless, we keep plugging away until the first draft is complete. Similar to a medical procedure, if it’s something that needs to be done, you just have to do it. Remember BICHOK – Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard. That’s the key to writing a novel.

Do I Have to Disrobe?

Your novel, once published, exposes your vulnerabilities to the reader. This book baby is naked to the world. Reviews will be mixed, hopefully with the good outweighing the bad. It’s inevitable that you expose yourself as a writer when you publish your work. You invite feedback every time you put a story out there. Grow a thick skin and get over it.

What about Follow-Up?

Like the next doctor visit, fans will be anticipating your next book. You need to get started on it soon after you finish this one, while allowing yourself time to decompress, research, and plot the sequel. Marketing is essential at this stage, too. You can’t put your book out there and forget about it. If you slack off in your promotional efforts, book sales will lag, too.

The Lone Fish

Writing is a lonely business. We sit in our home office in front of the computer all day. When we’re not writing, we are working on promotion and marketing. Friends and family don’t understand the hours of dedication we need to get the job done. It’s a full-time career with no time off. The pressure is always on to produce more or to do more social media.

We have to remind ourselves that we’re not the only fish in the sea, and we need our families to support us. In return, we have to take the time to be with them because that’s what really matters in life. Writing a book is an achievement, but you want someone with whom to share it. In terms of understanding what you do, your critique partners and writing friends can empathize. Don’t feel you’re in the turbulent waters all alone.

Writing a Book is like a Doctor Visit #writingcommunity #writers Click To Tweet

Upcoming Workshop

Saturday, June 4, 2:00 – 3:30 pm, “Self-Publishing Made Simple” Writing Workshop via Zoom with Nancy J. Cohen sponsored by Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern University. Pre-Register at https://bit.ly/3ytN1yn

Do you have a novel that doesn’t fit genre guidelines or a personal project you want to self-publish? Or perhaps you want to reissue backlist titles or become a hybrid author? In this workshop, award-winning author Nancy J. Cohen will discuss setting up your own imprint, buying and assigning ISBNs, preparing your manuscript, ebook and print distributors, and marketing tips.

Choosing a Print Book Distributor

You want to produce your book in print. What’s the best route to take? It’s best if you can publish directly to any of these distributors. Avoid companies that promise to publish your book for a high fee or with the requirement that you purchase a certain number of copies. If you get involved in the writing community, you can pull together your own team that may include editors, beta readers, formatters, and cover designers. Then you’ll maintain control over the entire process.

Choosing a Print Book Distributor

Below are several choices for print books. Go to each site and read the guidelines. If you want to keep things easy, use Amazon KDP print. But if you want wider distribution and a chance to do events at indie bookstores, you’ll have to go wide. Go to each site to make your own evaluation and talk to other authors about their experiences. Before you start, read my post on Buying and Assigning ISBN Numbers.

Print Options

Amazon KDP Print
IngramSpark
Barnes & Noble Press
Draft2Digital

Amazon KDP Print

Be sure to uncheck the box saying “I have a barcode” when you upload your cover.

You are allowed up to 5 advance copies. These will have a “Not for Resale” strip on the cover and a unique barcode but no ISBN.

You cannot order authors’ copies until the book goes on sale. Save as a Draft before this date. On your actual release date, approve the proof and hit the Publish button.

Link the print and ebook editions. If necessary, ask at Amazon Author Central after you claim your titles. If you’re uploading both through your KDP Dashboard, this likely will happen automatically.

If you don’t use your own ISBN, Amazon will be listed as the publisher. If you use your own ISBN, KDP will check to see that your imprint matches what is on file at Bowker. The ISBN cannot be changed after publication. A new edition requires a new ISBN.

Royalty is 60% of retail price minus printing costs.

You can’t do pre-orders unless you make a special request.

IngramSpark

Distribution to 39,000+ retailers, libraries, schools and universities.

Direct shipping and global delivery. Print partners abroad.

Booksellers can order your book directly from Ingram. They are attracted by discounts, returnability, and not having to buy your book at Amazon.

You can produce your book in hardcover, paperback, and ebook editions.

