Want to know more about self-publishing mediums?
Amazon’s self-publishing service, CreateSpace has really helped authors who didn’t land a literary agent find distribution for their completed and professional (and sometimes not so much) books. This is meant to be an overview for those wanting to know more about the self-publishing process, and those wanting to publish. If you think you are ready to publish, please read the questions below.
Before you set up publishing you need to be able to answer these questions:
1. Have I found the right book genre to list my book in, and does the cover evoke my genre?
There will be a section especially for book covers, but even here I need to stress that your niche is important. For example: You have a book that has fantasy/adventure, but your book also has love at first sight, explicit sexual encounters, and your points of view alternate between two lovers. You should probably be in fantasy/romance or paranormal romance, and not something like urban fantasy that doesn’t have to have romance as its main story line. Your book title should reflect the romantic relationships and not the adventure elements. You have to make that call, or you’re setting yourself up to hit a lot of bumps. Subscribe to one genre and stick to it. My example: My book has a long title, “A Mirror Among Shattered Glass” and it is about self-reflection, and the main character hopefully getting her life together. Therefore, a reader should go into “Mirror” not expecting HUGE romantic elements, but suspecting some sharp-edged characters. I push the mirror symbolism during turning points or moments of reflection.
2. Have I listed my email sign-up, the links to my next or previous books, or a message asking for reviews in the back of my book?
For ebooks, you can even add hyperlinks to be sure you connect with readers after they are done reading your book. Always update your existing books when new ones come out to add to your catalogue. A Newsletter is a huge must that you need to research before you are ready to publish. It can seem like common sense, but you will be overwhelmed with all of the tasks for a release and might need a reminder.
Assuming you are absolutely ready with your book on deck, or if you just want to see the process, read below!
Publishing on Amazon’s Createspace:
You upload your finished cover and interior files, and they will print the book on demand, meaning they print them as they’re ordered, so you aren’t keeping boxes of books that don’t sell right away in your garage. They print paperback books only (and also allow you to print ebooks through amazon Kindle). There are other services (such as Bookbaby) that will print hardcovers and assist you in publishing.
With the popularity of ebooks, it is advised to put out both physical copies and ebooks. Though ebooks have gained popularity, print books are still preferred among many.
What is the process at Createspace like?
1. Select options, input information, and upload your book’s interior file and cover.
2. Wait for Createspace to put everything together for you and let you know that your proof is approved (24 hours).
3. Order up to 5 print proof book copies and view an eproof.
4. Createspace waits for you to approve your proof so that you can set distribution channels and make the book live for order. Once you approve your proof the book will go live.
CreateSpace is pretty painless; it just takes time to fill in all of the listing information.
Here are some important bits and FAQs for CreateSpace:
You can buy your own ISBN under your publishing imprint through CreateSpace. If you want a customized ISBN in which Createspace is not the publisher, you pay a fee of $10 and they will give you one. You can get a free ISBN, however, your book will state that CreateSpace is the publisher. You can also get a Universal ISBN for $99, or put in an ISBN you bought from Bowker or another agency. Print and ebooks cannot have the same ISBN.
CreateSpace is for your print on demand paperback book only, is not live for order until you hit “approve book proof”, then it takes a few hours to go live on your book’s amazon page. The button of no return is the “approve book proof” button. Createspace says it can take up to 5 days to list your print title. Mine went up in less than 12 hours, and I had it up the day before just to be safe. Odds are will all of the books they’ve published at this point, that your book will go up a few hours later and the process will be quick.
About Proofs. Always order 1 print proof copy the first time your order a copy. You don’t want 4 incomplete books sitting in a box in your house, and you’ll want to read through the entire proof.
Getting advance copies from CreateSpace. To get advance copies of your book, you can order up to 5 print copies that say PROOF on the very back page. Your advance copies will technically be proofs. As I said, order 1 for the first time, to proof yourself. To order additional copies, upload your interior again, wait for them to tell you it’s ready to proof, and order 5 copies. Repeat for more. I needed a few copies for reviewers and for my quiz contest that gave away 11. It took a few weeks, but I got my copies. You can also use this method to get a copy for your Goodreads giveaway.
Your final edition has to be uploaded 10 days prior. You will also get a notification by email.
Publishing on Amazon Kindle for ebook.
I set up my Kindle book separate from my print version, knowing I could link reviews from both later. You add information just like in the print edition, however, with the ebook only, you can set up a pre-order.
Here are some important bits and FAQs for KDP:
Kindle uses an ASIN to identify the book. This is different than an ISBN and unique to Amazon. An ASIN is given to your book automatically. You might want to buy an ISBN for your ebook on other websites. Print and ebooks cannot have the same ISBN.
Use HTML to announce sales. Here is an html guide for drawing attention to sales in the description of your book. My first book was 2.99 for the first two weeks of sale, so I wanted the first line to pop and used this HTML guide.
Make sure your Kindle and Createspace editions are linked 48 hours later.
During the publishing process, KDP will attempt to match title, author name, and other title information to physical counterparts available in the Amazon catalog. This may take up to 24 hours after the title is live in the Kindle Store. This is what Amazon advises:
“If you see your book linked to an incorrect edition, or if more than 48 hours have passed since your Kindle book went live and the print edition is still not linked, please let us know by clicking the “Contact Us” button on this page. Make sure to include the 10-digit ISBN number of the physical edition and the ASIN of the Kindle book.”
Find the source for linking ebook and print book reviews here.
Waiting 48 hours can be daunting. I pushed back this post because mine didn’t link, and I wanted to be able to tell you more. I emailed amazon, and the editions were linked somewhere from 8-12 hours later. Not too bad!
When you upload your files to Kindle and can review an electronic copy. If you are submitting for pre-order, you will receive an email close to your release date stating that you need to upload the final file. You must hit “This is the final version of my book for release.” In step 6, and proceed through the prompts to submit your book for preorder.
When you makes changes to your book document Kindle will continue to sell the previous version of your book until changes are processed.
Here are other places to distribute your ebook:
Nook (Barnes and Noble)
Nook will make your ebook available on Barnes & Noble.com . They are set up a little differently than amazon, but again, it’s a lot of information to plug in. Nook emphasizes a Vendor Account that you need to set up with payment information before you can publish.
The thing I like about Nook is that you can add editorial reviews during set up. I did have to shrink my cover size by %5 to get the file to fit. While most of your sales are liable to be from Amazon, Barnes and Noble might just help you find some new readers!
It took my book about 3 days to get listed from the time I put it on sale. I have not promoted it on Nook yet.
I count Goodreads as a “way to publish” because you need to set up Goodreads before or with your other distribution channels. While it is not a store, it is the source for finding new books. It is the library of social media. Here are a few tips for authors: http://www.authormedia.com/how-to-promote-books-goodreads/
I have not tried KOBO or SMASHWORDS yet, but will let you know when I do!
If you enjoyed my Dear Author post, please add my book to your amazon wish list so it shows up in Amazon emails to current subscribers! It’s free to you, and a huge help to me! (and only takes 3 clicks!)