Ah, the joys of formatting. The last few days have been a bit of a slog. I have been shaping my finished edited manuscript into something that can be actually bought. You can read about it here. This is the moment when a traditionally published author gets to relax. Their publisher takes the manuscript away does some magic and the next thing they know they wake up to see it filling the shelves in Waterstones. Well, something like that.
If you are a self published author, as I will be for this series, this is where you have to really knuckle down; learn some new skills and start making a whole range of marketing decisions. This is also a quiet time, you’re doing this bit on your own. Happily, there are some fabulous tools out there to use and if you aren’t good at this stage you can go back to the village for help. I recommend Reedsy, lots of publishing professionals out there to help you with formatting.
The first question. What formats to make this available in?
Digital: An e-book is, straight out the gate, the first option. It’s the cheapest and easiest to construct and distribute.
Paperback: As a librarian, bookshop owner, and physical book reader, this is a no-brainer. But it’s more complicated. It requires more formating for the print file, additional artwork for the spine and back. Then you need a printing and distribution account. Happily, I have this covered.
Large Print: Why not? All the issues are as above but if you are doing it all for standard print just spend a bit more time on this. The sales are unlikely to be over-whelming but if you can do it, why not, plus for some readers this is a lifeline.
Audio: Yes, but it’s expensive to create, so maybe wait to see if the sales are positive. That’s on the back-burner for now but something I do want to do.
Hollywood Blockbuster Movie: Well, okay. But I can dream.
Wide or Exclusive. The age old question in the self published market.
Digital: Exclusive. For the first six months, the digital version will be exclusive to Amazon and placed into their Kindle Unlimited programme. As soon as I leave that I will ensure the digital copy is available to libraries as well as other selling platforms. I’ll use Draft2Digital to distribute.
Print: Wide. I’ll offer this to libraries, bookshops and online platforms.
Anyway, over the last few days I have done the following.
Prepare digital files for Kindle. I’ve also created a sample of the book to offer as a newsletter sign-up and an arc copy for early reviews. Having created all those files I then, created download links for them. It’s funny how quick that sentence was to type,it took days to actually do. By all means have a look at what I’ve done so far.
Register for an Advanced Review Copy. No link for this, get in touch with me directly if you would like a free copy of the whole book. You’ll need to show a proven track record or blogs or influences. email@example.com
So all that took a long time, hopefully I haven’t made a mess of it. I used Draft2Digital to format the word document into .mobi and .epub files. In the past for walking guides, I’ve used Calibre as it’s a much more powerful tool. This time though my file was simple so I tried D2D and it was a doddle in comparison.
Print files. This is my task for the next few days. Prepare files for printing, standard and large print. I will then upload them to KDP print for Amazon, and Ingram Sparks for everyone else: bookshops, wholesalers, libraries, other online websites.
I’m going to start the digital copy at £2.99. I’m not a fan of 99p books, I think they devalue the product and the market. I can see the benefit of them working as offers and loss leaders and I will no doubt do some sale days. But, by and large, I will stick to £2.99 and will investigate £3.99.
The paperbacks will cost more. Considerably more. As the files haven’t been submitted I don’t yet know the print costs but as they are a physical item the costs are much higher.
Audio Book. Even higher production costs but potentially better sales than paperback. Unless of course you can get your paperbacks into the big distribution chains and that is a bit of a holy grail for the self-pubbed market.
And whilst I’m doing this I am also sorting out the marketing and the jacket art work, as well as writing book two. I’ll be doing those blogs in the next day or two.
Trust me, self-publishing is not an easy option. But you are in control 🙂
Affiliate Links: Standard disclosure. Where ever possible I use affiliate links. This means that if you click on a link and spend some money I receive a tiny commission. It costs you nothing and adds a few pennies to my coffers. it’s a fabulous scheme. Currently my only affiliate links are to Amazon.