When you offer a discount, Ingram takes half and the retailer gets the other half. So for a 40% discount, the bookseller gets 20% off.

Even if you choose Expanded Distribution on KDP, it does not guarantee librarians will have access to your books. They prefer to deal with Baker & Taylor or Ingram. For ebooks, they use Overdrive and other sources that you can access via Kobo or D2D.

On Ingram, you can personalize your orders with an extra page inserted at the front.

IngramSpark now offers free ISBNs for publishers same as Amazon but be aware they will be listed as the publisher.  ISBNs: International Standard Book Number Facts for Self-Publishers.

IngramSpark’s new online book design tool allows you to create cover and interior files directly within your IngramSpark account. The design tool is available for both print books and ebooks. KDP also offers internal design tools.

With currency conversion, IngramSpark helps you provide global pricing for your book.

IS has a setup fee of $49 for print alone or for print and ebook. Or, for the ebook alone, it’ll cost $25. Uploading a revised manuscript or cover costs $25.

It costs $85 to get into the advance Ingram catalog.

IS cover templates can be more problematic than KDP covers, although IS has a new cover creator that may be helpful.

If you’ve had your book in expanded distribution at Amazon and wish to publish it to Ingram, you’ll have to remove it from expanded distribution and fill out a transfer of title form at IS. 

What’s the difference between IngramSpark and Lightning Source?
IngramSpark combines Lighting Source POD services with e-book distribution, and it’s more user friendly. Royalty statements come from Lightning Source.

How to Use IngramSpark

Open a free account at https://www.ingramspark.com/. Put your imprint or company as the publisher. See if a coupon code is available for title setup. If you want to get these fees waived, consider joining IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) or ALLI (Alliance of Independent Authors).

New Format

Basic Info – Title, Language, ISBN, Series Name & Number
Authors & Contributors – Author and Bio
Categorize Your Title – Publisher Imprint, Subjects, Audience, Review Quotes
Title Description – Book Description, Keywords
Print Information – Interior Color, Trim Size, Binding, Cover Finish, Pricing, Release Date 

For more detailed instructions, go herehttps://wp.me/paLXP7-4qn 

Barnes & Noble Press

One free correction is allowed per print book cover and interior file.

You can order advance copies ahead of publication before your on-sale date.

To transfer a title from D2D: BN will give you a transfer request form that you send to D2D. They will release the book over to BN. You’ll keep your reviews and EANs so you don’t have to change any links.

Print books published by BN Press will be available in their catalog for booksellers to order.

Series Management allows you to view your title metadata grouped by Series.

If you publish your book at Ingram, you’ll need a new ISBN for your BN print version.

Draft2Digital Print

Cover Converter and Cover Templates

Various Trim Sizes

Auto-Generated Interior if you submit a .doc file. Or you can upload your own print-ready pdf.

Matte or glossy finish for your cover, cream or white paper for your interior, a free ISBN from D2D or supply your own.

Bookstores must place orders through their regular channels.

Choosing a Print Book Distributor #indiepub #pubtip Click To Tweet

In choosing a print book distributor, you can use a selection of above. For example, you can upload your book to Amazon KDP, BN Press, and Ingram if you wish to have optimal wide distribution. Or you can stick to D2D alone and use their partner distributors. You also have large print options at some of these sites.

Disclaimer – This advice is based on my interpretation. Please visit each site to check for updates and to make your own evaluation.

SAVE THE DATE

Join authors Nancy J. Cohen & Maggie Toussaint to celebrate their recent releases at a virtual Summer Beach Party on Tuesday, JUNE 9 at 7:00-8:00 pm EDT. Fun and Prizes! https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty/

Summer Beach Party

GIVEAWAY

Enter June 1-18 to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench at https://bookloversbench.com/win-a-free-book-june-2020/

June 2020 Booklovers Bench

Choosing an Ebook Distributor

If you are not planning to be exclusive to Amazon, you’ll have several choices on where to publish your work in e-book format. You can either upload directly to the book distributors or go through a third-party aggregator. Other blogs compare these choices more thoroughly, so consider this an overview. This post will help you decide where to upload your self-published book.

