So, you’ve written your thing and decided to put it out there yourself, indie-style. You’ve picked the best platform(s) for your work and now you have to make sure your book is fully ready to be uploaded and released into the wild.
Step one, which we’ve discussed before, is professional editing. Get your pages to an editor you trust. Most of the better ones offer different levels of editing, e.g. proofreading (checking for typos) vs. big picture editing (where they look at things like consistency of character, plot mechanics etc). Choose your service (be honest with yourself about what your work may need), send it out, and receive their notes with an open mind. Getting a new set of eyes on your story is invaluable. Doesn’t mean you have to make every single change; with any notes, you have to be able to translate them into what’s relevant for your work. Sometimes the specific note/suggestion wouldn’t work, but whatever’s underlying the note is something you need to look at (e.g. you may hear a certain character needs more page time, which might destabilize your plot… the underlying issue might be that when that character does appear, it’s not in an impactful way, so you’ll actually need to make their few scenes hit harder, mean more emotionally, that kind of thing).
Once you’ve made your changes, your book really is at its final draft. That’s exciting!
Now you’ll need step two: cover design. If you’re handy with Photoshop, you can take a shot at this yourself, using each platform’s size/design guidelines. Or, you can use a professional designer. The goal is to create a cover that looks professional, slick, and impactful in color, black and white, and at thumbnail size (since that’s how most people will first view it). So, you decide. If you have the chops, that’s awesome. We’ve done both, and often use ebook launch, since they produce awesome work like—#shamelessplug—our covers below.
Step three is formatting. Each platform will require your book to be formatted a specific way. While this is something you can do yourself—and if you want to, please have at it!—there are many places that will do that for you. We use 52 Novels, since they’re quick, reliable, cost effective, and very easy to work with, but there are many other options available too (e.g. Bookbaby, Lulu, etc.). They’ll prepare your manuscript so that when you upload it to the publishing platform, it’ll be accepted first time and published forthwith. Which is nice. They’ll usually ask for the cover as well as the manuscript, since some of your files will need the cover to be included “inside” the file, attached to the manuscript.
Once you get your files back from the formatter, you really are ready.
Are you though? Are you ready? Because once you upload your files, write your book’s blurb for the site, add all the tags so that people can search for it, include your financial info so they can, you know, actually pay you… then the only thing left for you to do is hit the button that says PUBLISH.
Go on. Do it. It’ll feel great.
We’ll let you coast on that beautiful feeling of having the book you wrote out there for people to read for a while… but soon, we’ll cover what comes next (spoiler: marketing!).
So go enjoy being published! You did great!