Self-Publishing: Researching a To Do List

to-do-listThe 1st draft of Blindsided is now finished and I need a break from it before going back in and tackling the 2nd draft, but I’m not going to sit around and download mountains of specialist porn, I’m going to enter the big bad world of self-publishing.

My first novel, ‘Railroaded‘, has been submitted to 44 agents and publishers without much success. I still like Railroaded and recently read a similar traditionally published novel which I didn’t think was as good, so that’s all the motivation I need to release it into the wild and back up my wildly biased opinion.

I’ve started researching into what I need to do to get a respectable, semi-professional ebook online. In my mind I’m budgeting £1,000 but I’d like to get it done for less although I’m not sure it’s going to be possible with editing and copy editing.

My first ports of call have been two free PDF downloads and a paid for app;

  1. Joanna Penn’s – Author 2.0 Blueprint
  2. The Book Designer – 10 things you need to know about self-publishing
  3. Writing Magazine – How to Publish Your Ebook – £5
  4. (Added 29th Jan 2014) – ‘Let’s Get Digital‘ by David Gaughan – £2 on Amazon or a free PDF

All 3 offer comprehensive information for absolute beginners in all aspects of ebook creation and marketing. I’m not a beginner but the book publishing specifics such as formatting, ISBN’s, pricing, etc is all new to me.

I built this website, I used to work in web marketing and I’m pretty confident at being able to do all the uploading, basic formatting and ‘computer stuff’. There are sites such as Book Design Templates offering reasonably priced templates which I’ll take advantage of; I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here.

I’m not a designer. A poorly designed cover, of which there are gazillions on self-published books, immediately kills your book dead. I’m very lucky though, I have a couple of designer friends who have volunteered their services so I can save some precious pennies by totally skanking them.

I will have to fork out money for editing, copy editing, marketing, advertising and ISBN’s but I’ll be seriously keeping things to a minimum and try to work smartly.

It’s important to me to get a professional looking ebook out there. I don’t have the funds to pay for a professional to complete every aspect so I’m going to have to do all the bits I can which the reader won’t notice and pay others to do the bits the reader will notice, eg. designing and editing.

Another aspect of money-saving is to only put together an ebook at this point. I can’t afford any kind of book printing but I may look into print-on-demand later on if the outlay isn’t too prohibitive.

So here’s my to do list (subject to change);

  1. Find editor.
  2. Redraft with editors feedback.
  3. Copy edit.
  4. Finalise where and how to sell ebook.
  5. Brief cover design.
  6. Buy ISBN’s/Research into whether I actually need one.
  7. Buy book template.
  8. Approve cover and get it resized into appropriate dimensions for uploading to different stores.
  9. Create list of book blogs that might review novel, interview me, mention novel and contact them – along with book cover so it looks more like a real product.
  10. Look at offline marketing options – this is the most exciting bit for me!
  11. Add final copy to template.
  12. Create online accounts to sell ebook.
  13. Upload novel and test.
  14. Research launch price and set a launch date to coincide with any PR.
  15. Launch novel! (paperback)

I think that’s about it. If you can think of anything I’ve forgotten then for the love of all that is Holy, please, please tell me!

I’ll try and write a blog post for each step once it’s completed so you can see what I’m doing wrong and the odd bit of blind luck where I’ve managed to do something right.

So, here goes. Find an editor…