Going Direct 

Publish your book directly to these distributors for maximum royalties and promotional benefits that may not be available otherwise. It really isn’t hard and you’ll like getting monthly royalties from these vendors once you learn the ropes.

Amazon Kindle –Since the majority of e-book sales are through Amazon, it’s best to go direct through KDP. If you go exclusive in Kindle Select, you can take advantage of certain promotional opportunities such as Kindle Unlimited and sales options.

BN Nook– You can schedule price promotions in advance.

Kobo – Ask to activate the Promotions tab to participate in special deals. You can opt-in for Overdrive and get a royalty 50% of library list price. Kobo Plus is a subscription service.

Apple Books – Apple has a new platform for authors, making it easy to upload your books directly without owning an Apple device. Fill out the four steps at the Publishing Portal – Upload your  ePub file & book cover; Add Title, Author & Description; Set Categories; Enter publisher & ISBN info. If this doesn’t work, if you only have a Word document, or if you need further instructions, see my advice here: https://nancyjcohen.com/publishing-direct-to-apple/

Google Play – They can discount your books at any time. This becomes an issue if Amazon does a price match. The solution? Raise your prices for this vendor.

Third-Party Aggregators

You can avoid all the angst and publish your book through a third-party aggregator that has multiple publishing partners.

Draft2Digital

  • Takes 10% cut of retail price.
  • You can set preorders at one site. Also handy for revised files.
  • Note you make a higher royalty (59.5%) going through D2D than going direct to Kobo (35%) with a book priced less than $2.99.
  • Payments are once a month direct to bank account.
  • Easy to upload files for free file conversion into mobi, ePub, pdf files
  • Author profile page and book tabs and Custom Book Carousels
  • Audiobook Production/Distribution via Findaway Voices
  • Universal Book Links via https://www.books2read.com/
  • Easy user interface and responsive customer service
  • New release notifications
  • Schedule sales ahead of time

Smashwords

  • Readers can buy direct from the SW Store.
  • Special copyright page wording is required. Approval for premium catalog needed.
  • SW’s royalty rate varies. Monthly payments via PayPal.
  • Set preorders in advance
  • Exclusive Promotions, Discount Coupons, New Release Alerts, Series Listings
  • Discount coupons on SW do not impact your retail prices at other stores.
  • Free ISBNs for use on SW sites
  • Author profile page and Author interview

PublishDrive

  • Takes 10% cut of retail price
  • Publishes to Google Play among numerous other sites.
  • Price Promotions in a few easy steps
  • You can add POD and audiobook formats to your distribution

IngramSpark

  • IS charges fees for uploads and revisions. Discount coupons may be available.
    Distribution includes 60+ e-book retailers.
    Royalties on e-books are 40% compared to 70% going direct to Amazon through KDP (depending on book price). However, KDP only allows you to reach Amazon customers.

You can also upload your books directly to some of the vendors above and use a third-party aggregator for the rest. One of the biggest advantages of the third-party aggregators is that they can reach the library market. Check out their partners and then make your own choice on which one you favor.

Choosing an eBook Distributor #indiepub #pubtip Click To Tweet

Disclaimer – This advice is based on my interpretation. Please visit each site to check for updates and to make your own evaluation.

Coming Next – Print Distributors

By the way, did you know the first four books in my Bad Hair Day Mysteries are available in Audiobook format? These stories are “funny, light, full of surprises and twists.” Go Here to learn more and listen to samples.

Buying and Assigning ISBN Numbers

ISBN stands for International Book Standard Number. It is a globally recognized identification number for your book. As an indie publisher, you need to think about this option before self-publishing your work.

Why should you use your own ISBN numbers?

