The Secret Dreamworld of an Aspiring Author by Anna Bell - Self Publishing: Where To Go
Thinking about taking the plunge into self publishing but you don’t know your MOBI file from your EIN number? This week’s column should help you. Having been horrified this week when I spoke to someone I know in the real world who was just about to publish on Amazon using Smashwords (a distribution service), I thought that maybe people needed a few signposts for where to go to get self publishing information.
I’m assuming at this point you’ve had your manuscript copy edited (at the very least), you’ve had your cover professionally designed and you’re ready to publish. As a newbie to self publishing I would recommend that you start with Amazon, it is by far the easiest site to negotiate and it doesn’t require you to buy your own ISBNs, submit through an aggregator or have a US tax code. You can always worry about the other sites later once you’ve found your feet. And if you’re going to get into bed with Amazon then visit their Kindle Direct Publishing(KDP) site. It gives you a pretty good overview of the process and how to get started.
Preparing your book
To put your book on Amazon (or any of the other self publishing sites) you need to property format your manuscript to their requirements. There are a set of really helpful YouTube videos on this subject. Unruly Guides is one of them and they will take you step by step through this process. Their videos also show you how to use freeware MOBI Pocket Creatorwhich is really simple to use and will help you create MOBI files which is one of the Amazon preferred formats. (N.b there isn’t a MOBI Pocket Creator for Mac, so you’ll have to make do with Calibre, or if you’re me you cheat and use your husband’s PC).
One of the most frustrating things with Amazon is that they overwrite some of your formatting. The most notable one is that they indent your first line in a chapter/section. I’ve recently come across this great blog by Cameron Chapman which holds your hand through how to write your own code to stop this and other formatting horrors.
If this whole process still terrifies you, there are plenty of companies that you can outsource this to.
Once your book is in the Public Domain
Once you’ve formatted your book and uploaded it to the Kindle Store, in between checking your Amazon rankings and monitoring your KDP sales reports (which takes up a lot of your time), you’ll need to learn how to be an indie author.
The Writer’s Guide to E- Publshing is a great place to start. A number of well known self published authors write on any number of topics and it’s a wealth of information.
Catherine, Caffeinated, website of author Catherine Ryan Howard, has a self printing section and offers a great insight into the industry (and has the best post on sorting out your US tax situation if you’re a non US citizen).
For the month of October, Victoria Connelly ran ‘indie month’ on her blog, where she interviewed indie authors. It was hugely insightful as each author gave their take on being indie but also shared their marketing tips and advice.
These are just the tip of the iceberg on the subject - but I’m hoping they might be of help. Am I missing any good places to find tips and tricks for self-publishing? Would any self published authors like to share blogs and websites that they’ve found helpful?