(or How I Did It, a “.doc”-umentary)
Latest update: Duncan finished the setup on my print version and sent me a proof to review. I cannot express to you the excitement of getting even that much closer to publication! I’ve picked a tentative new publication date but am not going to make that public until I have the book in my hands and know I can make the date. I’ve already missed one announced date; don’t want to make it a habit.
I’ve also gotten a sneak peek at several of the reviews from the ARCS I sent or, if not the actual reviews, have seen people talking about Entheóphage on social media. Such a good feeling!
As you’ll see, I’ve not been idle. Since early July, I’ve:
• Written and sent a new newsletter post; two weeks later, posted it to Niveym’s blog.
• Begun reviewing all the resources I’d saved back in early 2022 before reality of our Move reared its head. There’s a lot; this will be an ongoing process.
• Begun reading up on Amazon KDP documentation so I can be (somewhat) prepared when the upload date arrives.
• Completed a new read-through of Phagey and highlighted some usable pull-quotes for book promotions. This seems hard because I don’t want to post something that will feel irrelevant to potential readers who won’t know what’s going on without having read that far in the book, but I also don’t want to post spoilers.
• Started a list of metadata/keywords I might use to promote Phagey; ran some of them through PublisherRocket, which I purchased months ago, to help me choose relevant ones. Still am not sure about the ones I’ve chosen, and until I see it in action after I’ve pushed the “publish” button, I probably won’t be. I hear you can change them later, though, so I’m not going to sweat it.
• Finished my WordPress for Beginners Udemy class with Andrew Williams. If you are struggling with WP, as I am, I highly recommend this class. I’m still no expert, but at least I can do some of the basic stuff and have a better understanding of why I’m doing it. I was able, with what I’d learned, to set up a very basic Niveym Arts, LLC website. This will be an ongoing learning process for me.
• Started – and completed – a new Udemy class with Bethany Atazadeh called “Publish Your Novel.” Oh. My. Goodness. If you want to publish your own books, take this course. Excellent resource. Truly outstanding. Bethany provides a Self-Publisher’s Workbook, a very handy resource that includes, among other things, template worksheets for gathering your book’s metadata all into one place, and setting out a marketing plan. She’s easy to follow, clear with her explanations and descriptions, and incredibly motivational. I highly recommend her classes. She’s also got a website, a YouTube channel, and other online resources which I intend to check out.
• Finished the review exchanges to which I’d committed. Made a plan of additional people who might be good options for reviews and started a list.
• Started looking at book promo sites listed through Kindlepreneur.
• Started reviewing more of the resources at Kindlepreneur.
• Began working on my newsletter subscriptions by inviting people one at a time! I’m inviting an average of 10 people per day, and in the days since I began this, my subscribers list has grown from 17 to 199.
• Sent out additional ARCs of Phagey to reviewers.
• Start researching other reviewer sites. Reedsy has a great list – but be aware that a review site and a book promotion site aren’t the same. Most of the book promotion sites I found were only for free or discounted books. If you are charging a normal price for your work, they won’t be a good fit.
• Reviewed the print proof Duncan sent and returned a mark-up copy to him.
• Got some professional author photos taken by Pam Manning, of The Manning Studio.
• Bobby started on a graphic for my cover reveal, which will happen once I get the book set up for preorder. Newsletter subscribers will see it first, then social media followers.
• Started the metadata worksheet I got from Bethany’s class – includes things like title, author bio, price details, keywords, categories, etc.
• Set up an account with IngramSpark. Tip: Approach this step with patience. It is somewhat tedious and took me about half an hour due to some sort of glitch in the initial screen. You will need a tax ID number; if you didn’t set up a business to do your publishing, that will probably be your social security number. You’ll also need to pre-set a compensation option, through which you will receive payments for books sold, and a payment option, such a credit card, with which you will pay the setup fees, etc. Have all this data handy when you sit down to set up your account.
Still want/need to do:
• Add a link to every page on both my websites that take the visitor to the newsletter sign-up.
• Complete the metadata worksheet with all the data I’ll need to use when I publish Phagey.
• Pick a few of the pull-quotes I highlighted in my last read-through and set them to graphics to use in marketing.
• Set up an Amazon Author account. (Not sure if I can do that before I have a book to upload. Need to check on that.)
• Take the other classes I’ve signed up for, mostly in marketing (the task I find most daunting).
• Once I get my cover and ebook files back from Duncan, skim/read both for any glitches that might have snuck in (I don’t doubt Duncan’s skill, but it’s on *me* to ensure there are no accidental returns, etc.)
• Register the ISBNs with Bowkers; Note—this cannot be done until you have all the metadata, including categories, price, and more. You cannot start an entry and then save it if you don’t have everything. You’ll have to start over. (Lesson learned.) Also, categories on the Bowker site are not as diverse as those on IngramSpark and Amazon.
• Once I know the documents are good to go, upload to Amazon first. (Bethany suggests this because Amazon’s uploads are free, and Amazon will allow you to receive a proof for free, while IngramSpark charges; if there are changes required before publication, you can do that with a new free upload to Amazon; again, IS charges). Once it’s good on Amazon’s side, THEN upload to IS.
• Order an author/proof copy of the printed book to review, once again, for quality assurance.
• Once I’m happy with the formatting and print job from both platforms, order at least 50 copies to begin my promotions.
• Start tracking (and back-tracking) all the steps I took along this journey so far so I can repeat them next time when I publish my second book (and the third, and the fourth).
I’m sure there are some details I’ve forgotten; it’s been a VERY busy month. But I’ll add them along the way as they come to mind.
I will set Phagey up for preorder once everything is finalized, then begin promotions in earnest. I even have half a vendor table reserved to sell my print copies at next month’s Hampton Roads Writers Conference; I hope I have them by then. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
I will reassert that there are some really great online courses out there; some are even free. Plus, if you have a writing center in your area that runs classes, support them! They are there for you and your tribe!
Stay tuned and know I’m wishing all the best to you in your self-publishing journey!
**Please note that I am not a professional. Outside the writing part—for which I have taken numerous classes and workshops, and for which I’ve seen enormous improvement over the years, but which I am still learning—I mostly have no idea what I’m doing. I’m reading everything I can get my hands on, looking at how others who have been successful have done it, and learning this process as I go. I don’t want any reader of these posts to think I’m teaching THE way to self-publish; there are as many ways to do this as there are writers on the path. I am only sharing how I have done it. Your mileage may vary.