  • Control over metadata
  • More professional – Your imprint is the publisher
  • Better availability to retailers, booksellers, and librarians
  • You need an ISBN to get a barcode, which may include pricing information.
  • Certain book distributors may require you to have your own.
  • Some writing contests and library promotions require you to have an ISBN.
  • Your book’s information will be stored in the Books In Print
  • Resource: http://www.ingramspark.com/blog/owning-your-own-isbn-in-self-publishing

Legalities – DBA or LLC

If you want your own imprint, create a publisher name and see if the domain is taken. If not, reserve the domain name. Register with your State as a “Fictitious Name” or “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 business license/tax receipt if required. Finally, open a business bank account so you can receive royalty payments through direct deposit.

This does not necessarily apply if your plan is solely to publish e-books through Amazon. Then you have the option of skipping this whole process and using the distributor-provided ISBN. But know that you are limiting your options for later if you choose to go wider with your books and take advantage of the opportunities listed above.

Where can you buy an ISBN number?

How to Assign Title Data to Your ISBN:

  1. Make sure you have your metadata, book cover, author bio, & pricing info ready.
  2. Sign into https://www.myidentifiers.com/ with your username and password.
  3. Go to the My Account dropdown menu.
  4. Click Manage ISBNs.
  5. Click Assign Title next to the ISBN number you wish to assign.
  6. Complete all fields marked with red asterisks.

Upload Cover Image

Title Information
Book title, subtitle, main description, original publication date, language, copyright year, optional Library of Congress Control Number

 Contributors
Your author name goes here along with your bio.

 Format and Size
Medium, i.e. E-book, Digital, Print, or Audio
Format, i.e. Electronic Book Text

Subjects & Genres
Primary Subject, i.e. Fiction, Mystery and Detective, General

Editions and Volumes
Previous Edition ISBN or New Edition ISBN. This is when you issue a second edition, for example. Then you must manually change the Title Status on the older ISBN to Out of Print.
Series Title Info (name of series) and Series Volume Number
Total Volume Number – number of products in a multi-volume work (i.e. box set)

Sales and Pricing
Where is the title sold? United States
Publisher and Imprint – Put your DBA or LLC company name as the publisher.
Title Status: Active Record
Publication Date: This can be in the future.
Target Audience, i.e. Trade
Price: Currency (US Dollars), Price (3.99) Type (Retail Price) 

Hit the SUBMIT button.

NOTE: Except for the ISBN number assignments, you can change most of this material, including adding a cover image, at a later date.

Use CLONE on the Manage my ISBNs Dashboard when you wish to copy this information to the next available ISBN number. This is helpful when you’re registering e-book and paperback editions for the same title. Review the data on the new form and adjust accordingly.

Buying and Assigning ISBN Numbers #indiepub #pubtip Click To Tweet

Library of Congress Control Number

After you have an ISBN, you can apply for an optional Library of Congress number. This allows librarians to catalog books before they’re published and to add the digital record into their search program. If you have an imprint that buys ISBNs in bulk from Bowker, you can set up an account with the LOC. You have to buy at least 10 ISBNs and list a U.S. city as the place of publication. Get started at https://www.loc.gov/publish/pcn/ about two to four weeks before you do the final formatting. LOC will ask for the book title and ISBN. They will email you the LOC number and tell you how to add it to the copyright page. Check for ineligible works here: https://www.loc.gov/publish/pcn/about/scope.html

Now that you have assigned an ISBN number to your title and filled in the basic metadata, you are ready to put your book into production. Add the ISBN number to the copyright page and move on to final formatting. Next we’ll be discussing publication choices.

If you missed the previous posts on this topic, see the following:

Adding Front and Back Material to Your Indie Published Book

Preparing Your Book for Self-Publishing

Why Self-Publish Your Book? 

 

 

Adding Front and Back Material to Your Book

Today we’re discussing adding front and back material to your soon-to-be self-published book. This is one of the advantages of indie publishing. You can add whatever bonus materials you want. In terms of Front Matter, less is better. You’ll want readers to access the first chapter as quickly as possible for the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon. So what should you include? Here are some options:

Front Material may include:

Cast of Characters
Copyright Page
Dedication
Family Tree
Map of Setting
Story Blurb with Review Quotes
Table of Contents

If you have a lot of characters, a cast of characters might be useful to the reader. Or it might discourage them from reading the book if they think it’ll be hard to keep track. I’ve had feedback both ways from fans.

The copyright page contains the book title, author, year of copyright, publisher imprint, statements about fair usage and permissions, ISBN numbers, and a Library of Congress number. Some of these are optional and some are not. We’ll discuss these choices more in another post.

Maps are always popular as are family trees. These could be offered in the back of the book rather than up front to save space. Same for the Dedication. A Table of Contents is critical for a nonfiction work. For a fiction work, this will be added when you upload your mobi or epub file to the different distributors.

Back Material may include:

About the Author + Social Media Links
Acknowledgments
Author’s Note
Book Club Discussion Guide
Call to Action for Newsletter and/or Reviews
Character Timelines
Excerpt of Sequel
Glossary
More Books by [Author] with Buy Link
World Building Details

After your story ends, you’ll have the chance to add bonus materials, such as a list of your books in series order, an excerpt of the sequel, reader discussion questions, research notes and more. Here you can put a Call to Action for your newsletter and/or reviews. Regarding buy links, keep in mind that certain vendors don’t like you to mention other sites. You’ll be safe if you use the book page on your website. Otherwise, you’ll have to change the buy link for each distributor.

Adding Front and Back Material to Your Book #indiepub #writingtips Click To Tweet

General Formatting Notes

My personal preference for e-books is to format my work in 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. The first paragraph of each chapter or after a space break is flush left. Your formatting source might advise something different. You can also upload your Word file to one of the third-party aggregators like Draft2Digital and they’ll do the conversions for you. More on this option another time. Next we’ll discuss Buying and Assigning ISBN numbers.

GIVEAWAY

LAST DAY! Enter Now to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench in our May giveaway.

May contest

Previous Posts on this Topic

Preparing Your Book for Self-Publishing

Why Self-Publish Your Book

 

Preparing Your Book for Self-Publishing

In the previous post, we mentioned why you might choose to self-publish your work. You may have backlist titles to reissue or have a nonfiction project you want to publish or prefer to go indie to take control of your writing career. Depending on whether these are older titles or new ones, your approach to indie publishing may be different.

Preparing your book for self-publishing

Older Titles

If you wrote your books back in the day when we mailed our works in, you might have to hire a scanning company such as Blue Leaf to scan in your published works. 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.

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.

If your publisher has provided you with a final pdf file, or you’ve downloaded an ebook file, you can use Calibre Ebook Management or Zamzar 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 Clear Formatting symbol. You will lose italics but any weird justifications will be gone. You’ll have to read through the story adding in italics and space breaks as needed.

Determine if you will re-edit the work or make major revisions. You might find your writing has changed greatly in the interim, and what you’d published before, although professionally edited at your publishing house, isn’t up to your current standards. So go through and make corrections. Don’t forget to update technology and remove any dated references.

Original Works

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.

For a full-length original novel, I strongly recommend that you hire a developmental editor and possibly a copy editor. 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 or English teacher who’s your friend. Fiction is about structure and pacing along with many other elements. You need an editor familiar with genre conventions. Experience at a publishing house is a plus.

The next step will be to solicit Beta Readers. These are fans who are familiar with your prior work or who volunteer if you send out a request via your newsletter or Facebook page. Write down what type of feedback you want and set a deadline for a response. It’s amazing what these diligent readers will find. They’ll also tell you what works and what doesn’t from a reader’s viewpoint.

Preparing Your Book for Self-Publishing #indiepub #writingtips Click To Tweet

The main point of this article is to make sure you have a polished, edited work that you’ll be proud to publish. Once you have the manuscript ready to go, you’ll need to add front and back material. Look for my next blog on this topic.

GIVEAWAY

Enter Now to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench in our May giveaway.

May contest

 

 

 

 

Why Self-Publish Your Book?

Have you been wanting to self-publish your book, but you don’t know where to begin? Or does the prospective task seem so daunting that it paralyzes you into doing nothing? Is this even something you can do for yourself, or will you need a “village” to help you along the way? Maybe you’re afraid of the costs involved. Is it worth the risk to become an indie author?

why self-publish your book

I tackled this topic initially in a nine-part blog series called Self-Publishing Made Simple. These same questions keep popping up in writer groups, such as “Do I need an ISBN number?” and “How do I get my book in print?”

So let’s take a fresh look at the answers. First decide why you’d like to indie publish your novel and then we’ll move on later to show how to go about it. Here are some common reasons:

You have backlist titles and the rights reverted.
You want to publish work in between your traditionally-published novels.
Your book doesn’t fit into a particular genre category.
You have a nonfiction book or personal project you want to publish on your own.
You want to direct the publishing process.

PROs:

Quality control
Pricing and discounts
Input on cover and interior design
Higher royalties
Rights ownership
Publication schedule

CONs:

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

Why Self-Publish Your Book? #pubtip #indiepub #amwriting Click To Tweet

Now that we’re clear why you want to self-publish your work, we’ll talk next about how to prepare your manuscript. In the meantime, please feel free to share why you are interested in becoming a self-published author.

GIVEAWAY

Enter Now to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench in our May giveaway.

May contest

 

10 Steps to Publish Your Reverted Rights Titles 

You’re thrilled that your publisher has returned the rights to your books. Assuming you plan to publish them independently, you’ll want to do a quick turnaround once these titles disappear from online bookstores.

I’ve already discussed the process for revising a backlist title that needs a serious facelift. You can read my earlier Reviving Your Backlist Titles blog series for that advice. But what if these books are fairly recent and you don’t feel the need for another line edit? Here are my suggestions on how to proceed:

  1. Obtain the most up-to-date digital file available. Clean it up by removing headers and footers and deleting proprietary publisher language. If you need to change a pdf file into an editable doc file, use a site like Zamzar and carefully check through your new file for formatting issues.
  1. Check to see if all the corrections you’d requested from the publisher for the advance reading copy had been done. Don’t assume that any errors you’d reported in the past got fixed. Also, note if any readers had written to you with further corrections. Now’s your chance to make amends. Do a thorough proofread. Doubtless you’ll always find new things to correct.
  1. Add a copyright page. Did your publisher acquire the original copyright in your name? You can do a search at the online copyright office to find your title and registration number. It’s good to have this for your files. The copyright date for your reissued book will be the same as the original unless you’ve made substantial changes to the story. Include the book’s publishing history so readers will know this is a reissue.
  1. Decide if you’ll be publishing these works under an LLC or fictitious name, in which case your company name will be listed as publisher.
  1. Buy a set of ISBN numbers at Bowker. You need a different ISBN for each format. My previous article discusses how to assign an ISBN number to your book title. This process may have been simplified with updates at MyIdentifiers.com. However, if you simply plan to publish on Kindle and remain in KU, you may not need your own ISBNs. Distribution options are discussed in my more recent Self-Publishing Made Simple blog series.
  1. Add your front and back material. Consider if you need to update your Author’s Note and Bio, remove the Dedication page, add Social Media Links, a contact Email, and a Call to Action for a Review or Newsletter Sign-Up. Will you include an excerpt for the next book? In the back matter, you can also offer bonus materials such as family trees, research notes, reader discussion questions, or articles from your original blog tour for this book.
  1. Decide how you will format the digital book. Will you hire a professional formatter, do it yourself, or use a third-party aggregator such as Draft2Digital? Will you upload it yourself direct to distributors, in which case you’ll need to establish accounts at each one, or will you use an aggregator for this step as well?
  1. Hire a cover artist. The design should reflect your current brand and other books in the series. You may need to get a new logo. Consider color schemes, image style, text fonts, placement of author name and book title, and specific genre expectations. Also add award seals if the book has won a significant contest.
  1. For paperback editions, rewrite your back cover copy. You should change it from the publisher’s version, even if only slightly. Add review quotes that you might not have had when the original book was published.
  1. Decide if you’ll link this edition to prior editions at bookstore sites to keep the reviews and to keep your series intact. Will you distinguish these books from the originals by calling them Author’s Editions? After publication, remember to claim your new editions at Amazon Author Central, BookBub and Goodreads.
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